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Canal crawl

— “At the end of the year, we’ll award those; they’re scored, so you have awards for first, second, third,” said Stratton.

The Canal Corporation has access to a $1.5 million grant program made available as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regional economic development councils, so Stratton said he’ll talk to local officials about their needs.

“What they’d like tot see, whether it’s docks, marinas, housing developments, something that can help spur economic development along the canal,” said Stratton.

Stratton said increased opportunities for economic development is exactly why then-Gov. Mario Cuomo formed the NYS Canal Corporation back in 1992.

A portion of the canal between Lock 7 and 8, near Rotterdam Junction and Vischer Ferry, was largely affected by Tropical Storm Irene’s deluge of rain. Stratton said that while that area is part of the 50-mile stretch of canal waters currently closed, it’s on the road to recovery.

“We’re continuing to recover and rebuild,” said Stratton.

Cuomo announced that the closed canal area will reopen on Nov. 24 to allow wintertime berths access to southern destinations.

Lock 7 also has additional rebuilding to do that won’t be completed until sometime in the spring. There’s a dam at the lock that’s operated as a power structure by the New York Power Authority and on top of the dam are flashboards, which are structures that help build a navigational pool. Tropical Storm Irene forced so much debris over the top of the dam that those flashboards were knocked off, making the water level much lower than usual.

“That’s forced the navigational pool to drop between Lock 7 and 8. Normally that flashboard will keep the level of the canal and rive up but allowing more water to flow over the top is keeping it down,” said Stratton. “That’s forcing problems but we believe we’ll have the minimum navigational level to allow vessels to get from the western part to the eastern part [of the canal].”

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