New Launch Site at Rome Harbor

Canoe & Kayak Launch Developed in Brownfield Opportunity Area

ROME, NY (10/14/2011)(readMedia)-- The site where the Mohawk River meets the Erie Canal at Bellamy Harbor Park was dedicated today as the new Bellamy Harbor Canoe & Kayak Launch, Rome Mayor James F. Brown announced.

Mayor Brown was joined at the event by Brian U. Stratton, director of the New York State Canal Corporation.

The project represents one of a dozen efforts to reclaim and re-use "brownfield" sites in East Rome in view of the historic Erie Canal.

Mayor Brown said, "This one small project will ignite the most comprehensive waterfront redevelopment effort ever undertaken in Rome. The Bellamy Harbor project will be flanked on one side by the Rod Mill and on the other by a proposed multi-million dollar mixed residential-commercial development for South Rome.

"We have positioned Rome for monumental growth and change. Our neighborhood-level brownfield planning efforts are paying big dividends -- millions upon millions of dollars of public and private investment. And it all starts on the Canal."

Canal Director Stratton said, "This wonderful new recreational opportunity at the Rome Harbor is a perfect example of Governor Cuomo's vision for the revitalization of our storied canal system, and the potential to take full advantage of this extraordinary asset. Through projects like this, communities can forge a better economic future for upstate New York. The Canal Corporation is proud to partner with the City of Rome on this and other projects that will bring new life and vigor to the historic Erie Canal."

"I am pleased to see that such significant progress is being made on waterfront projects in the City of Rome," said Secretary of State Cesar Perales. "The City has done an excellent job applying resources from the Department of State's Brownfield Opportunity Areas and Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs to transform brownfield properties from liabilities to assets for recreational boating and private sector investment. The beautification improvements provide momentum for continued revitalization of the East Rome neighborhood."

The new ramp is specifically designed so that canoes and kayaks can be easily launched by adults, children, and persons with mobility handicaps. The project includes:

* A floating dock for fisherman, small watercraft, and local events

* Enhanced facilities for mobility-impaired kayakers to launch

* A new stone beachhead along the Mohawk River

* Solar-LED lighting and new signage

"Brownfield sites" typically are abandoned or underused industrial or commercial properties that can be transformed into productive use. Often brownfields present special challenges to overcome environmental issues.

The $150,000 Bellamy Harbor project was developed with the assistance of a $40,000 grant from the New York State Department of State for design work and $135,000 from the Canal Corporation for construction. City crews contributed site work and the construction of walkways, greenspace and a beach area.

The project was designed by architect Tim Rees – a native of Rome, NY, who has been instrumental in designing dozens of businesses, homes, and recreational facilities in the City. S.J. Thomas Construction of Syracuse completed the docking work with support from Northern Lights Marine.

Mayor Brown said, "This project embodies the renewed spirit of collaboration between state agencies and municipalities to focus resources on projects that benefit the entire Mohawk River Valley, and a testament to the vision and purpose of the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program."

Immediately adjacent to Bellamy Harbor is the former Rod Mill Site -- a classic brownfield site that has been vacant and blighted for more than four decades. A keystone of the Downtown Rome Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Implementation Strategy, the City of Rome is preparing to break ground soon on an even larger brownfield redevelopment endeavor -- the Rod Mill Reuse Strategy.

With the assistance of highly competitive funding through a the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation grant for $660,000, the remaining industrial infrastructure on the 7-acre site soon will be demolished and transformed into a multiple-use "green" parking lot to support main street businesses, Bellamy Harbor Park, and canal tourism. The new site will feature permeable surfaces and bio-retention areas to manage the storm runoff in this important area of downtown.

The Rod Mill plan provides ample space for cars, trucks, and boat trailers to support the waterfront projects planned for the spring. The Rod Mill redevelopment is a 14-acre site formerly occupied by General Cable. The work began in 2007 with the construction of the new American Alloy Steel plant. That $7 million facility has a "green infrastructure" that allow for the management of 100 percent of the sties own stormwater on-site with innovative bio-retention areas, greenspace, and landscaping.

For the Rod Mill project, the Canal Corporation will provide a second Canalway Corridor Grant of $225,000 to allow the City to complete the design for additional docking, a sea-wall and a 32-foot wide boat ramp in the heart of downtown. The new features will accommodate larger boats and encourage more visitors to downtown Rome.