Greenway Legislation Passes Senate

John J. Bonacic

July 15, 2005

Legislation sponsored by State Senator John Bonacic (R/I/C - Mt. Hope), authorizing the creation of an Upper Delaware River Greenway was unanimously approved by the State Senate.

The measure amends the Environmental Conservation Law to create, upon local approval, the Upper Delaware River Greenway consisting of New York communities that border the Delaware River.

"Governor Pataki has made Greenway creation and expansion a high priority. He has worked to expand Greenway benefits along the Hudson River, has developed the Niagara River Greenway, and is now focusing Greenway efforts along the Erie Canal. The Upper Delaware is one of America's great waterways and deserves more State resources and attention. This is an effort to accomplish that goal," Bonacic said.

The legislation is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. The bill was not brought up for a vote in the Assembly, however, Bonacic said he expected the Legislature to reconvene before the year's end and said, "I hope the Assembly takes this matter up then."

"With all the discussion in Albany relating to casinos in Sullivan County, people need to be reminded that Sullivan has much more to offer than a potential casino. In a year, we will have what is arguably the premier arts venue in America - based on design and historic location, and have other attractions that already make Sullivan County magnificent," Bonacic said.

The enactment of the Greenway legislation would provide State funding and technical assistance opportunities to aid eligible localities along the Delaware River in their recreational, planning, and beautification efforts. To date, eight Delaware River communities have enacted resolutions in support of this bill. "We lack the means along the New York side of the River to

focus a joint government effort on environmental conservation. This legislation, providing a corporate capacity to link municipal efforts, would also provide a preference for these towns in seeking other State funding - a preference other river communities, in other parts of the State now receive, and we do not," the Senator said.

The Delaware River Greenway legislation is modeled after the Hudson River Greenway that has been in existence for over a decade. The Hudson River Greenway has over 200 member communities all of which have benefited from its Greenway designation. The designation has allowed for State funding to be earmarked to these member communities.

Senator Bonacic concluded, "the Delaware River is as important as the Hudson and the Niagara. The people of this region should not be denied the State funding which other river communities are receiving. I will continue to do all I can to promote the Upper Delaware and support the municipalities along this great river," Bonacic said.