This morning, a group of people passionate about restoring the Erie Canal in downtown Rochester will meet on the 19th floor of the First Federal Building. Their goal is to bring the World Canals Conference to Rochester for a third time in 2020.
The effort is being led by Tom Grasso, president of the Canal Society of New York State. There’s a major obstacle to getting the conference to come back, however. There must be progress on restoration efforts. Specifically, the city would have to rewater the Broad St. aqueduct.
A lot of people think the notion of flooding Broad St. to create a canal is insane. Supporters say it would return the canal to its former glory and spark waterfront development and attract recreation.
Buffalo is much farther along in bringing its canal back to life. Rochester has continued to put the plan on the back burner. The issue is money, of course. The aqueduct alone would cost $23 million.
Grasso’s group, called the World Canals Conference 2020 Planning Committee, has crafted a mission statement:
We believe a restored downtown Erie Canal will be transformational, make Rochester unique among upstate cities, and dynamically create a vast number of temporary and permanent jobs. Water, animated by boats and people on adjacent walkways, sparks vibrant development, is a proven powerful engine of economic revitalization, and yields good return on investment. Rochester’s robust canal history and its unique 19th century canal structures, such as the 1842 aqueduct and original Erie Canal bed, deserve preservation through restoration – for navigation and year round recreation united with today’s canal system. A restored old Erie Canal enhances Rochester’s image on the world stage as a tourist destination and helps pave the way for us to host the World Canals Conference in 2020 for an unprecedented third time.
Links of the Day:
– Syracuse’s mayor sent a Post-Standard columnist a copy of “Vagina Monologues” after he suggested she give up her salary since her husband makes a lot of money.
– Teens accused of stabbing another teen and setting him on fire were arraigned in Buffalo. The picture of them is sad and chilling.
– “This is the best fireworks show ever!” The best video yet of the San Diego fireworks mishap has surfaced.