OLEAN – Opportunities for economic development, job growth and waterfront revitalization are increasing with the addition of the Allegheny River and the Cattaraugus Creek to New York State’s list of Designated Inland Waterways.
State Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – Olean) sponsored legislation that was signed last week by Governor Cuomo designating both bodies of water as official inland waterways. With the additions to the list, communities on these bodies of water are now eligible to apply for grants through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and other similar programs.
“Many municipalities were established near rivers and other waterways for the beauty and practicality of the location. Communities continue to look for job growth, economic development and tourism opportunities through waterfront revitalization, and it is especially important to provide them with the necessary tools in these challenging economic times,” said Senator Young.
Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I – Gowanda), the sponsor of the bill in the State Assembly, described the importance of this law for economic development and tourism in the region. "The designation will make areas along the water eligible to compete for funding to improve the Southern Tier region. I am proud to have passed the legislation on behalf of our local communities in Cattaraugus County and all of the Southern Tier," said Assemblyman Giglio.
The need to add the Allegheny River and Cattaraugus Creek to the list of state inland waterways was identified by Jeffrey Davis, Recreation Area Manager for the Onoville Marina, in a letter to Senator Young. He noted that despite being a navigable body of water according to the federal government, the Allegheny River, as well as the Cattaraugus Creek, was not on the state’s list of inland waterways. “It opens avenues for communities on these bodies of water to apply for these programs,” said Davis, speaking about the new law.
Heather McKeever, Mayor of the Village of Gowanda, described how it is important for rural communities to pursue future redevelopment along their waterways, thereby encouraging tourism and increasing economic benefits to the municipalities. “We are grateful to Senator Young for her continuing support and effort to provide the Village of Gowanda and surrounding areas with the ability to pursue various grant-funding opportunities not previously available without this legislation,” said Mayor McKeever.