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Questions & Answers

Questions and general inquiries regarding the Competition can be submitted to by 5:00 p.m. EST December 5, 2017. Responses will be posted on a rolling basis on this page.

Questions related to the extent of the New York State Canal System and eligible sections for this competition

For research, what resources are available to better understand the context of the Canal System?
A map and definitions of the extent of the New York State Canal System, and other background information can be found under resources on the Background page on our website.

An interactive map of the Canal System’s infrastructure can be found here.

For photos, the Canal Corporation recommends viewing the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission’s online gallery. A virtual tour of the Canal System is also available here.

GIS files for the Canal System can be found here, and GIS files of Canal Corporation owned land can be found here.

If there is a specific site or section of the Canal you are interested in, we might be able to send you some photos.

Does the Competition include the original Erie Canal, which in many communities is already a park or recreation area, or is the Competition focusing on the Barge Canal route, or both?
The Competition seeks proposals for ideas that address components of the Canal System and adjacent communities, which includes the original Erie Canal. Since its construction, the Barge Canal and its connecting Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca, and Oswego Canals (which is now called the New York State Canal System) has carried the bulk of waterborne vessels. As a result, enhancements to the New York State Canal System are a key priority for the Competition. However, the full Canal System and/or any components are open for proposals from submitting teams.

What do the 524 miles of the New York State Canal System include?
The New York State Canal System mileage includes the Erie Canal (including Oneida Lake and Cross Lake), the Champlain Canal, the Oswego Canal, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, including the lengths of Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. The mileage also includes the channel down Onondaga Lake to the Syracuse Inner Harbor, and navigable connections to Utica and Rochester. You can have a look at the complete canal system map here.

What are the "boundaries" of the competition?
Sites and sections for the competition should be along or near the New York State Canal System, a map of which can be found under “Resources” on this page. The New York State Canal System is made up of the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Champlain Canal, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. The statutory definition of each of these four branches are available here, under Article 1, Section 2 (Definitions).

Are there any particular sites that will be the focus of the Competition or a vision presented for the entire canal network?
Ideas and proposals that focus on specific segments of the Canal System are encouraged. However, submissions may be site-specific or address the Canal System in its entirety.

Can ideas be entered for structures or sections that were once part of the Erie Canal, but not located on the current canal?
Yes. The competition does not preclude ideas for historic canal structures and components.

Is there any GIS data available which would provide the location of all parcels under the management of the Canal Corporation?
Yes, this information can be found here.

Questions related to the eligibility of participants

Is the competition open to students?
Yes, students are eligible to apply for this competition. You can read more about the eligibility criteria here.

I am a registered landscape architect employed as a Regional Landscape Architect with the New York State Department of Transportation. My Region is not in the Empire Canal Corridor. Many years ago I served on the NY State Canal Planning and Development Board as a representative of the non-profit group, Erie's Restoration Interests Everyone, Inc. I would like to know if I would still be able to serve on a team submitting ideas, or if I am not able to due to my employment with NYSDOT?
You may be able to participate in the Competition. It is however strongly advised that you confirm your eligibility with your employer as well as the NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Questions related to finalist team awards

Will an honorarium be given to each of the shortlisted teams to pursue the second stage design?
As per the Competition guidelines on the website, up to eight finalists will be selected at the end of Stage One, and they will receive an award up to $50,000 each to develop their ideas for submission in Stage Two. The exact value of this award will be decided by NYPA and the Canal Corporation based on the proposal submitted by the finalist.

In the interest of conceiving an idea that economically feasible, we were wondering what the construction budget is. On the website it says: “…winners to receive awards of between $250,000 and $1,500,000 towards project planning and implementation.” The amount between $250.000 and $1.500.000 does that cover both architect/engineer fees as well as construction?
The prize money is intended to be used for the next step in any proposal. This could, for example, include but is not limited to planning, feasibility, design, procurement, implementation for a physical project or the planning/organization for a programming initiative. NYPA will work with selected winners to determine the optimal use of award funds that will achieve the Competition goals. Hence, projects do not have to have to be limited to a budget between $250,000 and $1,500,000. Finalists will be encouraged to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposals, and that can include providing potential sources of financing and evidence of collaborating with local partners along the canal.

Please advise if you are a winner of any monies how is that taxed? or treated?
Please consult a tax professional.

Other questions

Is it possible for the municipalities to submit a joint application? Or do we need to have 1 legal entity as the applicant? In that case could a local non-profit serve as the applicant?
When submitting the application via the form on the website, you will have to identify one lead applicant organization, which can be one municipality or non-profit, and a primary contact person. Awards in Stage One and State Two will be given to the lead applicant. In the application document itself you can identify as many partners as you find appropriate.

Is there any information about the main highlights of site tours for those people who were not able to attend?
Yes, the descriptions and itineraries of the site tours, along with a presentation deck of key highlights is available on the Site Tours page of the website.

Will the list of participants who joined the site tours be available?
Yes, the names and contacts of all participants who attended the site tours can be accessed on the Site Tours page of the website.

Does canal freeze in the winter?
Many sections of the Canal do freeze in the winter, depending on the severity of the winter and other factors such as current and depth. Unlike the original Canal and the enlarged Canal, today’s canal System is comprised of both “dug” sections and also natural water bodies such as lakes and rivers which have been “canalized” – all of which have different properties and prevailing conditions. If there is a particular area of interest we can provide whatever specific historic and/or anecdotal data we have.

Which portions of the canal are/can be drained for winter cleaning and maintenance?
Primarily, land cut or rock cut sections of the Canal are drained in the winter, with most river and lake sections of the Canal remaining watered. In the Mohawk River, the movable dams are raised out of the water resulting in a condition which is not necessarily “drained” but rather where the river is returned to its natural state, which is much lower than during the navigation season.

Is the Canalway Trail open for use in the winter? Which portions of it? How accessible is it?
All portions of the Canalway Trail are open in the winter for use. Some sections of the Canalway Trail are also designated for snowmobile use, which is a popular activity in many areas.

What is the use of the canal and the trail during "winter months”?
Cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, skating, fishing, and bird watching are all popular activities along the Canal and Canalway Trail during the winter months. Other popular activities which have taken place include hockey tournaments on the frozen (and lowered) Canal in Fairport (the last one took place in 2013), and curling competitions on the Canal in Palmyra (last one in 2014).

Reading through the Terms and Conditions, the status of ownership rights of the idea is still unclear. Does the submitter retain all rights or does submission to the competition convey or relinquish those rights to NYPA?
The applicant grants NYPA and the Canal Corporation a non-exclusive, royalty free license to use partially or fully the idea presented in the submitted proposal. This means that the applicant can continue using the idea for other purposes, but also grants NYPA the right to use the idea for the purpose of this Competition.

Are we permitted to submit videos? Are there any limitations on media?
Yes, you may upload a video on a video-sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo, and then share the link to that video in your proposal. However, please keep in mind that submitting teams should submit the required documents as their primary submission and a video as an addendum. The quality and ideas for submissions should be communicated through the proposal documents and the video may support/enhance the submission.

Would it be appropriate to name potential partners for future work if contacts and connections haven't yet been made?
Yes, you may choose to identify potential partners who may be interested in working with your team at a later stage.

Will there be opportunities to include strategic partners for Phase II, or should they be identified in the Phase I submission?
You will be able to add strategic partners in Stage Two of the competition; they do not have to be identified or confirmed in Stage One.

Does the Canal Corporation (or other government entities) own historic vessels/boats that could be considered for potential reuse? If so, is there any information available on the types of boats, or photographs/other details etc? If not, do you have suggestions of how we might learn of such opportunities?
Yes, the Canal Corporation and other government entities do own vessels that could potentially be considered for potential reuse. This website features representative vessels.

Could information regarding maintenance/equipment/supporting infrastructures owned and operated by the Canal Corporation related to the canal and boats be made available (ie dry docks, maintenance facilities, boat building/repair?
The Canal Corporation’s maintenance facilities, non-floating equipment and other supporting infrastructure are not available for potential reuse in the near term.

Could properties under the control/ownership of the Canal Corporation be provided?
Yes, you can find the link to the GIS files here.

Are there efforts underway to address the history of Native Americans in the area as the canal evolves into the future?
The competition organizers welcome any ideas that would address this particular history and support the Competition goals. Some information on the impact the construction of the canals had on Native Americans can be found on the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor website here.

What is the timeframe of implementation for any group awarded the second stage prize?
Implementation of projects will depend on many factors, including the scale of the project and number of partners involved. A detailed timeline of the proposed project will be determined when the winning teams enter into a contract with NYPA.

It is our understanding that the second stage prize grant must be used for implementation for the winning proposals - can you clarify that for everyone?
The stage two prize grant will be used towards the implementation of the project. However, this could be used for planning, feasibility, design, procurement, programming, and other activities. The total amount of funds that will be allocated to the successful implementation of the projects may increase, depending on the proposed projects. NYPA is open to collaborating to pursue additional project funds.
NYPA will work with selected winners to determine the optimal use of award funds that will achieve the Competition goals. Hence, projects do not have to be limited to a budget between $250,000 and $1,500,000. Finalists will be encouraged to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposals, and that can include providing potential sources of financing and evidence of collaborating with local partners along the canal.

Are resumes, project qualifications and related materials included in the first stage 5 page application submittal, or can these be provided as appendixes?
The narrative (of approximately 5 pages) should include a description of the project and how it relates to the goals of the competition. In addition to this narrative, applicants are encouraged to include any supporting imagery/graphics, resumes and other related materials (as mentioned in the submission guidelines here). This additional material does not count towards the 5 page narrative.

Are letters of support allowed to be submitted along with the first stage of competition entry?
Yes, you may send letters as part of your Stage One submission

Has there ever been a survey taken in the boating community regarding canal development?
Historically the Canal Corporation did conduct surveys in the boating community, however these surveys have not been conducted in the past several years. The existing surveys are not currently available electronically.

May individuals serve as a member of more than one multi-disciplinary team?
Yes, individuals may serve as members of more than one team.

May team submit more than one proposal?
One team may submit more than one proposal (i.e. one application form should be filled for each proposal).

Do the narrative pages need to be continuous or can there be a graphics / photo(s) page between the narrative pages?
Applicants may choose to include graphics/images in the narrative or separately in an appendix. If the graphics are included in the narrative, the number of pages for the narrative may be increased accordingly.

If my town supervisor is involved in the proposal, do I need to include his resume?
We would recommend including resumes of as many people who are part of the submitting team.

Will there be a brief released for the Competition?
The brief, including competition goals, submission requirements, evaluation criteria, and timeline can be found on the website. No additional brief for Stage One will be released.

What is the evaluation criteria for the competition? How will qualifications and design be evaluated, etc.?
Information about the evaluation criteria for Stage One can be found here