Answers to Submitted Questions

Answers to Submitted Questions

Updated weekly. Check for new responses on Fridays.

Q: We are considering installing new Marine Dock Safety Ladders for the seawall, replacing the life rings to enhance the safety around the port and replacing a portion of our floating wooden docks with aluminum floating docks. Can you please let us know if the previously mentioned items would be eligible for consideration with the Tourism Infrastructure and Amenity Support Grant application?
A: Yes, these types of activities would be eligible.

Q: The program guide states "proposed events may include reasonable fees.” Is there a preference for events that are free?
A: The selection committee does take fees into consideration in their review. They look for events that are open to the public and accessible for people of all income levels. That being said, events that include fees that are affordable to the general public and align with program goals are considered competitive.

Q: Does training for staff on how to make an event more inclusive to people with disabilities qualify for event funding?
A: The cost for accessibility training does qualify if it directly relates to an event. The event host must show documentation in the form of an invoice or a receipt from the organization conducting the training in the final financial report. The cost of employees' time while participating in the training does not qualify as an appropriate use of funds.

Q: Can my organization submit applications for two or more events?
A: Yes. Please keep in mind that the program is highly competitive. Review the program guide to be sure your events align with the program goals.

Q: My event is being hosted with a partner organization. Which one of us should be the lead applicant?
A: The program guide states that counties, municipalities, units of local government, not-for-profit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes are eligible for funding. The lead applicant must fall into one of these organization types and be located within the boundaries of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. If both event hosts are considered eligible, the organization that you'd like to receive the award check should lead the application.

Q: Does this have to be a matching grant?
A: Yes. Grants are required to demonstrate a $1 to $1 match. For example, a grant request of $3,000 must show a corresponding match of $3,000 in either cash or in-kind for a total project cost of $6,000. Please note that other NYS Canal Corporation or Erie Canalway support is not eligible match for this grant program.

Q: Our group does not own the proposed activity site. The municipality owns the property and we have an MOU with the City to manage the space. Are we eligible to submit the proposal?
A: No, only site owners may submit an application. The site owner may submit an application on your behalf. The municipality would be responsible for all aspects of the work and grant including submitting the application, contracting, insurance, reporting, and fiscal administration.

Q: Would we be able to apply for both the event grant and the infrastructure grant, or are we limited to one or the other? 
A: You may submit to both programs.

Q Would it be possible to utilize this funding in collaboration with a current NYS Canals award from CFA cycle 2023, in the efforts to enhance that project with the addition of a unique amenities space, assuming the match is coming from a source outside of Canal Corps?
A: Yes, because none of the 2023 NYSCC CFA support is being used as match, the project would remain eligible.

Q: We are working with an engineering firm on the project. What elements of this project would be eligible? Initial design work? Transport costs? Foundation work?
A: All of these elements are eligible.

Q: May state historic sites apply directly for these grants or should the request go through our friend's group?
A: State Historic Sites are eligible. From a strictly grant administrative standpoint we encourage the application to be from the friend's group.

Q: I have an event happening on April 8. Will we know about funding in time to get all the Recognition printed? When will you announce who is funded?
A: We will be publicly announcing the awarded grants sometime in April. An event taking place on April 8 is too early to know if you will have received grant funding and provide the proper sponsorship recognition.

Q: Can grants be used for engineering expenses?
A: Yes

Q: Are places located along the Old Erie Canal alignment that have canal remnants, historical alignment paved as roadways, and recreational reuse of the towpath as a paved multi-use trail considered as Erie Canal National Heritage Area municipalities eligible to apply for grant funding?
A: Yes, the grant service area is the entirety of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Boundary's. All historic alignments of the Erie Canal are included within this region. The map can be found here:

Q: Is there a list of the types of projects that have been funded by this grant? How is affordability determined?
A: A list of awarded grants from 2023 can be found here. Affordability is determined by how much a participant receives relative to the cost, and how accessible the event people of all income levels.

Q: Regarding the match, if we have funding already secured can that be used or is it matching money that must be raised as part of this project?
A: Yes.

Q: If a location is applying for an events grant and an infrastructure grant using different entities making the request will one jeopardize the other?
A: No.

Q: As a confirmation if our organization plans to do multiple events in 2024 we will only receive the max $5000 grant limit. We can not apply for the max amount for each event.
A: One organization may apply for more than one event. Two separate applications should be submitted. The applicant can request up to the max funding amount ($3,000) for each application. It is at the discretion of the review committee which events are funded and at what amount.

Q: Can an organization apply for more than one event?
A: Yes.

Q: We are planning to apply to beautify/program the tender we were given. We would like to include an interpretive sign or two about the different types of canal boats and uses. Would that be eligible? We would request Canal Corp & ECNHC review of content and design.
A: Yes, these are eligible. Please note that Erie Canalway's approval is required prior to printing.

Q: Does the management document in the municipal attachments section refer to their most recent audited financials, or are you looking for something else?
A: The management discussion is a report of monthly fiscal meetings for municipalities with complex procedures. The management discussion should indicate the current fiscal health of the group.

Q: Would a permanent interactive exhibit that promotes the Canal's history at a museum and visitor center qualify under the Tourism and Infrastructure grant?
A: Exhibits within buildings are not eligible.

Q: My event takes place in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor but isn't directly on the canal. Is my event eligible?
A: Yes, all events located in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor are eligible. Please check the program guide to be sure your event meets the program goals and falls into one or more of the event categories.

Q: We will be creating a film or video at our event. Are the expenses for the video/film eligible uses of funds?
A: No. Your uses of funds must be directly related to your event and the celebration or commemoration happening that day.

Q: Are things like tent, chair, podium, sound system rental, music, and advertising expenses related to my event eligible uses of funds?
A: Yes.

Q: Would an indoor concert on the canal (featuring Erie Canal songs) be an eligible event?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you opine to support or reject assertions that segments of canal remnants with no water in them that are bordered by the paved towpath or heelpath multiuse trail (EST) could qualify as canal resources?
A: Yes, these are considered canal resources. In addition, please be aware that all aspects of the historic Erie Canal alignments are considered as National Register Eligible and projects incorporating state or federal resources would need to have their projects reviewed by NYS Historic Preservation Office.

Q: Is there a downloadable version of the Event grant application so we can organize our responses offline?
A: Yes. Once you click into the grant application to apply, and login/create an account, you will see an option to download the application questions. You can also start your application, save it, and come back to it later.

Q: I am proposing to local Village government to build a short, dedicated bicycle bike path bypass to divert riders for about a quarter mile in lieu of crossing a challenging street to get back on the canalway trail. The proposed bike bypass would need to be built by the Village on private property via a specific use easement the property owner would need to grant the Village allowing for the construction of the dedicated bike bypass.
A: While the type of work would be eligible, the easement with the private property owner would need to be fully executed and included with the support materials in the application. In addition, the project design and engineering would need to be at a sufficiently complete stage to allow reviewers to understand the proposed work, required permits, and demonstrate that the project will be completed in a timely manner.

Q: Is the grant opportunity a once a year thing that ends each year in February?
A: Currently the program is offered once a year. This year's deadline is February 23.

Q: Is the $24,000 the whole pot grants are awarded from or is that the max awarded per grant for multiple grants?
A: We award Tourism Infrastructure & Amenities grants in amounts between $5,000 and $24,000 and our Events grants between $500 and $3,000. The combined total available to award for both programs is $190,000.

Q: Do you OK more than one grant a year?
A: There is only one grant cycle per calendar year and we offer two types of grants within the cycle (1) Events, and (2) Tourism Infrastructure & Amenities. You may submit more than one application to each program. However, each program is extremely competitive and multiple awards in either program are highly unusual. We encourage applicants to submit what they feel is their strongest priority project to each program category.

Q: We have a section of the trail in a local community that if we added about a 100-yard paved section to (a spur, if you will), it could get you to an adjacent downtown and up to the local museum (tourist destination). Is this an eligible project.
A: Yes

Q: We have a pavilion structure with a rear wall, partial side walls and an open front.  We intend to improve the building to make it suitable for an open Erie canal artifact display. (Concrete floor, ceiling, lighting & signage).  We are contemplating completing the side walls and installing large doors on the front that would be closed for security during hours when the park is closed.  Would this still be considered an outdoor display as it will be "open air", unheated and not manned?  Or by putting up walls and a door would it be considered now an “indoor” location?
A: Yes, it would be considered an indoor location. The spirit of the program is to support outdoor public art, plazas, gardens, or amphitheaters. Enhancements, including structural, are defined as improving access to the NYS Canal System, visitor centers, or canal-related tourism sites.

Q: Can two organizations submit applications for the same event?
A: Yes, however, the program is extremely competitive and multiple awards for a singular event are highly unusual.

Q: We have ideas for use of the section of the Old Erie Canal that runs directly into our downtown area. If we wanted to use the "old towpaths" which are now trails parallel to the Canal, we would have to get a permit through NYSCC correct?
A: All activities, including events, taking place on property owned by NYS Canal Corporation require a permit. Permitting with NYS Canal Corporation takes a minimum of four weeks.

Q: Can we use in-kind volunteer time as the sole source of matching funds or does their need to be a monetary contribution?
A: In-kind volunteer time can be used as the sole source of matching funds.

Q: We conduct a campaign to promote responsible boating (during events as well as daily/weekend use). In the past we have placed a series of lawn signs along the canal with information and the lock tenders have passed out goodie bags (that we assemble/provide) that include canal map and tourism magazine from our Chamber of Commerce, materials from Sober Skipper (key chains and promotes life vest use, etc.), literature from Operation Dry Water as well as some fun water toys, lip balm and coffee… even a “Designated Driver Aboard” window cling. Is this something that would qualify for a grant?
A: No

Q: We are considering organizing a 2,5,or 10 K race walk fun run for Parkinson's research along the Erie Canal Towpath. We could also organize a concert as part of a festival that afternoon commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal. Do you see our planned project as possibly eligible for your grant?
A: Yes

Q: I'm with a nonprofit museum. For tourism Infrastructure & Amenities applications, do I need to also include the documents listed in the Municipal section?
A: No. You should only upload documents to the section for your type of organization. If you are a non-profit, please do not upload documents in the municipal section (and if a municipality, don't upload anything in the non-profit section).

Q: We are seeking funds toward the restoration of the nearly 300 year old roof. The building does not directly connect to the canal, but does have a connection to Albany's industrial history during the years of the canal's operation and is within the heritage corridor.
A: To be eligible, your project would need to make direct connections to the Canal system or with the NYS Canalway Trail and improve use and/or raise public awareness for the recreational and historic value of the canals and their trails.

Q: Can you please share more detail on what information is required for the management discussion letter?
A: Because municipalities have large financial documents and that level of detail is not needed for our grant reviewers, we ask for a management discussion letter. Typically, this is similar to meeting minutes, are produced monthly, and would provide a high-level summary of the current financial position of the applicant.

Q: We are hoping to create a month-long scavenger hunt around certain local historic sites and businesses, and I wanted to check about the eligibility of the expenses we plan to request from the Events grant. The general expenses would be registration goodies and prizes, logo and map design fees, marketing costs directly related to the event, and a bike rack. To entice participants, we want to fund registration goodies like tote bags and stickers, and also prizes for finishers that would include gift cards to local businesses around Oneida. We want to hire a contract graphic designer to help design a logo that can go one these goodies and for marketing, as well as a fun map with all the clues for the hunt. Finally, we'd like to request funding for a bike rack in front of our building to encourage cyclists coming off the trail participating in the hunt. Is this eligible?
A: What you are describing is a program, not an event or infrastructure project and is therefore ineligible.

Q: Our bike group is considering a partnership with a local bike shop to implement a bike rental service for tourists on the Empire State Trail. I have an initial eligibility question: The way we envision the service is that bikes would be stored and maintained at the shop, which is about 7 miles from the nearest trailhead. Our group would operate the service and handle reservations, delivery and pick-up of bikes. The delivery/pick-up would happen either at a trailhead or at a traveler's overnight accommodations. Based on this structure, does it appear to you as if this operation would be eligible?
A: The overall premise of the project is eligible. Your application should clearly describe specifically how the requested funds would be used to implement the partnership/program.

Q: Are stipends for outside talent eligible uses of funds?
A: Yes.

Q: Are we able to use staff time as match for the Event Support Grant?
A: No.

Q: Can you clarify what is allowable in-kind match in terms of staff time and volunteers?
A: Volunteer time is allowable as match. Staff time is not.

Q: We don't yet have a date set and I see that the application form requires us to input a specific date. Would it be acceptable to pick a placeholder date (we're aiming for late July or August), provide explanation elsewhere in the application, and ensure that we have a date secured by early April?
A: Yes.

Q: Is specific supplemental paddling equipment needed to make our kayak fleet available for our event an eligible use of funds?
A: Yes, we would consider this eligible. However, you will need to make a strong case for care, maintenance, and sustainability for the event and the equipment.

Q: We are 501c4 and do not have a website. Can we still apply?
A: 501c4 organizations are eligible for funding as long as the event does not include lobbying and is a not-for-profit. Select 502c3 from the dropdown in the application. Organizations without a website are eligible to apply. Please include a link to your Facebook page or other online platform. A strong ability to promote and market an event to the public (like via a website) will make an event more competitive than those who do not.

Q: Is there a way to include attachments to the Grant Template in addition to the W9?
A: No. We will not review any attachments other than a W9.