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Director Stratton Joins Local Officials to Announce Grand Opening of New Waterfront Pavilion in Phoenix

CNY Regional Council Waterfront Improvement Project Opens As New Canal Ambassadors Are Named
(August 15, 2013)

Director Stratton Joins Local Officials to Announce Grand Opening of New Waterfront Pavilion in Phoenix

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton today joined with the Village of Phoenix and local elected officials to celebrate the progress of the Phoenix Waterfront Improvement Project (PWIP), the designation of new Canal Ambassadors, and the arrival of the historic replica schooner, Lois McClure. The PWIP, made possible by a $50,000 grant through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (CNYREDC) as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, focuses on two main projects – the replacement of the pavilion on Lock Island and the construction of a new restroom facility across from the pavilion on State Street. Today marks the completion and grand opening of the new pavilion.

“With this project, the Village of Phoenix continues to revitalize itself and improve the quality of life for its residents and visitors alike,” said Stratton. “This phase of the strategic plan will reinforce the Village’s identity as a canal community and help promote the Oswego Canal and the Village of Phoenix as a tourist friendly destination. It is this type of commitment to investment and recreational enhancements that will allow the economic impact tourism has along the canal to surpass its current level of $380 million.”

“Our council has made revitalization of the region's diverse and vast waterfront resources a priority given the unique economic opportunities they provide,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO and co-chair of the CNYREDC. “The Phoenix Waterfront Improvement Project will provide enhanced amenities for community residents, boaters and other visitors through the Oswego Canal. I congratulate the Village of Phoenix for its progress on this important project.”

The new, wheelchair accessible pavilion was built to fit with the architectural character of Phoenix’s Canal Waterfront District and will be used by the community for concerts, weddings, reunions, and other events. The unisex restroom and shower facility is expected to be completed by the fall of 2014.The PWIP, originally part of the town’s 2007 Strategic Plan, will improve the quality of life for residents, attract more boaters and tourists, enhance recreational opportunities and generate additional revenue for local businesses.

“On behalf of Mayor Tony Fratto and the Village, I would like to say thank you to all the residents, members of the boating community and the visiting recreational enthusiasts who envisioned the replacement of the old pavilion.” said Village Administrator Jimmy Hayes. “It is my great pleasure to announce the opening of our new pavilion along with the construction of the restroom facilities. This is a wonderful celebration of the return of Henley Park to a cherished asset to our community.”

Today’s program also featured Director Stratton’s designation of new “Canal Ambassadors”. The Canal Ambassador Program enlists volunteers from across New York State to help canal communities welcome tourists, maintain parks and waterfronts, give tours of historic facilities, and offer services at festivals and events. This particular group of ambassadors has a great deal of experience in this service, as they are all ‘Bridgehouse Brats,’ a group of local children who spend their summers learning leadership and teamwork skills, while keeping their community clean.

Additionally, the Lois McClure will be docked in Phoenix today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Lois McClure is a full-scale replica of an 1862-class sailing canal boat, constructed in Burlington, Vermont and owned by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She is named in honor of Lois McClure, who, along with her husband Mac, has been a major contributor to many worthy community projects in the greater Burlington area. Her 2013 tour began by traveling the Oswego Canal, St. Lawrence River, Richelieu River, Chambly Canal, before arriving at its homeport on Lake Champlain.

Senator Patty Ritchie said, “The Village of Phoenix is a canal community rich in culture and history that offers so many opportunities for outdoor recreation and related activities. I’d like to congratulate the Village of Phoenix on the completion of phase one of their waterfront improvement project. This is just the start of revitalizing the waterfront, attracting more visitors to our area and boosting economic development in our region.”

Assemblyman Will Barclay said, “Congratulations to the Village of Phoenix on the success of this project and many thanks to all the partners who helped to invest in our area youth and our waterfront facilities. This will be an attraction for locals, visitors, and area businesses that will benefit from these improvements as well when boaters and tourists begin to spend more time and money in the Village.”

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles, the waterways link the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, Niagara River and Lake Erie with communities rich in history and culture. For more information about the New York State Canal System, vacation opportunities and events call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. As a result of the first two rounds of awards, $1.5 billion in investments has been awarded to support more than 1,400 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs across the Empire State and generating investments to grow the economy. For more information on the regional councils, visit