The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor presented the 2020 Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence to Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron, and Gateway Harbor of the Tonawandas in North Tonawanda and Tonawanda. The Port of Newark received honorable mention.
“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary places that have capitalized on their canal heritage to revitalize their waterfronts and communities,” said Bob Radliff, executive director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “Each project is unique in scope and concept, but they all make the Canalway Corridor a more vibrant place to live and visit. They serve as valuable models for what can be accomplished with thoughtful planning, sound investments and collaboration among diverse stakeholders.”
The Heritage Award recognizes excellence in advancing the goals of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan. A five-person independent jury selected award recipients based on a written application and virtual site interview with community leaders and stakeholders.
The village of Newark capitalized on its canal waterfront resources to create a vibrant port sustained by a strong community, recreation and arts, and private partnerships. The Port includes 1,200 feet of floating docks, T. Spencer Knight Park and a Welcome Center run by the Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce. The Canalway Trail runs through the park, bringing cyclists, runners and walkers to the village and waterfront.
The active port attracted new businesses as well, including Erie Shore Landing — a former industrial building that offers a gift shop, cafe, ice cream parlor and print shop run by the Arc Wayne. Newark’s downtown district is near the port; new streetscape and landscape improvements make it safer and for pedestrians to enjoy the park and access the village.
“It’s an honor for our community to have the Port of Newark recognized with an Erie Canalway Heritage Award honorable mention,” Mayor Jonathan Taylor said. “We are thankful for the vision that started many years ago with the Port of Newark. Today, we continue to build on that vision with both public and private investments, and will have more development centered around our beautiful port in the future. We are proud to say our port is a destination for boaters, bikers and hikers alike.”