Since opening in October, 2009, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park has been contributing mightily to the local and regional economy. With nearly 500,000 people visiting Walkway State Park annually and nearly half of them coming from outside the region, a 2012 report from Camoin Associates confirmed that the Park has become a powerful economic engine, bringing significant new revenue, jobs, and taxes into the Mid-Hudson Region.
Utilizing information gathered from face-to-face surveys of nearly 1,000 park visitors conducted between the summer of 2010 and the fall of 2011, the Camoin Associates’ report—“Walkway Over the Hudson Economic Impact Update”—determined that 48 percent of Walkway State Park’s visitors come from outside Dutchess and Ulster counties and that they generate nearly $24 million while visiting the pedestrian bridge spanning the Hudson River between the City of Poughkeepsie and the Town of Lloyd. That “net new” spending, the report states, has resulted in numerous positive outcomes for the two counties, including 383 new jobs, $9.4 million in new wages, and $779,000 in new county tax revenue.
Taken randomly by Walkway Over the Hudson Volunteer Ambassadors, the surveys measured demographic data, lodging arrangements, and buying patterns of a significant number of park visitors. Survey data was then applied to actual attendance figures provided by the park’s managers, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, to determine overall impact figures.
Paid for with a grant from the Dyson Foundation, the Camoin Associates’ study represented an updated version of a similar report prepared in 2008, prior to the park’s opening to the public in October, 2009. The 2008 study estimated that Walkway State Park would attract 267,000 annual visitors and that “out or region” visitors would generate approximately $21 million in new sales, resulting in 258 new jobs and $7.9 million in new wages. Findings of the 2012 study reflect significantly greater visitation than originally estimated.
Additional surveys conducted at the Park have determined that Walkway State Park’s visitation is remarkably diverse and comes from throughout the United States and the world. In fact, Guest Book signings collected over the last four years demonstrate that the Walkway has attracted visitors from all 50 states and more than 60 nations.