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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Announces Heritage Trail Improvement Projects Break Ground in Ogden and Spencerport

(July 28, 2012)

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Announces Heritage Trail Improvement Projects Break Ground in Ogden and Spencerport

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council today announced that projects in the town of Ogden and the village of Spencerport to improve the Heritage Trail have officially broken ground and work is underway. The town of Ogden has begun construction on a 1,600-foot extension of the Heritage Trail and Park on the strength of a $275,000 grant, and in Spencerport a $75,000 grant is supporting a project to link the village to the Heritage Trail in Ogden. The projects represent a total investment in these Monroe County communities of $700,000 in awards from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative to create a nearly mile-long multi-use path, new park space, and new docks for visiting boaters.

“These exciting projects, undertaken cooperatively by neighboring localities, recognize the value of the Erie Canal Corridor to the economic health of the entire region. The wonderful strides being made here in Spencerport and Ogden will help communities all along our great Canal system realize their full economic potential,” said FLREDC Co-chairs Joel Seligman and Danny Wegman. “Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the Council has made smart investments that will improve the quality of life for residents and visitors in our communities and stimulate economic activity in the area by encouraging additional waterside activities.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton joined Ogden Supervisor Gay Lenhard, Spencerport Mayor Joyce Lobene, and other local officials for official groundbreaking ceremonies today at the new park in Ogden and during the annual Spencerport Canal Days event.

“I am pleased Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council recognized the value of this recreation area,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Parks and trails are fundamental building blocks of vibrant, livable communities. This investment is helping the citizens of Ogden to build a stronger, more prosperous community.”

“For nearly two centuries, villages like Spencerport have relied on the Erie Canal as the lifeblood of its economy, and as the commercial, cultural and recreational center of the community,” said Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation. “Today, that tradition continues, and we are pleased to have participated in Governor Cuomo’s initiative to maximize the economic potential of canal communities all across New York, and to forge a path to a brighter future along New York’s original “Main Street” – the Erie Canal.”

"Canalside parks such as these in Ogden and Spencerport are among the reasons that thousands of visitors come each year to enjoy the attractions of the Erie Canalway Corridor,” said New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “Recreation and tourism are a big part of the $380 million that the Canals contribute annually toward the economy of Upstate New York."

The park improvements in Ogden will include benches, shaded picnic tables and grills, in addition to an 80-foot dock for boaters. The park will have a parking lot for visitors, but also may be reached by bicycle or hiking on the trail that begins in the neighboring Village of Spencerport by the Trolley Depot. The extension will provide a nearly mile-long multi-use path and a park along the canal. Future plans include the construction of pavilions, and a lodge with a fireplace and restrooms. To cover the remains of the total project cost of nearly $550,000, a matching amount will be provided by the town and will include in-kind services by the Ogden Highway Department and certain donated materials.

“I am very much looking forward to the extension of the Heritage Park and Trail in the Town of Ogden,” said Town Supervisor Gay Lenhard. “As the first park on the canal in Ogden, it will draw more visitors and boaters exploring the historic Erie Canal to local businesses. It provides a great new place for town residents to enjoy the outdoors, and improves the overall quality of life in the region.”

In Spencerport, the trail project expands on numerous improvements that have been made along the canal over the in the last fifteen years, including new docks, a promenade, and a canalside Visitor Center with restrooms, showers, a library, and local information for canal tourists.

Spencerport Mayor Joyce Lobene said, “We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for recognizing the inherent benefits to a locally-driven vision for regional economic development, and for helping us to provide this critical link between our waterfront and the east side neighborhoods. This will help expand our canalside area for residents and visitors alike, and provide additional room for vendors and activities during economically important annual events like Canal Days.”

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. As part of that process, the town of Ogden was awarded $275,000 through the Environmental Protection Fund, administered by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The Village of Spencerport was awarded $75,000 from the Canal Corporation’s Canalway Grant Program.

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “There is no question that our historic canal system is of vital importance when it comes to enhancing the outstanding quality of life we enjoy here in Monroe County. This investment will bolster our reputation as a world-class destination in Upstate New York for residents of all ages. I thank the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for their ongoing commitment to our community through this innovative project.”

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation made $16 million available in 2011 to assist in the development of parks and recreational facilities to preserve, rehabilitate or restore lands, waters or structures for park, recreation or conservation purposes and for structural assessments or planning for such projects. The “Canalway Grants Program” included a total of $1 million in competitive grants available to eligible municipalities and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations along the New York State Canal System. Projects were required to meet the objectives of the Regional Economic Development Councils and the NYS Canal Recreationway Plan in order to be eligible for support.

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit