Last step in Flight of Five rehab is a big one

Dec. 9—An update to a beloved project in Lockport, the Flight of Five, had some huge news for its work when the New York State Canal Corporation awarded $150,000 to complete "The Lock Tenders Tribute" on the steps of the project earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the City of Lockport Common Council voted to give the Lockport Locks Heritage District Corp. an additional $147,703.08 in excess grant funding earmarked for work on the Flight of Five.

However, the deadline for Phase III of the project, estimated to be a $17 million project, is coming close.

Dave Kinyon, chairman of the LHDC, said that all work for the Flight of Five has a deadline for the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal in 2025. As an added bonus, the World Canals Conference will be in Buffalo in 2025, giving attendees the proximity to visit what was considered to be a man-made wonder, so close to the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.

"That's what we're shooting for," Kinyon said.

Kinyon said that Phase III, encompassing Lock 67 and Lock 71, is both difficult and expensive.

"There are structures, bridges that need to be accommodated," he said.

Two bridges resting on top of the locks must be removed to work with what's under them, then renovated and replaced, he said.

Notably, Phase I and Phase II cost approximately $2 million each.

The relationship between the city and the LHDC is a long one. Back in 2002, the non-profit began as the City of Lockport Flight of Five Committee. Then in 2014 it became a 502©3 subsidiary of the Greater Lockport Development Corporation. Its mission is, "to provide the premier Erie Canal experience for visitors."

Kinyon said the money from the residual funds could be useful in future fundings of the project to make the deadline.

"We can use that money as part of a match — a local share — for another grant. We'll be putting that money to good use," he said.