Holley resident wants canal trail to no longer be named for Cuomo

Photos by Tom Rivers: There are two Medina sandstone signs at each end of Holley’s canal trail that proclaim the path as the “Andrew Cuomo Canalway Trail.” Cuomo visited Holley, arriving by boat on the canal with his family, for the dedication on Aug. 9, 2000.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2021 at 8:57 am

HOLLEY – A village resident wants the Holley Village Board to no longer have the canalway trail named in honor of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The trail was dedicated for Cuomo on Aug. 9, 2000. At the time Cuomo was secretary of the federal Housing and Urban Development. In that role, he pushed through a $300 million “Canal Corridor Initiative” for canal communities to upgrade public spaces and also assist some businesses.

He arrived in person by boat at Holley just over 20 years ago with his then wife and his daughters for the ceremony.

Holley used nearly $1 million to develop the canal trail and a canal park that also includes a gazebo, docks, a paved path, public bathrooms with showers, a playground, pond and other amenities. There are two large Medina sandstone signs at each end of the trail, declaring the path as the “Andrew Cuomo Canalway Trail.”

Kerri Neale said Cuomo has disgraced himself with the sexual harassment allegations, which led to his resignation on Aug. 24. Neale will address the Village Board during its meeting at 6 p.m. today at the Holley Gardens, the former Holley High School where the village now has its offices.

He said the village’s “beautiful park” shouldn’t be name Cuomo, who also faces investigation about the accounting of nursing home deaths from Covid and whether he used taxpayer resources to help write a book about his response to Covid.

A cyclist enjoys the canal path last week, passing by the pond.

Neale also said many Cuomo policies have negatively impacted the area, including the SAFE Act, bail reform and the Raise the Age law for dealing with juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system.

Photo courtesy of Kerri Neale: One suggestion from resident Kerri Neale would be putting a cover on the stone sign. That would be an inexpensive remedy without chiseling off the top of the sign.

“Now that he has been disgraced and forced to resign this monument is an abomination and should be corrected,” Neale said. “We will ask the Village Board to join those who want change and find a way to make that change with little or no expense to the tax payer. It’s a beautiful piece of Medina sandstone so let’s fix it not destroy it.”

Neale said a simple fix is putting a cover on the top of the monument that excludes Cuomo’s name. He doesn’t want to see the stone be chiseled, to remove Cuomo’s name.

Kevin Lynch, the Holley mayor, said yesterday he had only received a couple messages about removing Cuomo’s name from the sign. Neale did put a post on Facebook that had 20 comments, with nearly all wanting the trail to be renamed.

Lynch is retired from the State Canal Corp. He remembers when Cuomo came to Holley for the dedication. And Lynch remembers how the canal improvements made Holley the talk of this section of the canal.

Many canal park continues to be a draw and a source of pride for the community, Lynch said.

“Before there wasn’t anywhere for boats to stop in Holley,” Lynch said.

Holley has had docks with electricity for 20 years and doesn’t charge the boaters. The gazebo is a popular place for people to relax and also hosts many concerts. The canal path is well traveled by people on walks, jogs or on bikes. Lynch said.

The mayor wants to hold off on an opinion about the issue, whether the trail should remain named for Cuomo, until hearing from the other Village Board members.