- Marie Doyon
- Kingston Point Beach
Located on a boxy peninsula that juts into the Hudson, with stunning views of the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge, the river itself, and Dutchess County’s lush hillside beyond; threaded by a vintage train track-turned rail trail; with gazebos and forest paths, pavilions, a dog park, and a sandy beach, Kingston Point Park has long been the sparkling gemstone in Kingston’s urban crown.
The park was created at the close of the 19th century by shipping and railroad entrepreneur Samuel Croykendall. Since its inauguration in 1897, the park has drawn community members to enjoy its spectacular scenery and ample amenities. In the old days, courting couples and happy families had picnics on the lawn, listened to al fresco concerts, or went for a romantic rowboat ride in the man-made lagoon. The property also had a casino, Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, arcade, shooting gallery, a theater, and a pavilion.
After a few decades the 87-acre amusement park and oasis fell into disrepair, but in the '80s, the Kingston Rotary Club spearheaded the rejuvenation of the property and shepherded it into the new era. These days, folks young and old head to the point everything from the BMX track, softball field, frisbee golf, and dog park on the south side of Delaware Avenue (now dubbed the Kingston Rotary Park), to to the swimming area and volleyball net on the Hudson shoreline, on the north side of Delaware Avenue.
In 2020, with COVID-19 restricting travel and more and more people relocating to the area, families, couples, and individuals flocked to Kingston Point Park. To keep pace with the growing demand, improve accessibility, and adapt to environmental changes, the City of Kingston developed a plan for three key improvements to the park.
The improvements that were announced by Mayor Steven T. Noble last June include Kingston Point for the Future, which will adapt the design of the beach to accommodate for future sea level rise. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Improvement Project will make the beach’s assets like the bathrooms, changing rooms, and grills wheelchair accessible. Lastly, over the past few years parking availability has been impacted by flooding caused by land subsidization and a rise in sea levels. So, the third project, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), involves moving and elevating the parking lot, embracing the formation of the new wetland in the lot’s current location.
“We will be redesigning the beach itself so that it can accommodate future sea level rise, which is important as our community values and understands how things are going to change around here and through the Hudson Valley in the future due to climate change,” says Julie Noble, Sustainability Coordinator and project manager for the city. “We value the assets that we have at Kingston Point Beach, so we want to be able to plan now for future protection so that we can continue to have this valuable asset and connection to the river.”
Across the street from the beach, the park will also have a new soccer field built, which will be the first official soccer field in the City of Kingston. “We have done outreach to the community to understand what they are interested in having,” says Noble. “We heard from a lot of the community, particularly the Latino community, that they're interested in having a soccer field for folks to play, and we're happy to be able to make that kind of accommodation with this project.”
- Marie Doyon
These improvements are funded by a grant from the state’s Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The projects will be divided into two phases. The first phase includes building the soccer field, new parking lot on the northside of Delaware Avenue, a playground, landscaping, tree planting, and bioswales, is currently in progress as of fall 2021.
“We're excited about all these projects,” says Noble. “The park is an amenity that's free just like the Forsyth Nature Center for the community. And we think it's important that everyone has access to these to begin getting enjoyment in our parks and in the environment without having to worry about paying for it.”
- Marie Doyon