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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dignitaries arrive for the dedication ceremony to the restored Locks 69 and 
70 in this file photo. The City of Lockport was awarded $700,000 today to
begin Phase 2 of the restoration project. (ENP FILE PHOTO BY SCOTT
ALBANY — The City of Lockport was awarded $700,000 to do more work on the Flight of Five restoration project, it was announced this afternoon.

The from the state's Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative calls the Restoration of the Flight of Five, the historic Erie Canal locks built in the mid-1800s in Lockport, the centerpiece of a comprehensive economic development and downtown revitalization strategy. It further states that the completion of the Restoration of the Flight of Five is expected to annually draw 230,000 visitors and generate $17 million in spending.

The $700,000 will allow the city to pursue "Phase Two" of the Flight of Five restoration project.

Chuck Bell, the city's economic development director, said city officials are still coming up with a strategy on how to best use the funds. The $700,000 awarded is a little more than 20 percent of the cost of the original design for Phase 2.

Bell said he's hoping to be able to use the state REDC funds as leverage to get other funding to do a larger portion of what was to be a $3.2 million project.

"What this does do is keep the momentum going," Bell said this afternoon by phone.

The Greater Lockport Development Corporation, the city's development arm, was also awarded $250,000 in NYMS funds to assist in the renovation of mixed use buildings within the Central Business District. The estimated total project cost is $600,000 with $315,000 coming from property owners.

Bell said that money can be used for any business improvements in the city's business corridor. "It can be anything from structural improvements to storefronts, facades," and other things.

Another East Niagara project is an award of $30,000 for the Newfane Wastewater Plant Engineering
Study, which will allow the town to complete an engineering report to consider consolidating the Town and Village of Wilson wastewater treatment plants.

NOTE: Story edited at 5:34 p.m. to add comments from Chuck Bell.

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