created to enhance state canalways
Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton has launched
a federal commission to enhance business and tourism along
the state's historic canals stretching from Buffalo to
Albany, into the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario.
One of Norton's
appointees to the 27-member panel is Erie County Executive
Joel A. Giambra. Deputy County Executive Bruce Fisher
said last week that Giambra hopes the commission can highlight
Buffalo's commercial slip, and its role as the western
terminus of the Erie Canal, as an "attraction for
families, tourists and boaters."
Moynihan, a former senator from New York, and Andrew Cuomo,
former federal housing secretary, were early supporters
of the commission idea.
But it took a
bill by Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Syracuse, an influential appropriations
subcommittee chairman, to put it into business.
bill, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will
get $1 million per year for 10 years to spend on business
and cultural projects. This includes the state Barge Canal
and the Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca and Champlain canals.
provides an extraordinary opportunity to build a network
of partners dedicated to raising the awareness of the
importance of the past, president and future of the Erie
Canalway," Norton said.
appointee is Marie Rust, Northeast regional director of
the National Park Service. Her goals, she said, are "historic
preservation, open space preservation and trail development
within the corridor."
Rep. Jack Quinn,
R-Hamburg, who co-sponsored Walsh's bill, named Anthony
Colucci Jr., an attorney and cultural leader, to the panel.
Quinn called Colucci "bright, committed and professional."
he wants the commission to help with enhancements of the
park facilities in the Tonawandas, with anchorages and
Rep. John J.
LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda, nominated former Tonawanda
Mayor Alice A. Roth to the commission.
All its members
will serve without pay.
a spokesman for the National Park Service, of which the
Canalway will become an integral part, said this one -
extending 524 miles - may be the largest of 20 in the
is to broker partnerships with state and local governments,
and the private sector" that will enhance the historical
and cultural potential of important sites along the route,
thing now is to get the commission members to physically
meet soon and lay out their plans," Caldwell said.