By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — CROWN POINT — Lakes to Locks Passage just received an $85,000 grant to plan for the proposed Lake Champlain Bridge Heritage Area Park.
The park, the idea of former Essex County Planner William Johnston of Westport, would link Crown Point State Historic Site and Crown Point Reservation Campground with Chimney Point State Historic Site on the other side of the bridge in Vermont.
The grant will also enable preparation of construction documents for landscaping and traffic-calming measures to create scenic character for the nationally-designated byway, State Route 185, that leads up to the Champlain Bridge.
The new Champlain Bridge has pedestrian and bicycle paths, and walking and bicycling across the bridge have become an attraction in itself.
“We now have an opportunity to rethink how the bridge, highway and surrounding state historic and recreational areas could function as a unified park with facilities that work together through coordinated operation and physical connections,” said Byway Director Janet Kennedy in a news release.
She said the grant, from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, will help further the Byway’s mission of aiding rural economic development.
“We want to provide a linear museum that will enhance people’s experience of the nature, history, archaeology and other intrinsic qualities of the Byway. These grants allow us to provide and maintain the unique recreational and educational experiences for visitors and residents alike that will help to sustain local communities’ economies and quality of life.”
Lakes to Locks Passage is a New York State Byway designated by the Federal Highway Administration as an All-American Road in 2002. The Byway covers six counties in New York state: Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington, Warren, Essex, and Clinton.
At the core of the Byway are the interconnected waterways that link New York to Quebec: the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers through the Champlain Canal, Lake George, Lake Champlain, the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal to the St. Lawrence River.
The Byway is headquartered at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center in Crown Point.
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