Meghan Finnerty | March 03, 2021
New York’s Reimagine Canals Initiative to Build in Brockport
Improvements are coming to SUNY Brockport’s campus and the historic Erie Canal.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in January that a new pedestrian bridge will be built looping over the Erie Canal, connecting the Empire State Trail to Brockport’s campus. The Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge will be the first large-scale infrastructure built under New York’s Reimagine the Canals Initiative. Launched in 2019, the initiative examines opportunities for bettering the canal’s tourism, economic development, and surrounding ecosystems.
According to a statement, “the Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge represents a new future for the Erie Canal by adaptively reusing historic infrastructure for community benefit today.”
The bridge will be located next to the existing canal guard gate, located directly north of Holley Street behind Commissary Park. Additionally, the campus will have a new multi-purpose recreation trail stretching from the pedestrian bridge to the Smith Street Bridge, east of campus. The project’s construction is expected to begin in 2023.
Brockport’s leaders are excited about the benefits.
“As a college engaged with our community, we know that connecting the campus to the Empire State Trail will benefit both the campus and the Village,” said SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson. “I thank Governor Cuomo, NYPA, and the Canal Corporation for their vision.”
Village Mayor Margay Blackman echoed Macpherson. “The state-of-the-art pedestrian bridge not only underscores the strong partnership between SUNY Brockport and the Village, but literally links the college directly to the village via the Erie Canal,” said Blackman.
The project will be funded in part by the New York Power Authority, which has committed to $300 million across the whole initiative, and a $2 million dollar grant by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
Stakeholders from across the state are hopeful that this project will bring new activity, and encourage residents, students, faculty, and staff to get outside and be active.