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Canalway grant program makes $1 million in awards for projects to honor canal heritage, improve trails

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Thu, Dec 20th 2018 12:30 pm

Funding part of Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council program

The New York State Canal Corp. announced it has made $1 million in grants throughout the state for projects that raise awareness about the Canal System’s rich heritage as well as initiatives to enhance canal trails on land and water.

The grants were made as part of $763 million awarded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo following recommendations from the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils.

“This is an exceptional group of grantees whose enthusiasm for furthering the legacy of New York’s canals was immediately apparent in their applications,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corp. director. “We look forward to working with them to fulfill their vision for how to make the canal experience more impactful and memorable.”

The grants will fund a portion of each project. Additional funds are expected to come from a mix of public and private sources. Some projects received additional grants from other state agencies. The projects include:

•Seneca Chief Replica ($150,000). The Buffalo Maritime Center seeks to create a historically accurate replica of the Seneca chief, the packet boat that led the flotilla for the 1825 official opening of the Erie Canal and carried Gov. DeWitt Clinton from Buffalo to New York Harbor. The boat will be built at the Inner Harbor in Buffalo in full public view

•Lockport Locks Sculptures ($125,000). This project seeks to honor an iconic 19th-century photograph of Erie Canal lock tenders on the steps of the old Flight of Five locks in Lockport, by creating 14 life-sized bronze sculptures of those same lock tenders. These sculptures will enhance the experience of visitors travelling to Lockport to see the restored famed “Flight of Five,” the double lock E-34/35 of the New York State Canal System and other attractions.

•New Trail Signage ($95,359). Signage throughout the canal corridor will identify water trail access points, historic sites and canal infrastructure that can be visited during a water trip. The project by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will complement the release of a new guidebook, a navigational map set and website updates that will identify launch points and trail blazers.

New York’s canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2018, New York is celebrating the centennial of the New York State Canal System.

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