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Recognizing Great Places

The Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence honors and celebrates the significant places of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and recognizes excellence in advancing the goals of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan.

What’s your place?

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission encourages investment in places throughout the Corridor, including parks, trails, historic buildings and canal structures, streetscapes, and entire communities. The Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence calls attention to those places where people have come together to contribute their time, talent, creativity, enthusiasm, and hard work to make their part of the Corridor a vibrant place to live, work, or play.

Recognition for excellence is selected based on the applicant’s effectiveness in helping to advance one or more of the goals set forth in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Preservation and Management Plan in the place being nominated.

  • The Corridor's natural resources will reflect the highest standards of environmental quality.
  • The Corridor's recreation opportunities will achieve maximum scope and diversity, in harmony with the protection of heritage resources.
  • The Corridor's current and future generations of residents and visitors will value and support preservation of its heritage.
  • The Corridor's economic growth and heritage development will be balanced and self-sustaining.
  • The Corridor will be a "must do" travel experience for regional, national, and international visitors.
  • Please note that while planning is essential to the success of any project, planning alone does not qualify for this award.

What is eligible?

The Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence celebrates place first and seeks to acknowledge the activities, projects, and people who have worked to make them great. We want you to tell us what makes the place you are nominating great. It may be the preservation of historic or cultural resources, a festival or event, a community art project, hospitality program, greening or conservation efforts, or something completely unique. The scale and scope of projects undertaken will be specific to each place.

Who should apply?

Municipalities, community groups, private entities, and non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit an application. Multiple parties involved in a collaborative or regional project or event are especially encouraged to apply. However, your project does not have to be large to be recognized. We invite communities and organizations working on smaller projects that are advancing the goals of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Preservation and Management Plan to submit an application.

Can I nominate my own site?

Yes. In fact, you may be the best person to make a compelling case for its merits and recognition.

Do projects need to be completed? What is the time span for eligibility?

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor wishes to recognize places that have been in existence and open to the public for at least one year. Project work to enhance or protect the place may continue to evolve, but project work for which you are seeking recognition must be complete. We are not accepting plans as submission for this award. Because we are looking to recognize and replicate successful models, how a project is completed is more important than when it was established.

What is the application process?

Written applications are reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of judges with expertise in areas such as planning, historic preservation, communications, tourism, and community renewal. Do not assume that the judges are already familiar with your site.

The jury selects three finalists to receive a site visit. Based on the written application and site visit, the jury elevates one of the three finalists for recognition of achieving the highest level of quality. This recipient is recognized as the winner of the Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence. The other two finalists are recognized with Honorable Mention.

What are the benefits of designation?

  • Recognition plaque
  • Statewide and regional media releases
  • Development of a written case study that describes the place and the actions taken to protect and showcase its significance
  • Listing on Erie Canalway website of Best Practices for the Corridor
  • Enhanced visibility and pride

The awards will be formally announced and presented at the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission meeting in June.