Amherst, NY – The Amherst Museum has received a federal grant to help enhance tourism by linking to the Erie Canal.
The historic Erie Canal that once brought hundreds of thousands to the Western New York region is just 600 feet away from the Amherst Museum on Tonawanda Creek Road. Amherst leaders say it has always been a "dream" to bring the past and present together by linking the Canal and museum.
Friday, US Congressman Thomas Reynolds delivered an $80,000 grant to the museum to be used toward construction of a 70-foot boat dock. Museum Executive Director Lynn Beman says the project would include a pathway leading from the dock to Tonawanada Creek Road and the museum.
"So we do have to build a path to bring them up there, but it really will enhance the tourism capabilities of the museum and will lead to collaborative efforts with all the other tour boats that are in Erie and Niagara Counties along the canal waterway," Beman said.
More funding will be needed. The project is expected to cost about $250,000. Beman says it's too soon to say what the economic impact will be for the area, but says the dock would be unique to the region.
"The only other facility in New York State that has a canal related boat dock and a historic village, such as we have here, is in Rome (NY)." Beman noted. "So it is really kind of exciting. So we are the only other ones. It is really kind of exciting. We are bringing together the canal that brought the people to our community."
Beman says she is hopeful the project could be designed in the next year and completed by the summer of 2003.