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    Friends of the Canal launch 2032 Plan for canal improvement

    The Friends of the Delaware Canal (FODC) has launched the 2032 Plan, a massive capital project designed to improve the Delaware Canal and surrounding area. The 2032 Plan requires substantial community engagement and will allow for input from all stakeholders. This purposeful and strategic approach will ensure that all voices are heard and considered as this significant plan is developed and implemented. To advance the project, FODC has hired Studio Bryan Hanes, the renowned landscape architect and urban designer with a strong track record for creating socially and ecologically sustainable spaces.

    “The 2032 Plan for the Delaware Canal is an important step for the Friends of the Delaware Canal and is our first major planning effort since the 1987 Master Plan for the Delaware Canal,” said Brett Webber, President of the Board of the Friends of the Delaware Canal. “Now, in honor of this 40th Anniversary Year for the Friends, we established a plan to work with [PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources] and the Delaware Canal State Park to identify strategic project opportunities that can be constructed or implemented over the course of the next ten years, culminating in the 200th Anniversary of the Delaware Canal. These projects will build on the Friend’s success in getting physical projects done including signage and amenities and restoration of historic lock structures and authentic camelback bridges like Sommer’s Bridge, restored this year.”

    Thus far, FODC has completed a mapping project of the entire canal and developed cutaways and perspectives of all of the locks. The 2032 Plan will build on these projects with a dual focus. Firstly, what type of visitor amenities need to be provided across the canal, which may include things like bike racks, benches, charging stations, and interactive historical exhibits, all of which will uphold professional and high-level design standards. Secondly, the FODC is prioritizing community engagement to drive three project sites for larger-scale improvements, which might involve rest rooms, reintroducing a canal boat concession, developing water taxis, or some other transformational visionary project. The FODC has conducted a web survey to assess interest levels in various projects and had over 1000 responses. These are being compiled and analyzed and will be added to the results from the three community engagement open houses that were held on September 25th in Washington Crossing, PA, September 28th in Riegelsville, and on October 3rd in Bristol.

    Now that the Public Open Houses have been completed, all of the results will be compiled and six potential projects will be presented, of which three will be developed over the next 10 years. More information about the plan can be found at https://sites.google.com/studiobryanhanes.com/2032plan/home?authuser=0.

    The Delaware Canal runs almost 60-miles from Easton, PA to Bristol, PA and still features the original locks and aqueducts. In the mid-1800s, the canal was an important waterway through which mules pulled boats transporting coal, as well as small quantities of goods such as lumber, building stone, lime, and produce. In 1978, it was designated a National Historic Landmark. Today, the trail offers scenic, opportunities for walking, hiking, biking, jogging, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing.

    The Friends of the Delaware Canal welcomes new members and offers many opportunities for them to engage with the organization and support the mission. To learn more about The Friends of the Delaware Canal, visit https://www.fodc.org/join-donate/join-the-friends/.

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