Biennial Conference Brings Together Advocates from Across New York To Share Strategies on Enhancing Canal Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the City of Rochester will host the 2022 New York State Canal Conference, a biennial event that brings together canal and inland waterway enthusiasts, professionals and scholars to learn about a range of topics related to New York State Canals while celebrating their rich history. The conference, which will take place October 2 to October 4 at the Strathallan Hotel, is hosted by the Canal Society of New York State and is sponsored by the New York Power Authority, New York State Canal Corporation, and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. The event is expected to attract hundreds of attendees to Rochester's downtown area, helping to stimulate the local economy.
"As we look forward to the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal in 2025, it's an opportunity for canalside communities to both celebrate the historic significance of this moment for New York State, but also measure the value our canal system brings to their local economies and the pride it brings to their communities," Governor Hochul said. "The Canal Conference connects New Yorkers to their waterways, bringing together and inspiring residents with advocates and experts from across the state."
The 2022 Canal Conference will include a community celebration in honor of Rochester's ROC the Riverway program - an initiative that consolidates more than two dozen transformational projects along the Genesee River into a unified strategy. The program includes a variety of projects, including the recent phase one completion of the West River Wall promenade at North Star Commons, completion of the Genesee Riverway Trail along the riverfront through the Center City, and a redesign of Charles Carroll Plaza and Genesee Crossroads Park. The plan also envisions significant upgrades to major riverfront facilities, including the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial; the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center; and the Rundel Memorial Library building.
New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, "Few things in our state's history are as impactful, storied and important as the Erie Canal, and the biennial Canal Conference is a critical venue for stakeholders along its banks to come together and identify how we can best protect its future. The Canal and its tributaries empower our economy and enrich canalside communities to this day, and this forum allows us to hear from some of the state's foremost experts on how best to protect and utilize the canal system, so that it remains vibrant for the next generation of New Yorkers."
State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, "I'm pleased to welcome the 2022 New York State Canal Conference to Rochester this October. With ROC the Riverway projects well underway, as well as our rich cultural heritage as a canal city, Rochester is the perfect place to host this event that will also support our local economy. I'm grateful to the Canal Society of New York State and all the collaborative partners who made this opportunity possible for our region."
Assemblymember Harry Bronson said, "The Erie Canal is one of New York State's most treasured features. Spanning more than 350 miles, what was once used for shipping goods is now a tourist and economic driver. I'm pleased to see the New York State Canal Conference coming to Rochester from October 2 to October 4. Our region is excited for this opportunity to showcase our ROC the Riverway program and provide families with fun activities highlighting Rochester's many waterways!"
Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, "It is my pleasure to welcome the New York State Canal Conference to Rochester, NY, alongside the Erie Canal! Rochester's rich history is tied directly to this great waterway which brought many of our ancestors to this region searching for a better life for their children. This gateway to the Midwest has helped businesses thrive, and families enjoy public spaces, and I am thrilled to see our state continuing to invest in expanding these opportunities to more community members. ROC the Riverway will open new businesses, create better housing, and help our city become more equitable by providing these opportunities right here in downtown Rochester. I am grateful for the state's investment and look forward to building a brighter future for Rochester!"
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "For nearly two centuries, the Erie Canal has served as the bridge between people and commerce across New York. The NYS Canal Corporation is thrilled to work alongside stakeholders and colleagues to showcase how our continued investments in the Canal system support recreation and local businesses in communities across upstate New York. This biennial conference brings together those New Yorkers who are invested in the Canal system, ensuring that our future is dynamic and relevant for the next generation while honoring our shared and rich history."
New York State Canal Conference Chair Kal Wysokowski said, "The Canal Conference brings together voices from across our state, empowering us to learn from one another about how to build the best future for the Erie Canal and the communities along its banks. We are thrilled to bring the Canal Conference to Rochester - which the Canal helped to grow from a frontier outpost to a thriving young community in its earliest days - and celebrate the outstanding work the city has done to both preserve and promote the Erie Canal to visitors from across New York State and beyond."
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Executive Director Bob Radliff said, "Last year's New York State Canal Conference was incredibly informative and engaging. We are excited to again support this year's gathering in Rochester and appreciate the Canal Society's efforts to organize a top-notch assembly of canal leaders."
Visit Rochester President and CEO Don Jeffries said, "We are excited to welcome The Canal Society of NYS Biennial Conference to Rochester and shine a light on the '100 must-see miles' of the Erie Canal. This long-standing New York State event will bring continued attention to ROC the Riverway, the City's plan to reimagine our iconic riverfront - an important part of downtown Rochester's transformation and appeal to our visitors and local community."
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said, "Rochester is a vibrant city with a strong community and deep history, and I am honored that it will serve as the venue for the 2022 Canal Conference. The City of Rochester presents the perfect backdrop for the Conference's aim to transform the historic network of waterways into a recreational destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. It is undeniable that canals and inland waterways are inextricably intertwined with the social, cultural, and economic fiber of their surrounding communities and I am proud that New York is investing in the future of the State's Canal system."
The conference's opening events include paddling, hiking and cycling along the Genesee River, a first look at the City of Rochester's plan to reimagine its iconic Aqueduct, and boat cruises on the waterway. Canal themed presentations and exhibits, along with the option for attendees to participate in workshops and outings alongside the Erie Canal will also be part of the three-day event. For more information on programming and to register,please visit: https://newyorkcanals.org/events.
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