Corporate Information

Canalway Grant Program

The Canalway Grant Program supports Canal-related projects across the NYS Canal System.
Early morning light illuminates the Waterford Water Trail at Waterford Park, part of the Canal Greenway Grant, adjacent to Lock E2 at the entrance to the New York State Canal System in Waterford, NY.

Description

The Canalway Grant Program awards up to $1.0 million dollars annually in competitive grants for Canal related capital projects across the NYS Canal System. Eligible applicants include counties, municipalities, units of local government, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, and Federally recognized Native American Tribes located across the New York State Canal System. Grant awards range between $25,000 and $150,000. The program requires a 50% grant match, and grant funding is distributed via reimbursement only. Grant administration and pre-development costs cannot exceed 10% of the grant award amount (although these costs may be used as part of the applicant match with no cap). Grant awardees must complete projects within two-years of grant award.

Questions?

Eligible applicants should contact:

Andy Marzo
Canals Program Manager
Andrew.Marzo@NYPA.Gov

Program Overview

The Canalway Grant Program awards up to $1.0 million dollars annually in competitive grants for Canal related capital projects across the NYS Canal System. The program is administered annually through the State of New York’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), which was created to support the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Initiative.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Eligible applicants include counties, municipalities, units of local government, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, and Federally recognized Native American Tribes located across the New York State Canal System.
  • Projects must be located along one of the four canals of the Canal System (Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca), trail linkages or connections to existing trail segments, or the historic canal alignment.
  • Projects must be located on land owned by the applicant and/or Canal Corporation. Projects on Canal Corporation real property may require the purchase, lease or permitting of the real property from the Canal Corporation.
An aerial view of the Erie Canal, stretching westward towards the Village of Medina in Orleans County, New York, tranquil waters with lush greenery and a view of the Horan Road Bridge

Consolidated Funding Application (CFA)

The Canalway Grant Program is administered annually through NYS’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).

The CFA accepts grant applications between May and July, with awards announced in November/December each year.

Program Priorities and Selection Criteria

Funding priority will be given to projects that address one or more of the Canalway Grant Program's priority focus areas (see below). Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) endorsement should also be considered by applicants.


Strategic Alignment
  • The project addresses strategic priorities, goals, and connections between the canal and the corresponding region consistent with the Canal Corporation's revitalization efforts to make the Canal waterways and trails safe, resilient and a driver for regional economic development now and for future generations.
  • The project addresses strategic priorities consistent with the Regional Economic Development Council's Strategic Planning efforts.
  • The project strategically enhances or creates new assets that are consistent with NYS Canal's On the Canals Program.
  • The project helps enhance or tie into the Empire State Trail (EST) Initiative, and/or connectivity to the EST trail.
Project Support and Advocacy  
  • The project has demonstrated public support from the community and region.
  • The applicant/project has or will receive written project endorsement from local, regional, and/or state leaders and other stakeholders. Examples of common letters of endorsement may include but are not limited to those from New York local, county, or state elected officials; Native American tribal leaders; Canal advocacy groups; and other organizations/individuals who may be crucial to the project's implementation and continued success.
Implementation and Project Readiness  
  • The project will be completed within 2-Years of award notification.
  • Some or all pre-development work has been completed by the awardee or other project stakeholders.
  • The project has a schedule with detailed project phases (i.e. start/finish of any design and predevelopment work, construction work, etc.), milestones, and identifies parties responsible for project oversight and implementation.
  • There are no concerns with gaining timely permits or other approvals from federal, state, and local agencies, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and/or any others that may be required by the NYS Canal Corporation.
  • The project is consistent with the principles of universal design (i.e., the project would be usable by all people including those with disabilities, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation of specialized design.
Effectiveness and Impact  
  • The project includes or incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives making the canal more accessible to those with disabilities or others who may have not been able to access the canal or it's amenities in the past.
  • The project increases canal tourism, participation in canal-related activities, and/or attracts new multiday visitors.
  • The project is located within an environmental justice area.
  • The project activates, restores, or enhances historic assets or other infrastructure that are significant to the Canal.
  • The project is consistent with and/or promotes local or statewide sustainability goals and initiatives.
  • The project enhances connectivity along adjacent trails, or directly to the Canal in areas that traditionally have not had access.
  • The project includes components that will help mitigate future physical damage to the proposed or other infrastructure due to negative impacts from climate change including sea-level rise, storm surges, and/or flooding due to extreme weather events.
Financial Viability and Funding Leveraged  
  • The project costs are reasonable, reflective of recent cost estimates, and include adequate project contingencies for unanticipated project costs.
  • A viable and accessible grant match is clearly demonstrated in the project grant budget.
  • Project funding has been identified for long term operation and maintenance work.
  • The project will stimulate private and/or public investment from other sources in the community and/or region.
  • The project leverages funding secured from other state grant initiatives focused on waterfront, community, and recreational development. Examples may include but are not limited to: The NYS Department of State "Local Waterfront Revitalization Program" (LWRP), the NY Department of State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), and the NYS Department of Parks Recreation, and Historic Places Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program and Recreational Trails Program.
  • The project would still be financially viable if other state grant funding sources were not secured.

Eligible Types of Applicants

  • Counties, Municipalities, Units of Local Government
  • Federally Recognized Native American Tribes
  • Not-for-profit Corporations

Not-for-profit corporations are covered under New York State's Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. In order to apply under this program, a not-for-profit corporation must have proof of incorporation (or equivalent document) from the NYS Department of State or NYS Board of Regents, a charities registration number from the NYS Office of the Attorney General, and proof of tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue code.

View of the Erie Canal winding through Medina, Orleans County, New York, with picturesque autumn foliage lining the canal banks and historic buildings dotting the skyline.

Examples of Eligible Projects

Eligible canal capital project expenses include, but are not limited to the following: Constructing new boat launches, buildings, trail sections, trail connections or structures; Creative placemaking, wayfinding, and signage concepts; Substantial renovations or preservation of existing buildings, trail segments, or other structures, including reconfigurations (removal or construction of walls, ceilings and flooring, windows, window frames, hulls); Site preparation and improvements associated with a project (excavation, demolition, roadways, sidewalks, exterior lighting, sprinkler systems, utility hook-ups); Acquisition of furnishings, fixtures, machinery and equipment with a useful life in excess of five years including signs and interpretive exhibits, constructing or rehabilitating docks or bulkheads for the purpose of public access to and from the Canal System; Hazardous waste clean-up associated with a project, Retrofitting infrastructure or amenities related to energy efficiency initiatives.

Ineligible Activities

  • Grant administration and pre-development costs cannot exceed 10% of the grant award amount.
  • Use of grant funds for land acquisition is prohibited (however the costs of acquisition may be used as a local match).
  • Grant funds cannot be used to cover operating expenses.

Program Funding and Match Requirements

  • Grant awards range between $25,000 and $150,000.
  • Grant administration and pre-development costs cannot exceed 10% of the grant award amount (although these costs may be used as part of the applicant match with no cap).
  • Applicants must demonstrate a 50% match which will be required on all grants and must be fully documented. NYS Canal Corporation and/or NYPA funding may not be used towards matching funds. Principal types of applicant share are:
    • Grants: Eligible matching funds include federal, local, private and other agency or state funding.
    • Force Account (Payroll of applicant): Itemize according to job title or job assignment (on project). At the time of the reimbursement request, grant recipients will be required to document time worked, tasks, pay ratio and payment (including components and percentage of fringe benefit rate).
    • Professional Services: The value of services provided by professional and technical personnel and consultants. Three-year retroactivity applies.
    • Supplies and Materials: The current market value of items warehoused (not yet installed). Three-year retroactivity applies; use value current at time items were obtained.
    • Volunteer Labor: Skilled and professional labor can be computed at the job rate. The value for labor (unskilled labor and work performed by professionals or skilled laborers in an area outside of their area of expertise) of an adult (18 and over) donating time to a project may be computed up to the amount identified as the Value of Volunteer Time for New York State. (For example, a lawyer donating legal services may compute the value based on the standard billing rate, but the value for the same lawyer donating time painting walls will be computed up to the amount identified as the Value of Volunteer Time for New York State).
    • Equipment Usage: Compute the value according to its fair market rental value in project location.
    • Real Property: The value of all property acquired, donated or converted from other purposes should be included in the project schedule. One year retroactivity applies to all three categories.
  • Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis ONLY. Receipts, invoices and other documentation must meet the requirements of the Canal Corporation.
  • Reimbursement will only be provided for projects or portions of a project initiated after the date of the grant award letter from the Canal Corporation.
  • Projects may be initiated prior to receipt of the award letter, and matching expense documentation will be accepted for expenses up to one year prior to the date of the award letter, but reimbursement will only be provided for portions of the project initiated after the date of the award letter.
  • Reimbursement payments will not be issued prior to final contract execution.
  • There is a reimbursement retainage requirement on all projects whereas twenty percent (20%) of the awarded funding will be retained for reimbursement pending the project being deemed complete.

Successful Applicant Requirements

  • The applicant is responsible for obtaining all required permits and approvals from federal, state, and local agencies, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYS State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and any others that may be required by the NYS Canal Corporation.
  • For projects proposed by a municipality, the municipality will be lead agency for purposes of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) or will be responsible for initiating lead agency designation procedures, if there are other involved agencies. For new projects initiated after receipt of the grant award letter, the Canal Corporation shall be an involved agency. The municipality shall meet the procedural and substantive requirements of SEQRA and all other state, federal or local law, rules, regulations, ordinances, codes and requirements.
  • For non-profit organizations, the Canal Corporation will determine whether it will proceed as lead agency, initiate the lead agency designation process, or refer lead agency to the local municipality. If the project is a Type I or Unlisted Action, the Environmental Assessment Form will be required prior to contract for award. If a Determination of Significance has been established, documentation will be required prior to contract for award.

Deadlines & Decisions

  • The Program is administered annually through New York State's Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) which generally accepts applications each year from May to July
  • Grant award announcements are made in November of each year

General Operating, Liability and Financial Considerations for Awardees

  • Canal Corporation assistance toward the costs of the project shall not exceed 50% of the approved project cost. The Canal Corporation shall not be responsible for any increases in the total project costs beyond the grant approval amount indicated in the award letter from the Canal Corporation.
  • Maintenance and operation of facilities receiving grants will be the responsibility of the applicant. All successful applicants will be required to enter into a formal contract and agree to other legal documents with the Canal Corporation to ensure the long-term protection of the property and also restrict changes in the use of the property. A preservation covenant or conservation easement must be conveyed for work involving historic resources.
  • The liability for projects constructed, owned and maintained by awardees on real property not under the jurisdiction of the Canal Corporation will remain with the grant awardees. Projects on Canal Corporation real property must be designed and constructed with Canal Corporation approval and in accordance with engineering and design standards of the Canal Corporation. Projects must provide for public safety and must not interfere with canal operations or navigation. Projects will be required to meet all applicable insurance requirements. Projects on Canal Corporation real property may require the purchase, lease or permitting of the real property from the Canal Corporation, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations and the Canal Corporation's "Canal Real Property Management Policy" and standard operating procedures.
  • Project plans must be reviewed and approved by the Canal Corporation before advertisement or contract letting. Every project must comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws, rules, regulations, requirements, ordinances and codes.

Recent Grant Success Stories

Canalway Grant Projects

LOCKPORT LOCKS HERITAGE DISTRICT CORPORATION $150,000

Seeking to honor an iconic 19th-century photograph of lock tenders on the steps of the old Erie Canal Flight of Five Locks in Lockport. Lockport Locks Corp. led the creation and installation of 14 life-size bronze sculptures of those same lock tenders.
Lifelike bronze sculptures of historical figures seated on stone steps in Lockport, depicting men and women in period attire, each with a distinct posture and expression, captured in rich detail.

STILLWATER PUBLIC LIBRARY $100,000

Added amenities aimed at celebrating the historic and existing relationship between Stillwater and Champlain Canal. Included were installation of interpretive history panels and a Canal System map; installation of seating with a view of the Hudson River, and displays about local and regional events, businesses, parks and museums.
An exterior image of the Stillwater Public library. Shows several people waiting in line.

Fairport IDA $52,000

Implemented the Thomas Creek Wetlands Boardwalk Restoration Project safety improvements on the western boardwalk located on the north side of the Erie Canal, adjacent to the Empire State Trail in Fairport. This project enhanced a popular community placemaking asset providing improved access to an important ecological and educational resource for the community.
A wooden walkway with newer-looking fresh wood railings on either side and metal mesh netting in-between the railings. The walkway goes over and through the wetlands of Thomas Creek.

Village of Brockport $50,000

Designed and installed a new ADA accessible kayak launch located adjacent to the Welcome Center along the Erie Canal in downtown Brockport.
A kayaker is being assisted into the yellow kayak at a kayak launch. There is extra hand railings to better assist the kayakers in boarding the kayak.

NYS Canal System Grants

The NYS Canal Corporation, in collaboration with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, provides another grant program for tourism infrastructure and events along the Canal waterways and trails.