State approves $1 million for canal projects, but none in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2016 at 11:20 am

The State Canal Corporation is approving $1 million in grants for canal projects, but none of those are in Orleans County.

The Canal Corporation announced the list of projects today. They were part of the $700 million in grants unveiled last Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in projects put forward by the Regional Economic Development Councils.

The grants in this program will support improvement projects and initiatives along the Canal across upstate New York, Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said in a news release today.

Each project will benefit its respective municipality or organization by investing in the areas surrounding the Canal and Canalway Trail, helping to cultivate local economies and tourism in each region, Stratton said.

The Canal Corporation awards will support the following projects:

• $150,000 awarded to the City of Schenectady – This project will include the construction of a walking trail, visitor’s center with public restrooms and approximately 75 feet of large vessel dockage space.

• $148,000 awarded to the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund Inc. – This project will stabilize three original buildings at the Matton Shipyard in Cohoes at the junction of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.

• $144,000 awarded to the Corning Museum of Glass – This grant will fund the Corning Museum of Glass’ project to install a mobile glass blowing studio on a Canal barge to provide demonstrations to the general public at waterfront locations along New York’s waterways in Steuben, Monroe, Seneca and Onondaga Counties.

• $125,000 awarded to the National Women’s Hall of Fame (NWHF) – This project is phase three of a project that will transform the empty Seneca Knitting Mill into the Center for Great Women, which is the headquarters of the National Woman’s Hall of Fame. Work will include demolition, construction, interior build-out and site work of the first floor of the Mill, creating 4,200 square feet of habitable space for exhibits along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

• $120,000 awarded to Wayne County – This grant will provide funding for materials and installation of a former railroad bridge in Wayne County in order to remove the biggest off-road obstacle to extending the Erie Canalway Trail to connect with Seneca and Cayuga Counties.

• $97,000 awarded to the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce – This grant will fund a series of art and culture events to promote the Erie Canal bicentennial in the City of Rome.

• $85,000 awarded to the Lockport Locks Heritage District Corporation – This grant will fund updates and improvements to the Erie Canal Museum, located at the base of the Flight of Five locks.

• $62,000 awarded to the City of Cohoes – This project will create an engaging Canal exhibit for the Cohoes Visitor’s Center in time for the Erie Canal bicentennial celebration and will feature a model lock and other model machines. The project is part of a larger revitalization effort to support tourism in Cohoes.

• $39,000 awarded to the Canal Society of New York State – This grant will fund a joint collaboration with the Canal Society of New York State and the Erie Canal Museum to do statewide outreach for the Erie Canal bicentennial through a design that will be utilized throughout the eight years of the bicentennial.

• $30,000 awarded to Madison County – This project will develop and install wayfinding signage within the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park, which spans three counties (Onondaga, Madison, and Oneida) and contains the longest and one of the only remaining portions of the original Erie Canal system.

“Governor Cuomo’s commitment to promoting sustainable development by preserving New York’s historic Canal system is abundantly clear in these grants to the cities, towns and businesses that border its banks,” said New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “The Erie Canal is a major economic engine that spurs tourism year after year, and I applaud the Governor for making strong investments as we prepare to celebrate the bicentennial of this enduring waterway next year.”

(Editor’s Note: Orleans County municipal officials are urged to think of ways to promote the canal locally and pursue state funding to bring the projects to a reality.)

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