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15 Jan 2020

BuroHappold to transform New York State's Erie Canal for leisure and tourism
BY Stu Robarts

The river passes through 225 communities along its 350mi (560km) course

The river passes through 225 communities along its 350mi (560km) course
photo: BuroHappold

BuroHappold will transform New York State's Erie Canal as part of a $300m (€269m, £231m) initiative to grow regional tourism, support outdoor recreation, reduce flooding, restore wetlands and improve irrigation.

The project has come out of the Reimagine the Canals Task Force, which is aimed at developing a canal system fit for the 21st century.

Work on the 350mi (560km)-long canal, which passes through 225 communities along its course, is scheduled to begin this year.

Among the work carried out will be the creation of a new whitewater destination and water sports course and the development of more fishing areas with managed fish stocks to improve fishing, both of which will contribute to increased tourism.

Communities around the river will be better connected, with new infrastructure like bridges being installed where appropriate, while existing "iconic infrastructure" will be celebrated, with the interactive, hydro-powered illumination of"movable dams" being one example.

Former industrial property will be redeveloped to create a pocket neighbourhood offering "21st-century canalside living" and existing accommodation will be developed at destinations along the canal.

Andrew M. Cuomo, governor of New York State, said: "When the Erie Canal was created in the 19th century it set the state and the nation on a path to prosperity, and this year we will repurpose the canal to fit our state's 21st-century needs. This bold and visionary plan to transform this historic waterway will build on the success of the Empire State Trail, grow tourism across Upstate New York, improve resilience of today's canal communities and ensure the economic sustainability of the waterway into the future."



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