Competition finalist announced

Seven finalists have been chosen for the $2.5 million Reimagine the Canals Competition, which seeks innovative ideas to transform the state’s canal system as it begins its second century of operations, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced.

The finalists are as follows:

∫ Go the Distance: this initiative will look to develop overnight accommodations for recreational users of the canal system. The team includes the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor from Waterford; Gray Slate Partners from Troy; 2K Design from Clifton Park and Dorgan Architecture & Planning from Storrs, Conn.

∫ Canal Winterlocks: seeks to develop winter-time uses for the Erie Canal, potentially including skating, hockey, winter festivals and cross-country skiing. The team includes Clare Lyster Urbanism and Architecture and John Ronan Architects, both from Chicago and Urban Engineers from Philadelphia.

∫ Great Erie Canal Race: a multi-day race for many types of watercraft, with a component for bikers and hikers. The team, led by Parks and Trails New York, includes Joe Gustainis from Caledonia and Karthik Namasivayam from Pittsford, as advisors.

∫ Intra-Works: installations of art and sculpture to forge a cultural identity that links up the Canal System. The team includes the architecture and planning firms Collective Studio from New York City and WRT and Interface, both from Philadelphia.

∫ Pocket Neighborhoods: a model for canal-side neighborhoods that have the Erie Canal as the core of their identity. The team includes the Madison County Planning Department and Stream Collaborative, an architecture firm in Ithaca.

∫ Western New York Irrigation: this plan will build off the canal’s water infrastructure to expand its irrigation capabilities. The team includes SUNY ESF Professor Stephen Shaw, C&S Companies of Syracuse and the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

∫ Upstate Archipelago: this team is developing designs for resilient water landscapes that also provide public recreation space and wildlife habitat. The team includes Cornell Design, Ithaca; Cornell Cooperative Extension and H+N+S, a landscape architecture firm based in the Netherlands.

The competition, managed by the Canal Corporation and the New York Power Authority, seeks new approaches for how to both use the canals as an engine for economic development and also to become a hub for tourism and recreation.

“This competition to bring new life into the historic Canal System is occurring in the same year as the System’s centennial, and it’s clear from the creativity in these entries that the future for the next century is very bright,” Cuomo said. “With the contributions from these finalists, our canals will continue to serve a transformative role in helping the upstate economy thrive.”

The seven finalists were drawn from a field of 145 entries from nine countries and nine states and were announced in Syracuse during a celebration at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Each of the teams will receive up to $50,000 to further develop their entries for the next stage.

Final submissions will be due in early July. The winners, who will receive between $250,000 and $1.5 million to plan and implement their projects, are slated to be announced in the early fall.

The programs and initiatives are intended to promote the canal system and its trails as a tourist destination and recreational asset for New York residents and visitors; sustainable economic development along the canal system; the canal system’s heritage; and the long-term financial sustainability of the Canal Corporation. Additionally, the competition sought entries on two separate tracks, one for infrastructure; the other for programs that have the potential to increase recreation use and tourism.

For more information about the competition, go to