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NY Canal Corp Extends Hours

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-693842.mp3

Albany, NY – The New York Canal Corporation has backed off a plan to reduce operating hours this summer... Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Last month, the Canal Corporation announced it would cut its hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from May 23 through Sept. 3, and save about $1 million by cutting staff at locks and other facilities. Now the agency says it will go back to operating between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., as it has in recent years. Director of Canals Carmella Mantello says public outcry was instrumental in restoring the canal systems hours of operation: it was the boating community's reaction to shortening canal hours that forced state officials to re-evaluate their plans.

Mantello says the public's main concern was that the change would have had a devastating economic impact on communities along the state Canal System. The return of tolls for recreational canal users was announced the same day the Canal Corp. stated it was going to shorten hours for the whole canal season. Public outcry about this was minimal compared to the change in hours, so the tolls will remain in place... Mantello says, under the current scale back, 22 of the 190 positions in the seasonal work program won't be filled. $200,000 in savings will also be realized by eliminating the Green Thumb grounds-keeping program along with 41 seasonal jobs, with maintenance crews and other canal employees performing work typically done through the program.