July 11, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces the Opening of the New Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area in the Mohawk Valley

Governor Cuomo Announces the Opening of the New Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area in the Mohawk Valley

Facility Advances the Path Through History Initiative and Highlights the Mohawk Valley as a Top Tourism Destination Features New Taste NY Store Offering Locally Produced Goods to Promote the Agricultural Industry

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the official opening of the Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area along the New York State Thruway in the Mohawk Valley. The rest area was first announced in 2015, following the region’s “Capital for a Day” events across the Mohawk Valley and represents the physical connection between the Erie Canal and Thruway – the two major transportation arteries that helped build the Empire State. The new facility showcases information on the historic tourism destinations in the Mohawk Valley and includes a new Taste NY store, connecting New Yorkers and visitors alike to the state’s world-class food and beverage producers.

“Apart from its unparalleled natural beauty, the Erie Canal corridor is a vital part of New York's history and remains a driver in our current economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Lock E-13 rest area is a shining example of the collaboration we have fostered between the Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation, and with a new Taste NY store, will share the region’s rich history with the millions of tourists who visit Upstate New York each year.”

Located along one of the most scenic sections of the Erie Canal and Mohawk River on the New York State Thruway (I-90) westbound at milepost 187 between exit 28 (Fultonville) and exit 29 (Canajoharie), the Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area encourages New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore the Upstate waterway through Governor Cuomo’s Path Through History initiative. The rest area includes exhibits reflecting the importance of transportation infrastructure to the growth of Upstate New York.

The new Taste NY store promotes the state’s world-class goods from nearly 30 New York-based producers and boosts agri-tourism in the region. Many of the producers are from the Mohawk Valley, which has a rich agricultural heritage and played an important role in the history of the Erie Canal. Visitors will find a wide selection of food and beverages including assorted teas, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, and jams, as well as home and personal care items such as hand and face creams, soaps, and candles. The store also features items for pets. For a complete list of Taste NY participants featured at the store, click here.

Senator George Amedore said, “The Mohawk Valley has played a unique and integral role in the history of New York State. With the opening of the living history rest area at Lock E-13, visitors and residents will now have a convenient opportunity to learn more about the rich history of the region, enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Canal and River, and sample great local products.”

The new store will be open on a seasonal basis and will be operated by Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., a statewide, not-for-profit organization serving people with disabilities. As an extension of Liberty’s Fresh Market employment training program, this store will help NYSARC clients gain useful job skills and hands-on work experience. In addition to Lock E-13, Taste NY products are offered at nearly four dozen locations, including rest areas and travel plazas along New York’s highways and Taste NY cafés, concession stands, and bars across the State.

Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation Chair Joanne M. Mahoney said, “This project truly reflects the cooperation that has been exhibited between the Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation. The Thruway and the Canals each spur economic activity upstate both commercially and recreationally every year, and this new site will provide a location for tourists and New Yorkers alike to learn about our state’s rich history. Thank you Governor Cuomo for your continued dedication to helping upstate New York achieves its full potential.”

Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch said, “The Thruway and Canals run virtually parallel across many of New York’s towns and have facilitated travel and tourism upstate for decades. As two vital transportation arteries in our state, the new rest area will benefit Upstate New York’s economy as well as spur tourism in the region. The Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area on the Thruway will open up the connection between the roadway and waterway so motorists can effortlessly experience the magic that is the Erie Canal.”

Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “New York’s Canal system draws visitors from all over the world, and the opening of the first Living History Rest Area on the Thruway at Lock E-13 will act as another way for visitors to educate themselves about the Canal’s major contributions to commerce and tourism in upstate New York.I am so pleased with the hard work and planning that went into this project and I look forward to witnessing firsthand the value that this Living History Rest Area brings to the Canal in the Mohawk Valley.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Since the early 19th century, New York’s canals and roads have played an integral role in connecting industry hubs and our regional economies continue to thrive thanks to Governor Cuomo’s unwavering support of the state’s infrastructure. Today, we invite travelers to step back in time by visiting the new Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area to experience one of the 13 themes of the Path Through History initiative, Canals & Transportation. As we celebrate the past, we look forward to working with our state agency partners to continue paving the way for economic growth for generations to come.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Every new Taste NY location benefits New York’s hard-working food and beverage producers and by connecting them to new markets, we are helping to drive the agricultural industry forward. Governor Cuomo launched the initiative with that goal in mind, and now more than three years later, I am encouraged by the overwhelming success of the program. The new Lock E-13 location, in particular, creates a great synergy between the tourism and agricultural industries, promoting the region’s best local products in addition to the area’s rich history and tourism attractions. I look forward to adding more Taste NY locations and building new partnerships in the near future.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said, "The significant investments we are now seeing in upstate communities are transforming cities like Schenectady and Amsterdam into regional destinations. The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam and the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady are landmark projects that bring with them jobs, economic development and tourism dollars. With this latest investment, regional visitors stopping at the Lock E-13 Living History Rest Area now have the opportunity to learn about our region’s rich history. This historical stop on the New York State Thruway serves as yet another wonderful addition for regional visitors, adding to a growing tourism industry for our communities."

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said, “This visitor center, located in the heart of Montgomery County, will engage visitors and highlight our rich history as a canal community, in addition to serving as a hub for tourism and recreational related information. I applaud the Governor, the Thruway Authority and the Canal Corporation for working with Montgomery County to make this “Living History” rest area a reality, as we celebrate our past and chart our future boosting tourism and local partnerships. I am very excited with the announcement that the Liberty Fresh Market will be serving this location, as it will undoubtedly have a positive effect on our local agricultural community as well.”

Liberty ARC CEO Jennifer Saunders said, “The expansion of the Liberty Fresh Market into the Taste NY venue is a unique growth opportunity for the individuals Liberty ARC supports. We are able to offer a variety of employment choices in a competitive yet nurturing environment for persons with developmental and physical disabilities. Opening the door to new employment opportunities, such as these, is essential for the population we support. This partnership with the Governor’s Taste NY initiative, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYS Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation contributes to the growth of employment training programs like the Liberty Fresh Market.”

About Path Through History
Launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, the Path Through History initiative features 13 themes of New York State history, including Arts & Culture, Canals & Transportation, Civil Rights, Colonial History, Immigration, Innovation, Native Americans, Natural History, Revolutionary War, Sports History, U.S. Presidents, War of 1812, and Women’s Rights. Visit paththroughhistory.iloveny.com to plan your next getaway to one of New York’s 11 diverse vacation regions. Visit the state’s historically and culturally significant sites, landmarks and museums, discover cultural events taking place throughout the year, and experience the state’s rich history first-hand.

About Taste NY
Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair. The program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops along the state’s highways and in transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. Approximately 1,100 local companies have participated in these opportunities, further linking their products and the state’s growing food and beverage market to consumers from across the globe. For more information about Taste NY, please visit www.taste.ny.gov. Connect with Taste NY through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

About Liberty
Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. was founded in 1957 by parents of children with developmental disabilities who wished to establish special education programs in the local community. Over the past 59 years, the organization has grown to include vocational, residential, day, family support and health-related services, supporting nearly 550 individuals with disabilities in Montgomery County.

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