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Council to vote on seeking state funds for docks study

The Common Council will vote today on seeking state funds to study the feasibility of a city-owned boat-docking facility on the Erie Canal.

Lockport Harbor, a project proposed in April 2006, would offer docking space for larger boats than those that can be accommodated at the Goehle-Widewaters Marina.

Widewaters is located north of downtown off Market Street, below the canal locks.

The new facility would be constructed above the locks at the former West Genesee Street Terminal.

In pitching the idea last year, David R. Kinyon, the chairman of the city's Flight of Five Committee and a member of the Canal Development Task Force, said it could be undertaken once the original canal locks, known as the Flight of Five, are restored to working order.

Kinyon said today's vote involves seeking $125,000 from the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, administered by the state Department of State.

"The Canal Task Force sees this as a great opportunity. Grant rounds don't come along that frequently," Kinyon said.

In addition to 500 feet of docking space above the locks, Kinyon envisions a 6,000-square-foot, two-story Harbor Center, containing a restaurant and showers, restrooms and laundry facilities for boaters.

The city would have to match the grant dollar-for-dollar, but "we can do a lot of that with in-kind [services]," Alderman Patrick W. Schrader said.

Kinyon's plan calls for building the harbor on the north side of the canal, to link up with the Erie Canalway Trail once the segment starting in Pendleton is completed.

Schrader and Alderman Joseph C. Kibler said they had thought it would use the south side.

"Other than what the Canal Corp. owns, the city owns the south side," Schrader said.

Kinyon said the feasibility study could endorse using the south side.

"Widewaters Marina would continue to function as it currently does," Kinyon said. But its floating docks there cannot accommodate boats more than 30 feet long. The new facility would be able to handle vessels as long as 45 feet.

The Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building, One Locks Plaza.


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