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Questions & Answers

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

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).

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.

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.