For the seventh year in a row, State Senator John Bonacic, today announced significant new State aid for projects along the Delaware River Corridor in Sullivan County. The $475,000 in aid includes $250,000 to help build the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Visitor Center.
The funding announced by Bonacic also includes $50,000 for to the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. for promotion and improvements along the Byway. This is the fourth grant Senator Bonacic has secured for the Scenic Byway. In addition, the Towns of Lumberland, Highland, Tusten, Cochecton, and Fremont will each receive $25,000 in supplemental aid. The Town of Delaware Youth Center will receive $50,000 to help it rebuild after this year's devastating June flooding.
The River Corridor towns make up a small portion of Bonacic's four county Senate District. Nonetheless, the Senator has made supporting projects along the Delaware River a priority. Bonacic authored the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway law with the late Assemblyman Jake Gunther.
"Taxpayers have a right to expect that they will get their fair share out of Albany. For too long, the vast majority of funding in the State Budget for things like parks and tourism was being directed North to the Adirondacks. This area was getting shortchanged. We are finally getting our fair share," Senator Bonacic said.
Cochecton Town Supervisor Sal Indelicato said, "The Visitor Center is a key component of the Byway plan. Once again, this is Senator Bonacic bringing dollars back from Albany to a part of our County that was neglected before he became our Senator."
The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway was created designated in 2002 after the work of numerous local volunteers and officials, ultimately winning the support of the State's Scenic
Byways Advisory Council, and then the New York State Legislature. The Scenic Byway Visitor Center project also is slated to receive $600,000 in Federal funding as part of a bill signed into law last year by President Bush. The funding was inserted into the Federal budget after a multiple year effort by Congressman Maurice Hinchey.
Larry H. Richardson, chairperson of the non-profit byway board, said, "The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway continues to work hard to promote and enhance those features that make the roadway unique, both through advertising and physical improvements. To that end, Senator Bonacic has been a very strong and steady supporter. Without the senator's help, much of what we've accomplished and what the organization has planned for the future would not be achievable."
The Visitor Center is slated to be built on a five-acre parcel owned by the Cochecton Preservation Society, a local organization which formed in 1992 to save and restore what is believed to be the oldest existing railroad station in New York State, the 1850s-era Erie Depot. Planners are seeking to construct an architecturally-innovative and environmentally-friendly building which will complement the site’s historic integrity. Space for Upper Delaware Scenic Byway visitor information, exhibits, a classroom/theater, public restrooms, and offices is envisioned.
The funds announced by Senator Bonacic today are part of the 2006-2007 State Budget.
"The Delaware River is a special place. If you doubt it, come stand along a bridge and watch for an eagle. The Delaware is tops in our region for natural beauty. Telling the world about its heritage and making it more tourism friendly with resources like the Visitor Center are important to me. I know this will help boost tourism, and thus jobs in the River Valley," concluded Senator Bonacic.