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Project Seneca celebrates 10-year anniversary

More than 30 Project Seneca supporters, State and local officials, and regional investors, gathered on Monday, May 23, 2022, to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Initiative’s beginning.

Project Seneca was created when a small group of local business leaders were inspired to create a transformational, sustainable waterfront redevelopment effort. The effort has been supported by key businesses within the region, including Corning Enterprises, Community Bank, Chemung Canal Trust Corporation, Cargill, and Welliver Builders as well as by private individuals. Project Seneca has influenced the investment of $129.7 million in private and public projects along the Seneca Lake Waterfront and within the Villages of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. The return on investment for the private sector support of Project Seneca is 320 dollars for each dollar invested by the supporters.

Many of the completed projects were on the drawing board since 2010. Some of the more notable projects include the Catherine Valley Water Reclamation Facility, Clute Park Event Center and ice rink/spray park, Captain Bill’s Terminal replacement, Seneca Lake Kayak Launch, Catherine Valley Trail bridge extension over the Seneca Cayuga Canal, and the Northern Gateway Street Improvements.

Project Seneca received over $13 million in funding from DOS—$10  million from the Downtown Revitalization (DRI) and $3 million from the DOS Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).  To learn more about Watkins Glen’s revitalization efforts, see the DOS LWRP case study.

Carl Blowers, Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature said: “Congratulations for 10 years of stellar achievements. With a 320 to 1 ROI, the impact of the investment has been outstanding.”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said: “On this 10th anniversary of Project Seneca, it is important to recognize and thank the Founding Group of Local business and community leaders. The public-private, local and regional partnerships created by this venture have successfully and positively improved and transformed the landscape of the Watkins Glen waterfront. Improving the local infrastructure has created increased opportunities for tourism and economic development in the heart of the Finger Lakes.”

Robert J. Rodriguez, New York State’s Secretary of State, said: “Project Seneca is a shining star of waterfront revitalization in New York State and a clear testament to the value of strong local leadership, an engaged business community and an effective partnership with the State. It’s appropriate that this 10-year anniversary is being celebrated at Clute Park, a visionary project that has been funded by the Department of State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. DOS stands ready to build on the momentum created by Project Seneca.”

Chris Sharkey, President, Corning Enterprises, said: “Project Seneca is the very definition of a successful transformative public-private partnership.”

Judy McKinney Cherry, Southern Tier REDC Co-Chair added: “Project Seneca is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when the private sector, State and local government leaders, and community all pull in the same direction.”

Nigar Hale, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said: “Project Seneca initiatives have transformed our community, with improvements that have elevated the standard of living in our region and reaffirmed our commitment to preserving and expanding our natural resources.”

Village of Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk remarked: “Project Seneca has truly been transformative. There is no end in sight with the improvements that have been made and are expected in the future.”