The village of Fairport is celebrating the completion of the first phase of its Bicentennial Canal Gateway Project.
"We are the jewel of the canal," said Mayor Julie Domaratz. "Well, we're putting some new sparkles on the jewel."
The southwest Erie Canal bank has new lighting and landscaping, a non-motorized boat dock and interpretive heritage trail lined with granite markers indicating significant dates in the history of the village and the canal.
"Our history in the village is so tied to the development of the Erie Canal and the progress we made as New York state," Domaratz said, "so it's a celebration of the history of this area."
The new trail connects to existing pathways in Kennelly Park and village neighborhoods.
The second phase of the project will begin on the northwest bank of the canal in November. It's expected to be completed by the fall of 2021.
Erie Canal will close to boat traffic early this year
The New York State Canal Corp. announced this week that it is ending the already shortened canal navigation season on Oct. 14.
The corporation said this will allow for more time to start work on a backlog of maintenance projects that were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they are completed in time for the opening of the 2021 season in May.
That will affect tour boat operators in Fairport, Pittsford, and other points along the canal, who were counting on more business through the fall foliage season.
Tammee Poinan Grimes, captain of the Colonial Belle, is asking the Canal Corp. to allow the five passenger vessels on the canal to honor the private charters and group tours that are booked through Sunday, Oct. 18.