An initiative to target reinvestment in historic properties in canal communities

The Preservation League is proud to announce that it has received a $33,000 grant from the 1772 Foundation. This grant will allow the League, in partnership with Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, to identify and study vacant and underutilized historic buildings along a portion of the NYS Canal System and Empire State Trail that could be sensitively repurposed to provide services for recreational travelers along that corridor. The League’s survey area will focus on a 90-mile radius around its Albany headquarters, from Utica to Whitehall, all within the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Funding from the 1772 Foundation to help identify trail user needs and link these needs with historic building resources is very timely, ultimately ensuring that trail user experiences will be world-class and New York State’s trail network will help drive community economic development for decades to come.

This project will be broken down into two phases:

Phase One

  • Identify vacant or underutilized historic structures that can fill the gaps in services and amenities

  • Increase understanding of and further quantify existing services and gaps in service and amenities for recreational trail users, focusing on lodging needs

  • Initial contact with local officials and community members for reconnaissance assessment of buildings and lodging

Phase two will be informed by what is learned in phase one, determining how best to proceed to reuse the buildings identified.

The League is already moving forward with phase one, with plans to wrap up its initial report by the end of 2019.

About the Empire State Trail

In January 2017, Governor Cuomo announced the Empire State Trail, a new initiative placing New York State at the forefront of national efforts to enhance outdoor recreation, community vitality, and tourism development.

Approximately 400 miles of the Trail already exists in discrete, disconnected segments. When completed by the end of 2020, the Empire State Trail will be a continuous 750-mile route spanning the state from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany, creating the longest multi-use state trail in the nation.

Learn more at


Feel free to email us:
Erin Tobin
Vice President for Policy & Preservation