Southern Waterfront Park and Trail
The jewel of the southern waterfront is the Travis Cove boardwalk and overlook.
Landscape Architecture by Adam Alexander, LLA, RLA, ASLA (while with Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., Eatontown, N.J., now with Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., Trenton, N.J.
Located 50 miles north of Manhattan, the city of Peekskill is the northernmost historic Hudson River town in Westchester County. Formerly one of New York's premier manufacturing bases, Peekskill has experienced an economic revitalization in recent years. It is home today to many small businesses and medical facilities, as well as a thriving downtown hub that has attracted galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and artists' studios.
The city of Peekskill officially opened the Southern Waterfront Park and Trailway with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 15, 2016. A public project of this magnitude required the complete cooperation of many public and private agencies including: Empire State Development, New York Department of State, the Office of Parks and Recreation, the Office of Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, River Keeper, the Army Corps of Engineers, Metro North and several citizen advisory groups.
Utilizing the 2009 Peekskill Southern Waterfront Park and Trail Master Plan as a foundation, the city commissioned a team of consultants to develop construction documents and specifications for the Southern Waterfront Park and Trailway. Design elements include walking trails, seating areas, a viewing area overlooking the Hudson River, an elevated boardwalk, and related parking improvements. Site features include paved paths, gateways, seating areas, interpretive signage, decorative LED lighting and public art installations.
The low lying area known as "Riverfront Green South" required extensive improvements in order to be used as parkland on a regular basis. These improvements required that the shoreline receive bio-engineered stabilization and grading before park amenities were installed. The riprap was reshaped to raise the elevation just above the high tide line, with the ground elevation tapered upward to prevent flooding. Park improvements include a continuous waterfront walkway that meanders through open lawn and picnic areas with gazebos, a sculpture garden and native planting beds. The existing crescent beach near the boat launch was renourished and maintained to continue as a and personal watercraft launch area. To accommodate the waterfront trail at this location, a small section of the current roadway and parking area was shifted closer to the railroad tracks with the cooperation of Metro North. A small retaining wall was constructed on the shoreline side of the multiuse trail to prevent undermining along the edge of the intertidal zone.
The jewel of the southern waterfront is the Travis Cove boardwalk and overlook. An impressive 10' wide, 800' long, walkway is constructed of helical piles, composite decking, and custom railing. The elevated boardwalk runs adjacent to the Metro North rail line and follows an upward slope until it parallels Louisa Street, and then continues as a paved path to the entrance of Charles Point Pier Park. Two significant features are the Travis Cove overlook; a historic overlook platform on top of a steep rocky promontory with exceptional views of the Hudson Highlands, and a fishing pier that extends out into the cove at the location of the former water intake structure for the Fleishmann Distillery.
Generally, the improvements to the waterfront park are designed for compatibility with the existing aesthetic and natural resources along the river. The park components add a relatively minor amount of impervious surface, as the goal was to limit the paved trail to that which is necessary to provide multi-purpose access by the general public.
The most notable mitigating measure is the cooling effect of the trees and shrubs that have been planted strategically along the walkway. A sparsely vegetated open grass field, wherever the recently applied riprap armor exists, borders the shoreline. The mix of trees and shrubs positioned along the riprap cools the surfaces and reduces the thermal discharge.
Scenic areas and vistas have been preserved by strategic selection and placement of plant materials. The planting strategy is mindful of the need to preserve existing view sheds from parking areas, while enticing others to walk the gateway or promenade to reach a rewarding view, or position themselves where a view is framed by native trees and shrubs. Varied vegetative treatments have been implemented ranging from natural untouched landscapes, to formal ornamental planting schedules. Existing important upland resources have been preserved; as there are minimal changes that disturb any areas not already significantly altered by human activity.
Outside of the visual appeal of this new park, the project includes extensive shoreline stabilization. Bio- engineered stabilization methods for the waterfront were implemented to protect the shoreline from future erosion and destructive wave action, while maintaining the natural look and feel of the water's edge. Part of this stabilization includes the addition of trees, shrubs and perennials including white oak, eastern red cedar, Summersweet, New England aster, red twig dogwood, inkberry, sedum, and fountain grass to naturalize the shoreline.
The Southern Waterfront Park and Trail provides a relaxing and active recreational community space that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for many years to come. The expansion of the park improves public access to the Hudson River and supports the transformation of Peekskill's waterfront district to foster a vibrant local economy.
o Project Landscape Architect: Adam Alexander (with Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., currently with Spiezle Architectural Group)
o Project Engineer: PSG Engineering and Landscape Architecture DPC
o Structural / Marine Engineer: Maser Consulting, PA
o General Contractor: Eastern Excavation
o City Representative: Ms. Jean Friedman, City Planner
Site Furnishings: Victor Stanley
Gazebo Structures: RCP Shelters
2016 Westchester Municipal Planning Federation: Commendation Award