HIGHLAND, NY – New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) has secured $120,000 to support the Friends of the Walkway nonprofit organization’s Farm-to-Market Initiative, which will strengthen the connection between more than 600,000 annual Walkway users to locally made and grown products from the Hudson Valley.
The funding Hinchey secured will be used to renovate the Friends Pavilion in Highland so that it can provide exposure and retail space for small businesses in the Hudson Valley to showcase and sell locally grown food, drink, produce, spirits, and other New York-made products. With this new funding, Friends of the Walkway will also have the ability to hire a Farm-to-Market Project Manager who will work in partnership with Taste NY and other stakeholders to build collaborations with local producers and vendor networks to increase their presence on the Walkway and enhance popular events like Mayfest and Walktoberfest.
“My office has a shared mission with the Walkway Over the Hudson, and that is to bolster our local economies, raise small business profiles, and make people from across our region familiar with the incredible selection of local products the Hudson Valley has to offer,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “I’m proud to have delivered on behalf of this important cultural institution and to have secured state budget funding to grow the organization’s Farm-to-Market Initiative. The Walkway is an economic engine for our region and the Farm-to-Market expansion a prime opportunity to bring tourism dollars into our communities while fostering the success of our Hudson Valley agribusinesses. As Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee, I will always look for opportunities to help our agribusinesses get more of their products to market.”
“We are pleased to partner with Senator Hinchey to bring this vital facility to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park,” said John Storyk, Chairman, Friends of the Walkway. “The upgraded and expanded Friends Pavilion will not only better serve our more than 150 volunteer Ambassadors that are the real spirit of the Walkway, but will also allow us to increase access to Hudson Valley and New York State-made products for the thousands of people that visit our park every day.”
“Visiting Walkway Over the Hudson is a quintessential New York experience,” said Elizabeth Waldstein, Executive Director, Friends of the Walkway. “Whether visitors come from down the street or across the globe, we want them to have access to the unique products that make the Hudson Valley so special. This funding from Senator Hinchey will help us expand our capacity to do so.”
Connecting the City of Poughkeepsie and the Hamlet of Highland in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is a renowned tourism and recreation destination visited by 600,000 people each year. Standing 212 feet above the river's surface and more than 6,700 feet (1.28 miles) long, the Walkway is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. The park provides unique access to the Hudson River's landscape for all to enjoy.