$5.4 Million Project Closes Gap in the 365-Mile Trail Connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of a newly constructed section of the Erie Canalway Trail between the city of Lockport and the town of Pendleton in western New York. The opening marks the completion of a $5.4 million project to construct four new miles of 10-foot wide asphalt trail between Stevens Street in Lockport and Fisk Road in Pendleton, as well as additional work in the town of Amherst. The 365-mile trail that stretches from Lake Erie to the Hudson River is now more than 75 percent complete.
"The Erie Canal and Canalway Trail are iconic pieces of upstate New York and each year millions of people flock to them to experience their history and enjoy their natural beauty," Governor Cuomo said. "By closing one of the trail's remaining gaps, we are helping provide greater connectivity and an improved experience in one of the most popular and stunning portions of the trail."
In addition to the four miles of new trail, a pedestrian bridge was built over Donner Creek in Lockport near Fisk Feigle Road and an on-street path was added from Stevens Street to Erie Canal Locks 34 and 35. Informational kiosks have been installed on the trail to guide visitors, and parking and trail access is now available on State Street in Lockport. In Amherst, 1,500 feet of new trail was added, as well as a pedestrian bridge across the Tonawanda Creek.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "The Erie Canal is undoubtedly one of the most iconic waterways in the nation and Governor Cuomo has worked to both highlight its history and harness its tourism potential. The completion of this part of the Canalway Trail will help these communities thrive. It is imperative that we continue to preserve the land and trails surrounding the Canal so it can be enjoyed by future generations."
The Canalway Trail's popularity among New Yorkers and visitors alike has made it an economic engine for communities throughout upstate New York. Each year, approximately 1.5 million people use the Erie Canalway Trail, resulting in an estimated $253 million in economic activity from visitor spending statewide. The Buffalo-Pendleton segment is the most heavily used part of the Canalway Trail with approximately 350,000 annual users.
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "This brand new trail will entice tourists, hikers and cyclists alike to visit the truly extraordinary Erie Canal during this year’s navigation season and for years to come. The Erie Canal and the Erie Canalway Trail are two key economic engines in New York State’s tourism, and I believe that the opening of this trail will bring an exciting new chapter for recreational activities in this community. Today, we may be on bicycles – not mule-drawn Canal boats – but I believe Governor Clinton would be proud of the work that Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, and their team are doing to build on the rich legacy and wonderful resource that he left us."
Senator Rob Ortt said, "Shortly after its completion in the City of Lockport a couple of months ago, I’ve seen dozens of people taking advantage of the Canalway Trail, whether they’re walking or biking. The trail offers scenic views along the Erie Canal, and has the potential to attract more tourists to the area with the help of the Flight of Five locks and the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride virtually down the street. I have no doubt this project will have a positive economic impact that’ll also bring a sense of resurgence to the city."
Assemblywoman Jane Corwin said, "As Lockport continues to grow and redevelop, and the multiple phases of the Lockport Canal Corridor near completion, New York State investment in infrastructure is critical to this development. There is energy in Western New York and Lockport residents can feel the momentum and see the progress in projects such as the bridge renovation, canal and trail development and public access to these markers. I am proud to see the progress that is being made."
Niagara County Legislator Tony Nemi said, "Director Stratton and the Canal Corp. have been great partners to our local governments throughout this project. Today marks the completion of a key stretch of the Erie Canalway Trail that our families can bike on, hike on, and skate on safely. Creating a safe, off-road trail dedicated to fitness and families was the primary goal of everyone involved in this project, and it's good to see the state investing in something that improves our community in such a visible way."
Town of Lockport Supervisor Mark Crocker said, "This is a great example of State and local government working together to finish a project that will enhance the lives of people for many generations to come."
Pendleton Town Supervisor Joel Maerten said, "There has been great demand for recreational opportunities of this caliber and since construction began, residents and visitors have flocked to this new section of the Erie Canalway Trail. We are absolutely thrilled with its versatility and beauty, and it is a welcome addition to Pendleton and our neighboring communities."
City of Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey said, "The expansion of the Canalway Trail from Lockport to Pendleton is exciting for our residents as well as visitors who come to enjoy the Erie Canal, Bicyclists and runners will have the opportunity to take in the Erie Canal while doing so on a safe and well-maintained trail. We're looking forward to showing off our city and locks to more neighbors and visitors on the trail."
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