Meeting at SUNY Oswego to Focus on Waterfront Redevelopment as Catalyst for Boosts to Local Economy 

For Immediate Release: 09/21/18

OSWEGO — How communities along the New York State Canal System are focusing on waterfront redevelopment to reinvigorate their downtowns and spark their local economy will be the subject of a Thursday, Sept. 27 forum at SUNY Oswego.

The forum, sponsored by the New York State Canal Corporation, New York State Department of State and State University of New York, will focus on the experiences of four canal communities—Oswego, Geneva, Watkins Glen and Rome. All have received $10 million from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo' Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which seeks to transform downtown neighborhoods into places where people want to live and work.

Among the speakers at the event will be John Maggiore, Director of Policy for Governor Cuomo and Kisha Santiago-Martinez, Deputy Secretary of State for Planning, Development & Community Infrastructure, whose portfolio includes the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

"This forum is an important reminder that, as we celebrate the centennial this year of the New York State Canal System, the canals are still indelibly linked to the communities they pass through," said Brian U. Stratton, New York State Canal Corporation director. "Travelers on the canal are eager to visit towns and villages that have made a vibrant downtown, easily accessible from the Canal, a top priority."

The first of two panel discussions, to be moderated by SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, will focus on waterfront redevelopment and feature perspectives from leaders in the four DRI communities.

"We are proud to engage with partners across the state in celebrating the economic strength and vitality of our waterfront communities," said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. "The bicentennial forum will give participants, especially our student population, a glimpse into Governor Cuomo's investment in downtown revitalization through the DRI and further detail the unique and exciting initiatives that canal communities are implementing to create vibrant places to live, work and visit."

"The last three years have been transformative to the City of Oswego thanks in large part to the support and investment from New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo," said Oswego Mayor William J. Barlow Jr. "The bicentennial forum at SUNY Oswego will provide an opportunity to share the story of Oswego's recent renaissance and explain how being both a canal community and a recipient of Governor Cuomo's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative has propelled Oswego forward, position our community to thrive in the future."

The second discussion will examine other revitalization projects in the communities, including new housing, incubator space for entrepreneurs and how they attracted new businesses to set up shop. Among the panelists are Paul Stanley, president of the Oswego Renaissance Association and Kiva VanDerGeest, director of community and economic development in Rome.

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has revolutionized downtowns and given new life to waterways – particularly the historic Erie Canal. The Erie Canal is not just a piece of infrastructure; it's a foundational element of what makes New York different from other states. The Canal gave birth to many upstate communities, and it is now serving as a catalyst for community revitalization and the rebirth of upstate. These forums will examine how to better harness the significance of this important resource."

This is the fourth in a series of discussions linked to the Erie Canal bicentennial. Previous forums have focused on the canals' links to economic development, the state's burgeoning craft beer industry and how canals bolster local arts and culture.

The forum begins Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. at the Marano Campus Center, Auditorium Room 132 at SUNY Oswego. Registration is free at and the event is open to the public.

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York's canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2018, New York is celebrating the bicentennial of the start of the Erie Canal's construction.

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Steven Gosset
Media Relations
(914) 390-8192