Walkway donors honored; West Pavilion Opened
The Walkway Over the Hudson continues to draw 500,000 visitors a year and pump $24 million annually into the local economy due in large part to the generosity of donors.
Those "plank donors" were recognized Tuesday in a noon ceremony at the western entrance to the bridge in the Town of Lloyd.
"We just want to thank those early plank donors," said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Walkway executive director. "They kept the vision alive."
A sign listing each donor was unveiled as a wet snow fell. More than eight years ago, each of those contributed $20 to the Plank Program — when the initial plan was to install wooden planks to create the walkway.
The plan proved not to be feasible and the decision was made to instead install a concrete surface on the bridge, said Fred Schaeffer, former chairman of the Walkway Over the Hudson organization and a plank donor.
"We look at it as something that was a grassroots effort," he said. "I'm happy after all these years to give them some recognition."
Judy Moran of Salt Point, a Walkway board member, is another plank donor.
She said she had made a donation in memory of her father, Frederick Thompson, who was a signal station operator in the 1950s and early 1960s at the railway crossing at Washington Street and Parker Avenue in the City of Poughkeepsie — when trains were rumbling across the bridge.
"I'm grateful and thankful," Moran said of the sign listing the donors.
Three large donors to the Walkway to fund its programs and ongoing improvements were also honored with the unveiling of bronze medallions mounted on the bridge.
These Stewards of the Walkway each donated $10,000 or more: Charles B. Slutzky Family of Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, Charlotte-Hackett Charitable Trust and James J. McCann Charitable Trust.
The event included a ribbon-cutting at the newly constructed Walkway West Pavilion.
A plaque mounted on the exterior of the wooden pavilion recognized the individuals and businesses that built the structure.