Group wants to hear ideas for capitalizing on canal in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Holley Canal Park is pictured in June. 2018 The site includes a gazebo, public bathrooms with showers, boat tie-ups and camp sites.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2019 at 2:43 pm

Hoag Library will host Oct. 29 open house for Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

ALBION – A steering committee working on a plan to better utilize the Erie Canal in Orleans County welcomes input from the community.

There will be a 7 p.m. open house on Oct. 29 at Hoag Library for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the canal communities in Orleans County.

There will be maps on display and community members are welcome to propose ideas for how the canal can boost the local economy and quality of life.

This will be the first public outreach meeting as a steering committee works on a waterfront development plan for seven Erie Canal municipalities.

Orleans County received a $62,000 state grant in December to develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the canal communities outside the Village of Medina. That includes the towns of Shelby, Ridgeway, Gaines, Albion and Murray, and the villages of Albion and Holley. Medina has been working on its own LWRP.

The county has hired LaBella as a consultant for the plan for the seven municipalities. The steering committee has met twice.

Each of the municipalities has a representative who is tasked to weigh in on current strengths and weaknesses of the canal, and opportunities to make the historic waterway and towpath a bigger asset.

The state is looking to spend more money to promote the canal and make it a better resource for the canal communities. The canal’s new caretaker, the New York Power Authority, also has shown a commitment to improving the canal infrastructure, County Legislator Ken DeRoller said.

The steering committee for the LWRP will be looking for ways to improve trail access, perhaps by adding a boat or kayak launch. The committee wants better signage (mile markers and information about services) and also wants to identify economic development projects with businesses near the canal.

That plan can be used to help the municipalities pursue grant funding through the state.

The steering committee members include: Ken DeRoller, Orleans County; Jake Olles, Town of Albion; Samuel Robinson, Village of Albion; Tyler Allport, Town of Gaines; Mark Bower, Village of Holley; Chris Van Dusen, Town of Murray; Mary Woodruff, Town of Ridgeway; and Ed Houseknecht, Town of Shelby. Natasha Wasuck, Village of Albion, and Brian Napoli, Town of Ridgeway, also have recently joined the committee.

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