The Walkway Over the Hudson nonprofit organization paid CSX railroad $1,150,000 last week for the eight-tenths of a mile stretch in the City of Poughkeepsie.
The railway's agreement to contribute $100,000 toward the purchase price made the net final purchase price $1,050,000, said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, executive director of Walkway Over the Hudson.
"We completed the long-awaited purchase of the rail trail from CSX and immediately donated it to Dutchess County," she said Tuesday.
Acquisition of "the gap" of rail bed was seen as critical ever since the pedestrian walkway on the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge opened to the public in 2009.
The Walkway is operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Once the stretch is paved, it will connect the Walkway with the Morgan Lake trailhead of the Dutchess Rail Trail.
When the rail trail is completed, it will extend more than 12 miles from Hopewell Junction to the Walkway.
The Ulster County terminus of the Walkway already connects to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which weaves through Highland and the Town of Lloyd.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said the county is seeking bids of engineering firms interested in designing the rail trail extension from Morgan Lake to the Walkway.
He said he expects construction of that extension and the last phase of the Dutchess Rail Trail — connecting the Overocker Road trailhead in the Town of Poughkeepsie and Manchester Road trailhead in LaGrange — to be completed simultaneously in 2013.
"You are talking 25 miles of rail trail from Hopewell Junction to across the Hudson River," Molinaro said. "This will greatly enhance both the economic and recreational benefits we have already seen for the Walkway and Dutchess Rail Trail."
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