Reimagine the Canals meetings in Lockport, Brockport this week

Staff Reports Posted 15 July 2019 at 9:52 am

Photo courtesy of Char Olick: A double-rainbow appeared over the Main Street lift bridge and downtown Albion on Saturday evening.

There will be community engagement sessions this week in Lockport and Brockport as part of the State Canal Corp.’s goal to “Reimagine the Canals.”

There will be a session today in Lockport from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Challenger Learning Center, 160 Washburn St.

Then Brockport will host a session on Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the SUNY Brockport Cooper Hall.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government is leading the series of community engagement sessions this month for Reimagine the Canals, a state-sponsored initiative to identify new uses for the Erie Canal.

The initiative, launched in May by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, builds on last year’s Reimagine the Canals Competition, which sought innovative ideas to boost local economies, increase recreation and strengthen environmental resilience along the Erie Canal.

“These sessions are a great opportunity for the public to help shape the future of the Erie Canal,” said Joanie Mahoney, the Reimagine the Canals Task Force chair. “The public’s input will be crucial in formulating the final recommendations about the Canal that will be sent to Governor Cuomo.”

First opened in 1825, the Erie Canal spans more than 360 miles. Today it is overseen by the New York State Canal Corporation, a division of the New York Power Authority.

As the Canal nears its third century, Governor Cuomo viewed this as the time to reimagine the future of this essential piece of New York State infrastructure as a resource for agricultural irrigation, ecological restoration, flood mitigation, boating, fishing and tourism.

The community engagement sessions will integrate the voices of Canal communities into the Reimagine initiative. Community members will learn about Reimagine the Canals and will discuss the Canal’s current uses and its potential future. The insights from these sessions will be presented to the Reimagine the Canals Task Force.

Participants can RSVP prior to attending. The Reimagine the Canals website offers more information about the initiative, as well as a portal where members of the public can submit feedback if they are unable to attend a community engagement session. The Rockefeller Institute will hold a second series of meetings later in the summer.

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