SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WXXI News & AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo is launching an effort to improve the New York State Canal System by holding a competition that will award up to $2.5 million to entrants who come up with the best ideas.
The Democrat made the announcement Monday as the World Canals Conference got underway in Syracuse.
Cuomo says the contest will be a global competition to find the best ways to re-imagine the 524-mile canal system whose main component is the Erie Canal. He says the state is looking for ``bold and innovative ideas'' that will boost the development and tourism potential of the waterway and neighboring communities.
The competition will be run by the New York Power Authority and state Canal Corp. Construction of the Erie Canal began in Rome, New York, on July 4, 1817.
The global competition was unveiled by Gil Quiniones, the President of the New York Power Authority at the World Canals Conference.
The power authority took over ownership of the canal system earlier this year.
Quiniones says the idea behind this competition is to find new ways to improve both the infrastructure and the programming along the canals.
“How can we connect the canals better to the canal towns, and what kind of programming should we have so that we attract more tourists and recreation, better quality of life, access to the waterfront, economic development…“it’s about tourism, it’s about recreation, it’s about irrigation for our farmers, it’s about water usage for some of the manufacturing and process plants that we have along the canal system,” Quiniones told WXXI News.
Winners in the competition will be announced next Spring.