Tourism Infrastructure & Amenity Support

Tourism Infrastructure & Amenity Support

Program supports capital improvement projects and acquisition of equipment and amenities that enhance tourism, especially overnight stays, and recreational assets along the NYS Canal System (Canal waterways and Canalway Trail).

  • Construction or improvement of recreational assets including trails, parking areas, accessible boat launches, docks, storage facilities, rest stops, and amenities such as permanent outdoor public art, plazas, gardens, or amphitheaters.
  • Purchase and installation of equipment, machinery and materials designed to create or enhance visitor experiences such as grounds maintenance equipment, bike racks, potable water, restrooms, porta-johns, showers, benches, WIFI, and security upgrades.
  • Purchase and installation of wayfinding signage on non-Canal Corporation property only. Requests for wayfinding signage on NYS Canal Corporation property will not be considered.
  • Repair and restoration of existing waterway and trail features or amenities.
  • Preservation, rehabilitation, or enhancement of canal-specific historic, cultural or natural resources.
  • Enhancements or equipment to improve access to the NYS Canal System, visitor centers, or canal-related tourism sites.
  • Contracted services including garbage removal, porta-johns, bike and kayak rental services, and maintenance crews.

Applicant may request up to 10 percent of the grant award amount for project management (unless staff salary is used to meet match requirements). If requested, the 10 percent must be included in the project budget as part of the total grant request (not in addition to the grant request).

AWARD RANGE: $5,000 to $24,000

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Funding is open to counties, municipalities, units of local government, not-for-profit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes located within the National Heritage Corridor. Applications for infrastructure projects located on land owned by the New York State Canal Corporation are open only to federal/state/local governments, unless a not-for-profit applicant is currently named as a permittee on an existing Canal Corporation Use and Occupancy Permit.
  • Applicant must include a resolution or other clear and strong documentation demonstrating organizational, municipal or tribal leadership support for the project.
  • The New York State Canal Corporation is subject to the State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Act (Chapter 433 of the Laws of 2010) and must, to the extent possible, make funding decisions consistent with the provisions of that Act.
  • Ineligible applicants include private individuals, for-profit businesses, not-for-profit organizations applying for projects on NYSCC owned land without a Use and Occupancy Permit, political or religious based organizations, and certain special purpose units of government, such as schools or fire districts.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate project site ownership.


Applicants cannot request funds for:

  • Payments for previous activities and projects
  • Continuation of projects funded in prior grant rounds
  • Reduction of existing debt
  • Indirect costs
  • Purchase of real property
  • Political or religious activities
  • Additions to reserve funds or endowments of an organization
  • Wayfinding signage on NYS Canal Corporation property
  • General organizational marketing (including development of websites)
  • Projects or programs that will re-grant the funds received
  • Festivals or events (funded separately through the Event Support grants)

Matching Funds: The requested grant amount must be at least equally matched by the applicant, and clearly demonstrated in the project budget. Sources of Matching Funds may include:

  • Cash Match: Cash donations, including state, federal, foundation or local government grants, corporate contributions, or income from products or services. Staff time may only be used as cash match if the applicant is not requesting staff time (up to 10% of grant request) as part of the grant award. NYS Canal Corporation CFA grants cannot be used as match.
  • In-Kind Match: Donated goods and services to the proposed project including volunteer and staff time. If volunteer hours are used as a match, then the name of each volunteer, tasks performed, work hours and signature must be recorded on a separate document sent with the final report. The current estimated value of volunteer time may be found here: Value of Volunteer Time — Independent Sector.
  • Unacceptable match includes operating costs of the site/organization, routine repair and maintenance costs, and staff and volunteer costs/time unrelated to the project.

Ownership of Property Defined: Applicant must identify who the current owner and maintainer of the project site is.

Historic Preservation Compliance: Most projects will require a formal review by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to determine compliance with historic preservation laws and regulations. Successful applicants will be advised of obligations to meet this requirement upon award notice.

Permits: Work on NYS Canal Corporation land requires both a Use and Occupancy Permit AND a Work Permit specific to the requested activities. All permits, including other required federal, state, and municipal permits, must be secured prior to implementing grant funded activities, including those activities related to the match. All applicants should anticipate a minimum of 4 weeks for initial review of application by the NYSCC. Information on obtaining the NYS Canal Corporation permits will be provided as part of the contracting process.

  • If your project includes any disturbance below the mean high-water mark, an US Army Corps of Engineers and a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation permit(s) will be required.
  • Project work that advances without obtaining required permits may result in retraction of the grant award.

Insurance: Grantees, at their own expense, will provide and maintain insurance as follows:

  • Worker's compensation, and disability benefit insurance required under New York State Law
  • Commercial general liability insurance including protective and contractual liability with a single combined limit of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 aggregate for bodily injury, including death and property damage.
  • Grantees will furnish ECNHC with a certificate of insurance evidencing the coverage and providing thirty (30) days prior written notice in the event cancellation or material change in coverage.

Design Guidelines and Artwork Approval: Applicants are required to follow NYS Canal Corporation and Empire State Trail design guidelines for wayfinding signs and trail amenities. The Grantor reserves the right to review and comment on any infrastructure or signage produced through the grant. Projects such as interpretive signs and murals must receive written approval on final designs by the Grantor during the design stage prior to final design and production. Designs not meeting stated design standards will not be reimbursed.

Recognition: Grant funding must be recognized in press releases, websites, and other promotional materials. Guidelines supplied for use of logos must be followed. Recommended credit:
This project is funded in part through the generous support of the NYS Canal Corporation and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Interim and Final Reporting: Grantees must submit interim project updates every six months and a final report with expense and matching funds documentation using forms provided. Reports will include a summary of the project and results achieved, copies or examples of documents or other products produced to date, and photographs of the project.

Support requested for consultant services (planning, engineering, architectural, graphic design or other professional services) shall summarize the contractor selection process and the contractor's qualifications. If a consultant is to be selected after a grant commitment, the Grantees must submit the proposed consultant's qualifications to the Grant Manager for review and approval, prior to finalizing grant funding. The use of NYS-certified minority and women-owned business enterprises and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses is strongly encouraged. For additional guidance, please contact the Grant Manager.

Funds will be distributed on a reimbursement basis at project conclusion, contingent upon receipt and approval of the Grantee's final report. Only fully documented (e.g., copies of checks, bank statements, contracts, etc.) and approved expenses will be reimbursed. Matching funds must also be fully documented. Requests for advances will not be considered.

Recipients will negotiate a reasonable grant due date with the Grant Manager based on current project status, overall complexity, and the types of permits required. Requests for contract extensions will be considered only if received in writing; the NYS Canal Corporation and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor have sole discretion to approve any extension requests. Failure to begin project within six months of grant agreement may result in cancellation of award.