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Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Announces Funding for Schoharie Crossing to Promote Tourism and Aid Flood Recovery

(April 20, 2012)

Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Announces Funding for Schoharie Crossing to Promote Tourism and Aid Flood Recovery

The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council today announced that the Schoharie Crossing has been awarded $95,000 in much-needed funding to repair flood damaged facilities and advance public works projects as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. This project will make parking and pathway improvements, install new signs to educate and guide tourists through the historical site and renovate the flood damaged regional visitor’s center.

“Our state’s historical landmarks must be preserved and promoted to ensure future generations of New Yorkers are able to discover, visit, and enjoy what places like the Schoharie Crossing have to offer,” said SUNYIT President and Council Co-Chair Bjong Wolf Yeigh. “These projects will improve visitor accessibility while encouraging education and tourism in a way that will help the site remain one of the Mohawk Valley’s top visitor attractions, providing a boost to the local economy.”

“The Schoharie Crossing is an historical treasure of the Mohawk Valley that provides families and all New Yorkers with a place to enjoy the outdoors while learning about one of the greatest innovations in our state’s history,” said President of Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, Inc. and Council Co-Chair Larry Gilroy. “The flooding in our region was devastating, but projects that attract visitors and generate economic activity are exactly what our communities need as we continue to rebuild and recover.”

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation applied for funding for the Schoharie Crossing in Fort Hunter, Montgomery County through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) in 2011 and were awarded $95,000 in two Canalway Education and Interpretation Grants. In conjunction with the 7th annual “Canal Clean Sweep,” administration and agency officials announced the detailed plan for the site and will remain diligent in ensuring the project quickly moves forward. The historic site also will receive funds for flood damage recovery under another state program to expand and improve facilities along New York State’s Canals.

Rose Harvey, commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, “The Schoharie Crossing is one of the most important historic sites in our State. With these improvements, it will be more attractive to families and visitors who will be able to blend outdoor recreation with learning about history.”

Brian U. Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation said, “Schoharie Crossing is a key historic attraction in the Mohawk Valley that reminds us of the importance of the Erie Canal in defining the economy of Upstate New York. These improved parking and paths will attract more visitors to the place where the Erie Canal crosses the Schoharie Creek. The new signs will help tell the story of the original Erie Canal, widely viewed as one of the engineering marvels of its age.”

Like many private and public facilities in the Mohawk Valley Region, Schoharie Crossing sustained heavy damage during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee from the record floods of 2011. Utilizing $75,000 in state resources, the project will install a new parking lot and associated site circulation paths, as well as assist with renovations to the flood damaged visitor’s center at the Schoharie Crossing State Historic site.

The second grant of $20,000 will go toward restoring or replacing all outdoor interpretive signage at the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site. The signs lead visitors down the site’s paths while also providing educational and historical information about the Erie Canal and Schoharie Crossing. The Fort Hunter site is devoted to the preservation and interpretation of significant Erie Canal historic structures and attracts many visitors due to both its visual and historical appeal.

Additionally, under Governor's Cuomo's New York Works initiative to upgrade state parks and other state infrastructure, a new playground is scheduled to be installed at Schoharie Crossing. The $56,360 playground, featuring slides and climbing features, will be located near the boat launch, a short drive across the river from the Visitor Center area of the site.

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 Schoharie Crossing was awarded $95,000 in Canalway Education and Interpretation Grants from the New York State Canal Corporation.

The “Canalway Grants Program” includes a total of $1 million in competitive grants available to eligible municipalities and non-profit organizations (501-C(3) along the New York State Canal System and $517,000 in funding for state agency canal related education and interpretive capital projects.

Approved projects are intended to meet the objectives of the Regional Economic Development Council and the NYS Canal Recreationway Plan. The envisioned projects should expand public access, increase recreational use, provide improved services for motorized and non-motorized boaters, expand and promote tourism, private investment and economic development, offer a greater appreciation and understanding of canal and community history, and protect environmental and historic canal resources.

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Erie Canal as one of the 19th century's greatest commercial and engineering projects. The Visitor Center exhibit traces the history of the Erie Canal and its impact on the growth of New York State and the nation.

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.nyworks.ny.gov.

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