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A Competition Will Award $2.5 Million To Re-Imagine The New York State Canal System

Hudson Valley , Greater Niagara , Finger Lakes | Tourism

  Oct. 4, 2017, 2:53 a.m. | By: Pranati Madhav

Governor Andrew M Cuomo announced that a global competition will determine the winner of $2.5 million to re-imagine the New York State Canal system. The competition will be held by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation.

Governor Cuomo stated, "The Canal System is a vital part of New York's storied past and it is critical that it continues to be an essential component of our state's future. We're looking for bold and innovative ideas that ensure the canal system and its surrounding communities can grow and prosper and with this competition, we encourage bright minds from across the globe to contribute their best ideas to help bring this piece of history to new heights."

The Erie Canal of New York will celebrate its bicentennial this year and served as a main source of transportation since it’s construction began in Rome, NY in 1817. The competition was announced as a part of this celebration and to determine how the Canal can again be part of the economic growth across New York State.

"Originally labeled Clinton's Folly, the Erie Canal went on to become one of the most significant transportation milestones in our history, putting Upstate NY on the path to a century of prosperity," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "It is fitting that now, as we celebrate its bicentennial, we re-imagine how this iconic Canal can once again become an engine for economic growth across New York State."

What the competition aims to do is:

  • Make the Canal System and its trails a tourist destination and recreational asset for New York residents and visitors;
  • Promote economic development along the Canal System;
  • Maintain the Canal System's heritage; and
  • Increase the long-term financial sustainability of the Canal Corporation
The competition was announced by Gil C Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York State Power Authority at the World Canals Conference in Syracuse. This event attracts hundreds of canal experts and enthusiasts from three continents.

"There are many people in the public and private sector who are passionate about the canals," said Quiniones. "We want to translate that passion into sustainable projects that will make the canal corridor bigger and better."

Brian U Stratton, the director of New York State Canal Corporation said, "The building of the Erie Canal took persistence, vision and overcoming deep skepticism, but its construction transformed this nation. Now, we want to transform the canals so they become go-to travel and recreation destinations. The entries can come from anywhere. Good ideas have no boundaries."

So what does the competition entail? It will seek entries in two categories- infrastructure and methods to increase recreation and tourism. In the first round, participants will showcase their core goals to be able to qualify. Finalists will then be $50,000 to implement their ideas. At this stage they will partner with either a municipality along the Canal System or a non-profit engaged in canal-related work.

The panel of judges will select two or more winners to receive between $250,000 and $1.5 million to plan and implement their projects.

Submissions for the first round are due December 4. The final winners will be announced in the spring.

More information is available at www.reimaginethecanals.com.

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