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Riverkeeper: Access to River at Poughkeepsie Dock Restored

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Tina Posterli, 914-478-4501 x 239, tposterli@riverkeeper.org

Ossining/White Plains, NY – June 27, 2013 – Riverkeeper and a coalition of organizations and local citizens (collectively, Riverkeeper) announced today that the full 60 feet of dock extensions at Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie have now been added to the original 68-foot floating dock to offset the space that was once exclusively taken up by Empire Cruise Lines’ 60-foot tour boat, the Mystère.

In June, 2011, Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit against the City of Poughkeepsie and its Mayor and Common Council (the City) after their decision to allow Empire to use the Waryas Park dock as its “home port” to the exclusion of the public in violation of the New York State public trust doctrine. A settlement agreement was reached in September 2012 stipulating that the City add a total of 60 feet of dock space to the original 68-foot Waryas Park dock beginning in spring 2013 to compensate the public for the dock space lost to the Mystère. As of June 14, 2013, the City had finished the required installation and the floating dock is now complete at 128 feet. Riverkeeper was represented in its lawsuit by Pace Law School’s Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains.

“Public access to the Waryas Park floating dock has now been fully restored,” said Daniel Estrin, Pace Law professor and Supervising Attorney of the Environmental Litigation Clinic. “Riverkeeper has a long history of protecting public access to the Hudson River, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to win back the access that was lost when the City contracted away the public’s right to use the dock on public parkland at the expense of all other public uses. All we ever wanted was for people to have equal access to the river and now everyone can enjoy it.”

“It’s too bad that we had to sue to get the public back their access to the Hudson River from Waryas Park,” said Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “We hope in the future municipalities will maintain public access to the river as their first priority.”

Longtime environmental activist and lawsuit co-petitioner John Mylod added: “With this necessary lawsuit, Riverkeeper put the public back into the public dock at Waryas Park. It highlights the idea that parks are for people, and that the environmental review process must be taken seriously.”

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