PLATTSBURGH — The State Senate has approved legislation that would designate the Great Chazy River and other local rivers and lakes as inland waterways.
That would make the communities along the water bodies eligible for grants under the New York State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
The five waterways to gain distinction were: the Great Chazy River, Little Ausable River, Schroon River, Chateaugay Lake and the Battenkill River.
"There are a lot of good projects that can be done in these waterfront communities, but they could never be done without outside help, and it's great that the state wants to partner with local communities for programs like this," said Clinton County Legislator Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain).
The Great Chazy River runs through Champlain and Mooers.
The Waterfront Revitalization Program provides funding for communities to perform studies and implement programs that aim to increase tourism and business, explained County Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown.
Most waterfront communities in the state are automatically eligible for funding from the program, but smaller areas, like those along the Great Chazy, are not.
In order to be eligible to apply for funds, the Great Chazy needed to be designated as such, Brown said.
Melissa McManus, a regional waterfront revitalization coordinator, said the program can help fund all kinds of plans and projects.
"It's very useful for every waterfront community," she said.
Communities can apply for funds for streetscape improvements, re-development opportunities, park enhancements, docks, boat launches and several other projects, she said.
The legislation to include the local water bodies was introduced by State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) and Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) at the request of local officials.
Funding to develop and implement Local Waterfront Revitalization programs is available from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.