New KLT Board Member Takes on Fundraising Effort

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Originally from Binghamton, NY, Sarah Brainard has lived in the Hudson Valley for roughly 15 years. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, Ms. Brainard brings expertise in Graphic Design and a history of board service to the Kingston Land Trust’s Board of Directors. As one of our most recent additions, Sarah is excited to be re-joining her former New Paltz colleagues in a professional format, having worked at the School of Fine and Performing Arts with Tim Weidemann and David Cavallaro while she was a student.

Sarah currently works as Director of Client Relations for BlueMark, LLC, a New Paltz-based Software Company that specializes in healthcare technology. Sarah has been with BlueMark for 12 years while also maintaining her own freelance clients. She has also offered her talents pro bono to a number of organizations providing design assistance and serving as a Board Member for the Catskill Ballet Theatre over a period of 7 years and is currently on the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Healthcare Finance Management Association (HFMA) Board of Directors where she serves as the Communications Co-Chair.

Sarah lives in Rosendale and is excited to be on the Kingston Land Trust Board of Directors as she feels drawn to the area and is happy to have more opportunity to be involved with the community. She is serving as co-chair on the Fundraising Committee and was part of the team responsible for organizing the, “Gather” event at the Anchor this past January and promises there will be more events to come! She also hopes to, in time, play a role in helping the KLT achieve its goal of gaining accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance.

Sarah has also recently designed the logo for Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley! An animal lover, Sarah is often busy with her two dogs, Maggie and Petey and two laying hens, Gertie and Tator. She is presently helping a neighbor care for her hatchlings so there may be more chicks on the way!

 

Sunday Hikes are Back!

Gathering at Kingston Wine Co after our Sunday Hike on the Kingston Greenline.

Gathering at Kingston Wine Co after our Sunday Hike on the Kingston Greenline.

Bundled up against a brisk March morning, over forty brave hikers gathered at the Kingston Wine Co. on Sunday, March 22nd for the first Greenline event of 2015! In a new format that will continue for the rest of the season, our usual guide, Tim Weidemann, was joined by two guest tour leaders. This time, Robin Guenther and Sarah Christensen of the firm Perkins+Will, which is engaged by the City to complete a visioning and scoping process along the Rondout and Hudson waterfronts, led the walk and explained the Brownfield Opportunity Area study to hikers.

The study, which is divided into several sub-projects, is now in a phase known technically as “Step 3.” “During this step,” explained Guenther, “the City is gathering input from residents to create a vision for how the area  might be developed over the next decade or more.” At the same time, the Perkins+Will team is preparing a Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which will provide the first step in the process for developers who seek to implement projects that are consistent with the envisioned development.

The vision that’s emerging based on input received so far includes a wide range of desired development projects, such as a boutique “eco-tourist” hotel, improved access to Island Dock, floating waterfront development, the continuation of the waterfront promenade all the way to North Street and many others. A report with maps is available at the City of Kingston’s Economic Development page (select the Hudson Riverport topic), and comments on the vision are being accepted through the summer months.

The Sunday Hikes continue on April 19th and throughout the season on the third Sunday of each month. “This year we’re enlisting a number of local experts to talk about exciting projects and hidden treasures right here in our backyard,” explains Michael Drapkin, owner of Kingston Wine Company, which co-sponsors the events with the Kingston Land Trust. “Part of what makes the Kingston Greenline so important is the way it leads people deeper into our city’s great landscape,” Drapkin adds. “We have so many places to explore, and so many little hidden treasures, all of which make Kingston a pretty exciting place to be right now.”

For more info about upcoming hikes, check back on our Kingston Greenline page, where we’ll provide periodic updates on guest tour leaders and topics and announce any changes in the schedule.

 

Is Your Bike Ready for Spring?

Get your bike ready for spring at the bike repair clinic at the Bike Rack in New Paltz!

Get your bike ready for spring at the bike repair clinic at the Bike Rack in New Paltz!

Bicycle Repair Clinic
The Bike Rack, 13 North Front Street New Paltz, NY 12561
Tune-Up Clinic (5 classes, 20+ hours)
Saturday, Feb. 28, Mar. 7,14,21,28 @ 5:30 PM
Full Clinic (7 classes, 28+ hours)
Saturday, Feb. 28, Mar. 7,14,21,28, Apr. 4,11 @ 5:30 PM

Wondering how to fix a flat tire, replace your brakes, adjust your shifting system? Wonder no longer! Mike Kilmer of the Bicycle Rack in New Paltz is offering the Park Tool School of bicycle maintenance and repair just in time for Spring! This bicycle repair course is a unique program with curriculum designed by the Park Tool Company. At this point, you’ve missed the first class, so don’t delay! Call to register: 845-255-1770, or visit www.thebicyclerack.com/class.html

Walk the Line: Sunday Hikes on the Greenline Start 3/22

Tim Weidemann, chair of the KLT's Rail Trail Committee, welcomes hikers in 2014.

Tim Weidemann, chair of the KLT’s Rail Trail Committee, welcomes hikers in 2014.

Sunday March 22, 9:30-11:30 AM
Start Point – Kingston Wine Co
65 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401

Hey, the snow’s bound to stick around for a bit longer, but we’re itching to get outside! Come join us on the first day of Spring as we re-commence our monthly hikes on the Kingston Greenline in partnership with our friends at Kingston Wine Co. This month, we’ll be joined by members of the advisory committees that are working with the City of Kingston on the Brownfield Opportunity Area project and the Kingston Connectivity Project, two initiatives that intersect with our work on the Kingston Greenline. Note: this is actually the fourth Sunday, which is a variation on our normal third-Sunday dates. We’ll get back to normal as the spring sets in.

Kingston Greenline Progress Update

Photo by Kevin Godbey

Photo by Kevin Godbey

You may notice that our newsletter, which in 2014 focused exclusively on the Kingston Greenline, has shifted a bit to include more information about other Kingston Land Trust projects and initiatives. That said, the Greenline remains a major area of focus for the KLT, and even through the dead of winter our Rail Trail Committee has been hard at work to keep the project moving forward. Here’s a quick update on the project’s status.

Phase 1 Construction Continues

In October, through a contract with the City, Iron Horse Preservation Society began to remove the old railroad track and ties from the 1.5-mile section of the Kingston Greenline known as the Kingston Point Rail Trail. After several weather-related delays, the project came to a pause when the snow began to pile up in January. Covered in snow, the hulking piles of bundled ties are awaiting the thaw, when Iron Horse will return to remove them and smooth out the trail bed. In the Spring, once Phase 1 is complete, the corridor will be ready for the real work to develop a permanent trail linking Midtown to the Rondout waterfront.

Detailed Design Gets Underway

More recently, the City of Kingston has selected a team of landscape architects, engineers and planners to develop a detailed design for the permanent trail, as well as for the on-street connections that extend the Kingston Greenline into Midtown, out to Kingston Point, and up to the proposed Hudson Landing Promenade. The team will begin by reviewing the on-the-ground conditions, and by gathering input from neighbors, area businesses and other stakeholders. Through this work the abstract concepts first laid out by the Rail Trail Committee with help from Alta Planning and Design will begin to take more concrete shape. By the end of the summer, we expect to have detailed schematics and construction specifications in hand, which will position the project for groundbreaking in late 2015 or early 2016!

Our Team Never Tires!

Those are the big updates, but there’s a steady stream of announcements, events and other news on our website (www.kingstonlandtrust.org), and on our Facebook page (facebook.com/KingstonGreenline). Look for info on upcoming meetings and events, too, in future issues of our monthly eNewsletter!

Latest Addition to the Board Brings a Different Kind of Bike Passion

KLT's newest Board Member!

KLT’s newest Board Member!

Our featured KLT Board Member this month is Mr. Sean Brix of Kingston. Mr. Brix is our newest member of the Board of Directors and has lived in the Hudson Valley since 2001. Originally from East Meadow, NY, Sean completed his MFA at SUNY New Paltz and, despite moving to Highland, found himself traveling frequently to Kingston and soon enough settled “Uptown” in 2005.

Sean is very active in the Kingston community and coordinates outreach and fundraising events for a number of local non-profits. This experience, combined with his expertise in Human Resources and love of vintage fixed-gear single speed bikes, or “fixies,”  gives him a range of unique perspectives that contribute to the Kingston Land Trust’s work.

Since joining the KLT over the summer, Sean has served on the Fundraising Committee and participated in the successful Letter Writing Campaign this past Fall to raise much needed awareness and funds for the project. Sean is also passionate about keeping local business going and prospering, and about his abstract art which he paints on reclaimed wood. He currently works for the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union as the Manager of Talent Acquisition and Diversity. Sean is very excited about the Greenline Project as he looks forward to cycling single-speed through Kingston!

The Kingston Greenline: A Valuable Asset in the Fight Against Obesity

Runner

There’s a battle that is being waged in our community and the stakes couldn’t be higher. With the threat of chronic disease, higher health related spending, and an overall decline in quality of life, obesity is an issue that cannot be ignored. When combating this issue, several organizations within the community are working to pave the way toward a healthier future. The Kingston Greenline’s benefits for public health make it a valuable resource in this fight against obesity .

Within our own community of Ulster County, the rates of obesity are high. In a release from the office of New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, statistics from the US Census Bureau reveal that the obesity rate for adults in  Ulster County is at 57.1%, with a recorded 77,649 obese or overweight adults countywide. In a study conducted by the Ulster County CHIP in 2011, findings stated that 41 out of 43 Ulster County elementary schools indicated an obesity rate of 18%, a rate that is higher than the national average.

The stakes couldn’t be greater with the links of obesity and chronic disease. Obesity has all around negative effects, as noted by the Harvard School for Public Health, “Obesity harms virtually every aspect of health”. Higher rates of obesity contribute to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon), hypertension, stroke, and liver and gallbladder disease according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The solution to this epidemic of obesity and chronic disease is physical activity as recommended by the CDC. According to the County Health Rankings, 21% of adults have little or no leisure-time physical activity. According to Healthy People 2020, the benefits of physical activity reach across all age groups and ability levels.  Even small increases in physical activity can have benefits as a 2000 study in Denmark found that, “leisure-time physical activity improves longevity across genders and age groups”. Encouraging increased physical activity is a vital strategy in stemming this growing public health crisis. The National Parks Service notes that people are more likely to exercise regularly if they live near a rail trail

The benefits to the health of our community become tangible with the creation of a more connected system of trails and complete streets. According to Parks and Trails New York, walking is one of the easiest ways to become more physically active and control weight, noting that people with access to sidewalks and trails were 28-55% more likely to be physically active. With greater levels of physical activity, the risks for obesity related illness and chronic disease is diminished, as Rails to Trails.org explains, increased physical activity can help in preventing heart disease, slow bone loss that comes with age, lower the risks of certain cancers, and reduce anxiety and depression.

Another health related benefit of a more connected usable series of trails is the impact more physical activity can have on diminishing obesity-related healthcare costs. According to Parks and Trails New York, healthcare costs for obese adults in New York State were estimated to be in the realm of $7.6 billion in 2008. With Parks and Trails New York noting that  80% of the funding for these expenditures coming from publicly funded programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, the burden that obesity related health treatment puts on the public is very visible. When looking at an example of a successful rail trail system and these kind of financial related health benefits, the Intertwine system of trails in Portland Oregon has conducted studies on the subject with quite insightful findings. According to the study, it is estimated that the use of the Intertwine is responsible for the avoided weight gain of 17 million pounds for Metro region residents, which translates into $155 million in averted health care costs every year due to the physical activity opportunities created by this series of trails.

Within a community, a resource such as the Kingston Greenline that promotes physical activity would be an invaluable resource for generations to come. Whether it be the case for the prevention of obesity related diseases, or the aversion of health related costs, the link between public health benefits and trails is tangible. According to recommendations regarding solutions for the issue of obesity, the Ulster County CHIP states that, “a safe and accessible rail trail system plays an important role in the overall health of a community.”