CNY REDC & NYS Canal Corporation Join Fayetteville Community & Advocates to Celebrate Completion of Accessible Pedestrian Bridge at Fayetteville Landing
The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (CNY REDC) today announced the completion of the handicapped accessible pedestrian bridge connecting the Fayetteville Canal Landing Park to the Erie Canalway Trail. The new bridge, the first of two phases of rehabilitation projects made possible by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative, gives Fayetteville a direct link to one of tourism’s strongest economic engines in upstate New York. Additionally, the project was finished in time for the Journey the Erie Canal tour – the biggest event to raise awareness for people with disabilities in New York State history.
“New York’s Canalway Trail system is a gem which improves quality of life for visitors, and contributes to the region’s competitiveness by attracting new economic development to the area,” said CNY REDC Co-chairs Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University and Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “This project is consistent with the region’s strategic goals to revitalize our region’s urban cores and neighborhoods and has great potential to lead to new investment and economic growth. It is local vision for projects like this wonderful effort in Fayetteville, which will make our communities stronger, and help drive our regional economy forward. We congratulate Fayetteville on the completion of the new pedestrian bridge and applaud Fayetteville on its vision for the future.”
Brian U. Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation, said, “The Erie Canalway Trail contributes significantly to the nearly $380 million in economic activity generated in communities all throughout the Canal corridor each year, and this project will compliment efforts all across the State to make the trail more accessible and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike. We are so pleased to have contributed Canal Corporation funding to move this important project forward in time for John Robinson’s inspirational journey to demonstrate that people of all abilities can visit, use, and enjoy America’s most iconic waterway Erie Canal – and the Erie Canalway Trail.”
After two rounds of the Regional Council process, the Village of Fayetteville has been awarded a total of $300,000 in grants – $150,000 in each round – from the New York State Canal Corporation’s Canalway Grant Program. With the pedestrian bridge complete, the focus now turns to more improvements being made at Fayetteville Landing, including the installation of paved transitional trails on both side of the bridge, the rehabilitation of the limestone wall near the bridge, the installation of limestone steps to create a fishing landing, the stabilization of the creek bed, as well as the installation of interpretive and directional signage, benches and landscaping.
Mark A. Olson, Mayor of the Village of Fayetteville said, “On behalf of the Village of Fayetteville, I want to thank everyone who had a hand in making this project a reality. Now that we have connected Canal Landing Park to the Old Erie Canal State Park and the Canalway Trail, one of New York’s most historic tourism destinations, our village’s economy and quality of life will be improved.”
When the entire project is completed, these critical improvements will increase accessibility and visibility of Fayetteville, both the Park and the Village, by creating one contiguous trail, attracting visitors across New York State. The upgraded Fayetteville Landing and its connection to the Canalway trail will help to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors in the community, increase local and regional economic activity by creating a connection to communities statewide encouraging visitors to live, work, and shop in the area, and conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing an alternate method of transportation.
With the bridge completed in time, John Robinson and the Journey the Erie Canal tour today crossed the new bridge at Fayette Landing on their way from Tonawanda to Albany in their efforts to inspire New Yorkers of all abilities to set and achieve new goals, and raise awareness for accessible tourism.
John Robinson, president & CEO of Our Ability said, “The Erie Canal is the symbol of inspiration and achievement – a dream to cooperate for a purpose spurred on American development. Our Ability chose the Erie Canal to help inspire all people touched by disability towards a new wave of economic development. Inspiring all people with disabilities toward education and employment through achievement can help re-build our economy.”
Mark Lankes, Director of State Operations Office 2 for the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities said, “This project is another great example of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to ensure that everyone has access to all that New York State has to offer, and will allow the entire community to experience more of the Erie Canalway Trail. It also supports OPWDD’s mission of helping people with developmental disabilities live richer lives.”
Journey the Erie Canal features people with disabilities advocate, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and quad-amputee John Robinson, his family, friends, and supporters biking, boating, running and walking the Erie Canal and Canalway Trail from Tonawanda to Albany, as a way of raising the public’s consciousness of the strides that people with disabilities have made and continue to make. His organization, Our Ability, mentors, connects, and inspires people with disabilities toward education and employment. The journey is New York State’s largest disabilities awareness event in history.
Representative Daniel Maffei said, “These improvements are perfect illustrations of why upstate New York is a tourism destination for thousands and so important to our region’s economy. Now travelers on the historic Erie Canalway Trail can cross Limestone Creek and experience all that the Village of Fayetteville has to offer.”
Senator John A. DeFrancisco said, “The Erie Canalway Trail is a vital cog in the strong tourism economy of upstate New York and this project gives the Village of Fayetteville the opportunity to tap into it. Not only are these improvements going to further the local economy, but this bridge is a shining illustration of how upstate New York can be a tourist destination that is accessible to everyone.”
Senator David J. Valesky said, “This project is important because it ensures every person who comes to the park can enjoy it equally. Congratulations to all involved in expanding access and enhancing the experience for visitors.”
Assemblyman Al Stirpe said, “New York State strives to be an open and accessible state to people with disabilities. I am proud to be a part of the opening of a bridge built to allow thousands of Erie Canalway visitors, regardless of physical condition, to experience Fayetteville.”
Edmond Theobald, Supervisor of Manilus said, “Now the thousands of people who visit and enjoy the Erie Canalway Trail will be able to visit and enjoy Fayetteville as well. These enhancements give the entire town something to be proud of. Furthermore, as a parent of a child with disabilities, I am thrilled that my wife, children and I can experience this new park as a family.”
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s efforts to spur economic development, job creation and community revitalization across New York State. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 REDCs to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. Statewide, the first two rounds included $1.5 billion in investments to support more than 1,400 projects, which are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.