Plans for Improvements to the Erie Canal in Lockport in The Works

September 29, 2011 Updated Sep 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

September 29, 2011 Updated Sep 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM EDT

Lockport, N.Y. (WKBW) - If you ever navigated on the Erie Canal, Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker said you may know what it has to offer.

"We're called Lockport, this is our heritage," Tucker said.

From the locks to the bridges, it's all part of this 186-year-old waterway. The New York State Canal Corporation made a visit for an inspection, Thursday.

"We're beginning our state wide inspection of the Erie Canal here in Lockport. It provides the opportunity to insure safety first and complete operations of the canal," Director of the New York State Canal Corporation Brian Stratton said.

Mayor Tucker said this meeting was also to talk about economic development of the locks, which includes installing docks, new bridges and other equipment to make the area more accessible to tourists. He said there's one project he says will be beneficial to the local economy.

"We have the original Flight of Five. When the locks were built there were to sets of locks. They took one out. The original Flights of Five we've been restoring for the last six years and it would be nice for people to see the original compared to the new," Tucker said.

The Mayor said it is the rich history in Lockport that will bring tens of thousands of people to the area.

"Tourism is a big part of the puzzle, with this canal and the tours that go through," Tucker said.

The Mayor has also applied for a special grant that could bring in thousands of dollars for improvements.

"Municipalities and not profits could apply for matching grants $50,000 to$100 thousand for capital projects like bridges, docks, maintenance facilities anything that promotes quality of life and economic development," Stratton said.

The Mayor said this money would help highlight the rich history of the locks and make 15 miles on the Erie Canal even better than it sounds in the song.