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For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2012

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and County Officials announce
unveiling of key projects in the Finger Lakes Region

Secretary Cesar A. Perales was joined by Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, officials from Seneca, Cayuga and Tompkins Counties, and state and local officials to announce the unveiling of two key projects funded by the Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

The Department of State awarded the City of Ithaca a grant for the completion of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, a six mile trail along Ithaca’s southern Cayuga Lake waterfront. A separate grant was also awarded to the counties of Seneca, Cayuga and Tompkins to implement a plan for the Cayuga Lake Blueway trail, which will identify water access sites in all three counties around the lake.

“I am very pleased to celebrate the tremendous work our state and these local communities are doing to make the Finger Lakes even more attractive for residents and tourists,” Secretary Perales said. “Our work here exemplifies the collaboration that Governor Cuomo is generating statewide through the Regional Economic Development Councils. While creating beautiful recreational areas, these projects will also attract business and tourism to the communities surrounding Cayuga Lake.”

"This visit from the Secretary of State is a terrific opportunity for us to express our gratitude to New York State for their support of our waterfront”, stated Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. “It is also an opportunity for us to plan together for the final phase of the waterfront trail and the future of waterfront improvements here on Cayuga Lake."

The key stretch of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail that we celebrate today serves as a major recreational resource, and supports economic development by establishing Ithaca’s waterfront as a multi-use activity center. This trail segment, which was financed by a $88,340 Environmental Protection Fund - Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant, and includes rehabilitation of a pedestrian bridge and installation of vegetated swales to better manage storm water runoff, is the final piece of the 2-mile Phase 3 trail section and creates a critical linkage between the Ithaca Farmers’ Market at the western end and Stewart Park and the Visitors Bureau at the eastern end. When entirely complete, the Cayuga Waterfront Trail will encompass six waterside miles in Ithaca, improving connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods and the City’s downtown.

On a regional scale, the Department of State is also undertaking water-related projects to strengthen the tourist economy. Seneca County is partnering with Cayuga and Tompkins counties to prepare the Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail Plan, which will accommodate kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized watercraft by identifying needed shoreline access points and other facilities. Preparation of this plan is being financed with a $45,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund.

“We welcome Secretary of State Perales to Tompkins County where we have a very successful history of partnership with the Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Cayuga Lake is our greatest natural asset and our efforts with Seneca and Cayuga counties to develop a Blueway Trail around the lake is the most current example of that collaboration. Our next best opportunity is Tompkins County’s application for funding to complete the Black Diamond Trail from the Cayuga Waterfront Trail to Taughannock Falls State Park. This will be an outstanding recreational resource for hikers and bikers in the Finger Lakes region and will ultimately connect all four State parks in Tompkins County.”

“Seneca County is excited about working with Tompkins and Cayuga Counties in developing the Blueway Trail Plan for Cayuga Lake,” stated Robert W. Hayssen, Chairman of Seneca County Board of Supervisors. “We feel that it will be a great step in developing the recreation and tourism opportunities of this region by drawing attention to and expanding on the boating opportunities around Cayuga Lake.”

Since 1997, the City of Ithaca has received six Environmental Protection Fund – Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grants which relate to trail planning and water quality projects. Both the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council plans have identified the need for enhancing regional tourism as an economic priority. Through the Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the Department of State has long been involved with many Finger Lakes communities to advance projects that enhance tourism.