Breeze Airways To Offer Flights from Stewart Beginning Feb. 2024; Town of Marbletown Snags $500,000 In Regional Economic Development Award to Facilitate Acquisition of Osterhoudt Flats; Briefs

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Breeze Airways to Offer Flights from Stewart International Airport Beginning Feb. 2024

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Gardiner) said the budget airline agreed to expand its New York service to Stewart, introducing flights to Orlando, Fla. and Charleston, S.C., in 2024.

“This is a huge win for not just Orange County, but the entire Hudson Valley,” Ryan said in a news release. “This exciting investment will stimulate tourism, bolster economic development and bring new jobs to the region. We worked hard to add these new routes, and I look forward to Hudson Valley families taking full advantage!”

Stewart becomes the fifth New York airport with Breeze service and the second in the Hudson Valley. The airline also flies out of Westchester County Airport, Plattsburgh, Syracuse, and Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.

“Breeze Airways’ continued expansion in New York is blowing a gust of fresh air into new affordable air service for Orange County and families across the Hudson Valley,” Schumer said.

Low-cost flights start as low as $39. Flights from Stewart to Orlando will start at as low as $74 as it begins its service.

U.S. Coast Guard Rescinds Order To Allow Barges To Anchor on Hudson River North of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

The U.S. Coast Guard pulled back on a regulatory change that would have allowed barges to anchor on the Hudson River north of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge after criticism from environmental groups, Hudson Valley officials and the public.

In July, the Coast Guard redefined the boundaries of the Port of New York, which before stretched north to Troy, to include only the Hudson River approximately to the Cuomo Bridge. As a result, the river north of the bridge no longer fell under the Port of New York regulations, which controlled where vessels could anchor.

Environmental groups, which had previously fought a Coast Guard proposal a decade ago to permit dozens of oil barges to anchor in the Hudson River, fought against the shift in policy, saying it was harmful for the environment and violated federal law.

The Coast Guard rescinded the order, but kept the door open to allowing a return to the policy in the future. However, it also promised to “undertake extensive public outreach opportunities to explore potential regulatory updates” if it did so.

U.S. Rep Pat Ryan wrote a letter to the Coast Guard expressing concern that barges parking in the Hudson in the future, might “threaten the health of our families and our ecosystem.” The letter was co-signed by the executives of Ulster, Orange and Dutchess counties and numerous state Senators and Assemblymembers from the area.

In the letter, Ryan wrote that any new anchorages would violate the 2020 Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act, which suspended the establishment of new anchorage grounds between Yonkers and Kingston, also in response to public outcry.

Though the immediate order was rescinded, “we continue to be deeply alarmed that the Coast Guard intends to relitigate an issue that was settled by law in early 2021 and circumvent Congressional intent,” Ryan wrote.

Town of Marbletown Snags $500,000 Regional Economic Development Award to Facilitate Acquisition of Osterhoudt Flats

In the most recent round of grants and awards through the Regional Economic Development Councils, the Town of Marbletown was awarded $500,000 to assist in the acquisition of the Osterhoudt Flats in Stone Ridge from the Open Space Institute (OSI).

The 90 acres of land in Ulster County is slated to become a multi-use community trail in the Town of Marbletown in Ulster County.

The “Osterhoudt Flats” property on Atwood Road was purchased by the preservation nonprofit from landowners Claude and Holly Osterhoudt. Marbletown plans to use its newly established Community Preservation Fund to purchase the property from OSI and create a 2-mile multi-use trail through its meadowlands.

The historic farm will be transformed into a public park and nature preserve with a multi-use trail, ideal for walkers, bikers, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The park will provide a no-fee recreation space, accessible from major roads. Underlain by the School Aquifer and in the Esopus/Hudson watershed, the park will protect a precious natural resource — clean water.

Marbletown’s Town Board has already approved the purchase of the property, and the final transfer is expected to happen within the next three years.

“OSI is thrilled to support the protection of Marbletown’s beautiful natural landscapes,” said Bob Anderberg, OSI’s senior vice president and general counsel. “Thanks to our prior relationship with the Osterhoudts, OSI was uniquely positioned to quickly protect the Osterhoudt Flats property now so that the community can reap the benefits of access to protected land in the future.”

In 2008, OSI purchased a conservation easement on Osterhoudt Farm, approximately two miles from the newly protected property.

The planned trail on the Osterhoudt Flats property might eventually connect to other community trails, including the nearby O&W trail, which OSI is improving and expanding as part of its plan to expand greenways west of the Hudson.

The Osterhoudt Flats property spans 42 acres of forested lands and 48 acres of grasslands and meadowlands and provides significant habitat for forest creatures and grassland birds, including several species that are listed as rare, threatened, or endangered in New York, according to OSI.