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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Unveils Designs for Seneca Falls Boater Amenities and Canalside Improvements

FLREDC supported project will improve Canals access in downtown Seneca Falls, boost local tourism
(March 12, 2013)

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Unveils Designs for Seneca Falls Boater Amenities and Canalside Improvements

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) today joined with Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton to unveil several design components of the Seneca Falls Boater Amenities and Canalside Improvements project. The project, which will improve access to and from the Canal in downtown Seneca Falls, is moving forward on the strength of an award from the first round of Governor Andrew M. Coumo’s Regional Council initiative and will improve access to and from the Canal in downtown Seneca Falls.

“The Canals system provides New Yorkers and visitors with a place to enjoy the outdoors while learning about one of the greatest innovations in our state’s history,” said FLREDC Co-chairs Joel Seligman, President, University of Rochester and Danny Wegman, CEO, Wegmans Food Markets. “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to growing the upstate economy is being put into action with improvement projects like these in Seneca Falls – which will help to attract more families and visitors, and provide a boost in tourism that will generate more of the local economic activity we need to keep the economy on the right track.”

“I commend Governor Cuomo for working to maximize the economic potential of the Canal Corridor,” said Thruway Authority Board Chairman Howard P. Milstein. “New York’s Canals continue to be the commercial, cultural and recreational backbone for communities across the State and we have seen that with continued investment, premier tourism regions, like the Finger Lakes, become stronger and more prosperous.  These new facilities and amenities will bolster the wonderful tourism resource of the Cayuga Seneca Canal.”

“Governor Cuomo’s strong vision for growing the upstate economy is really taking root, especially in the towns and villages along the Canal.” said Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “The strength of recreation and tourism in upstate New York has made the Erie Canal Corridor a key factor in the upstate economy. This type of continued investment will surely add to attract thousands of people that visit attractions along the Canal every year, further strengthening the recreation and tourism industries.”

The Seneca Falls project has three main components: a Community Center Boat Launch at 25 Water Street, docking facilities and a water-side walkway. The new boat launch will replace an existing gravel “car top” and will accommodate the need for a motorized boat launch. The new docking facilities and walkway will be installed in a section of town that currently does not provide access to the Canal. Additionally, a new walking trail will continue along the shoreline to provide pedestrians a safe place to walk along the shoreline of Van Cleef Lake.

“We are particularly grateful for this Canalway Grant as it addresses the need for a motorized boat launch and adequate docking, but the progress of this project unveiled today is also outstanding news for Seneca Fall’s downtown business district and the many travelers who look to explore the Seneca Canal.” said Town Supervisor Don Earle. “These necessary Canalside improvements are a result of our community’s commitment to the economic and recreational development along the Canal and the ease of the process made possible by the Finger Lakes REDC.”

In 2011, Seneca Falls and two other projects in the Finger Lakes Region received a total of $360,000 as part of the Canal Corporation’s $1.5 million award to 13 projects along the corridor. In 2012, the Canal Corporation awarded $1.3 million to another 13 projects, including three projects in the Finger Lakes region. Overall, more than 120 projects within the Canal Corridor across New York State have been awarded support from the State through the first two rounds of the Governor’s Regional Council initiative.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals.  Spanning across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture. 

New York’s 524-mile Canal System and Canalway Trail are considered strong economic generators for the upstate region, responsible for generating at least $380 million in direct tourism spending each year.  In addition, the Canal provides numerable other benefits, including hydropower, farming irrigation, water control and support reservoirs for drinking water.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. In 1992, State legislation transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.

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. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up 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. After two rounds of competitive awards, nearly 1,500 projects are receiving support to put people back to work, get the economy back on track, and restore New York State as the Empire State. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit