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College project wins funding in NYS Regional Economic Development Councils competition

It was announced yesterday (Dec 13) in Albany that the College has been awarded funding ($57,000) to construct a new multi-use trail along the south side of the Erie Canal from Commissary Park to the west edge of the Tower Fine Arts Center.

Creating a more attractive, pedestrian friendly connection between the College, the Village of Brockport, and the Town of Sweden, this trail will be accessible to people with mobility impairments and the overall project offers new avenues for student/ faculty to engage more deeply with the surrounding community.

This project complements the Erie Canal Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory established by Professors Greg Garvey and Joe Torre earlier this year through funding from the Investment Fund for the Future. Taking advantage of The College at Brockport’s location on the banks of the canal, and adopting the laboratory model of faculty/student research as a starting point, the canal lab provides a platform for research projects focused on the canal. Lab research projects engage as many aspects of our College and of communities along the canal as our participants choose to pursue.

The canal has always been a part of the life of the College. References to the Erie Canal can be found in early Stylus articles:

9/23/1931: “To stand on the canal bridge and watch the rippling waves in the stream below is a pleasant pastime…”

11/15/1945: Rosa Sands finds inspiration… “The other day I took a brief walk, and found myself strolling along the Erie Canal. It was a nice windy afternoon, and as I sat on the stone wall along its banks, I seemed to be hearing a voice. Was it the waves striking against the wall or…?”

3/14/1952, editorial: “How can a dreary lesson on the ‘History of Education in the Elementary Schools’ be expected to compete with the alluring wiles of the local pub by the canal?”

Addressing our canal frontage has long been in the recesses of our planning for the physical development of the College. In 1990 a campus group charged by then Vice President of Administration and Finance Kumar “to solicit ideas to ways in which the Campus can capitalize on its location along the banks of the scenic Barge Canal… to draw the canal closer, to accentuate its presence, or include it in activities of the college”. Among their recommendations were the development of walkways along the canal to tie Commissary Park to Tower Fine Arts. Twenty-seven years later, in early 2017, the Vice President of Administration and Finance, Beau Willis, convened a focus group of campus faculty and staff to revisit the findings of the 1990 study. It was their work that led to the development of the grant proposal

Construction of the canal path by our Facilities and Planning team should commence this summer.

contact: Laurie Smith, lausmith@brockport.edu
submitted: Wed, Dec 13, 2017 by lausmith
documents:
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