Register: JAN/05/2018, Submit: JAN/05/2018, Eligibility: Urban designers, architects, planners, community specialists, hydrologists, infrastructure engineers, artists, curators, development economists, real estate developers, local officials, financing partners; businesses, non-profits, municipalities, individually, (multidisciplinary) teams, Fee: Free, Awards: Stage one: up to 8 finalists – up to 50,000 USD each (to develop ideas), Stage two: 2 or more winners – between 250,000 USD and 1,500,000 USD each (to project planning and implementation); Actual amounts will be based on the extent of the proposal submitted.
The New York Power Authority and the New York State Canal Corporation launched a competition seeking ideas to shape the future of the New York State Canal System, a 524-mile network composed of the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and the Champlain Canal. Selected ideas will be awarded a total of $2.5 million toward their implementation.
The New York State Canal System is one of the most transformative public works projects in American history. The entire system was listed as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2017 for its role in shaping the American economy and urban development. Despite its past success, vessel traffic on the Canal System has steadily declined over the last century. Deindustrialization and competition from rail, pipelines, roadways and the St. Lawrence Seaway, put the Canals at a disadvantage in transporting freight. Pleasure boating activity levels have likewise fallen and are today only half what they once were. In contrast to the decreasing maritime activity on the Canal System, recreational uses along it – from hiking and bicycling in spring, summer, and fall to cross-country skiing and ice fishing in winter – have grown in popularity. The 750-mile Empire State Trail, which will run from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo, is expected to be completed in 2020. It will further enhance opportunities for recreation along portions of the Canal System. To date, however, much of the Canal System’s potential to stimulate tourism and economic activity in the communities along its corridor remains untapped.
To address the challenges and opportunities facing the Canal System, the Competition seeks visionary ideas for physical infrastructure projects as well as programming initiatives that promote:
- the Canal System as a tourist destination and recreational asset
- sustainable economic development along the canals and beyond
- the heritage and historic values of the Canal System
- the long-term financial sustainability of the Canal System
Competition submissions can describe a physical project or concept, a programming initiative, or a blend of both:
- Physical Concepts include projects intended to address the current challenges facing the Canal System and/or to transform the relationship between local communities, visitors, and the Canals. This could include, for example, improving connectivity between communities and the Canals, creating a new tourist destination, or re-engineering or rehabilitating existing structures along the Canal System.
- Programming Initiatives include concepts to address the current challenges of the Canal System by increasing the use of the Canal System and/or the Canalway Trail. This could include, for example, an event or series of events, the use of technology to enhance the visitor experience, or other concepts designed to attract tourists.