Community Excitement About Finger Lakes Tourism Projects
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A ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday marked the official opening of the Cayuga-Seneca Trail in Waterloo, Seneca County. A grant of more than $176,000 from the New York State Department of State went toward the completion of the first three mile stretch.
"The idea behind our investment, because this is what it is, it's an investment in tourism, is that this is going to be a key part of the economic development of this part of our state," said Cesar Perales, NYS Secretary of State.
The trail was eight years in the making. It runs along an abandoned railroad bed next to the Erie Canal beginning at Lock Four in Waterloo.
"Even though we just officially dedicated it today, for months people have been in here walking even before the stone dust was down," said Mitch Rowe, Seneca County Manager. "I was down here last night actually putting the mulch out and stuff getting it ready for today and at least a dozen people were already in here walking with their dogs, riding their bikes and it's just very exciting."
Once complete, the Cayuga-Seneca Trail will connect with the waterfront in the City of Geneva. Work on revitalizing this part of the waterfront is expected to begin sometime this fall.
The current Geneva Visitors Center along the west shore of Seneca Lake will be demolished to make way for the Finger Lakes Boating Museum. The museum, which will also house the Visitors Center, is part of Geneva's waterfront development project that's been in the planning stages since 2008.
"It's been a big debate, do you go commercial, do you keep it more as a community asset? This doesn't put anything to the side but what it does is start to invest in laying the groundwork for however we'd like to move forward," said Matt Horn, Geneva City Manager. "This tourism amenity with the Boating Museum and Visitors Center is step one; we got a long way to go."
The Boating Museum is expected to be complete by the spring of 2014. It will showcase antique boats built in the Finger Lakes Region. The Geneva waterfront project and Cayuga-Seneca Trail received state funding through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.