The City of Lockport will mark the beginning of restoration of the famed Erie Canal Flight of Five Locks with a community celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 9, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Canal Street in the heart of downtown Lockport.
Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker will join federal, state and local dignitaries aboard the Tug DeWitt Clinton in the Flight of Five Flotilla, which will arrive in the Erie Canal Locks. Officials will ascend to Canal Street, the centerpiece of the Locks Heritage District, for a brief program. Emmett Belknap Intermediate School students will sing canal-era ballads prior to the start of the program.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., a community market, displays and entertainment at the Canal Street Gazebo will be open to the public. In addition, following the program, free tours of the Erie Canal Discovery Center will be available. Attendees can take advantage of free parking at the former Friendly's parking lot on Main Street, and a free trolley shuttle service will take people to and from Canal Street.
The New York State Canal Corp. is commencing restoration of Erie Canal Locks 67-71 with a Phase I project targeted at locks 69 and 70, beginning this fall. The New York State Canal Corp. has awarded a construction contract to Hohl Industries of Tonawanda. Hohl will mobilize the first week of October and begin work in earnest once the canal has been closed for the winter season.
Locks 69 and 70 were chosen for this phase of the work due to the relatively simple nature of the work. Other locks in the Flight pose unique engineering challenges that still need to be overcome, such as interference from existing bridges and other structures. Locks 69 and 70 contain no such impediments. Restoration work is expected to take approximately 12 months.
The Flight of Five kick-off event is free and open to the public. Additional information is available on Facebook by typing in "Erie Canal Flight of Five."