Tonawanda News

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August 1, 2012

Taking a head count at the Erie Canal

Tonawanda News — Staff Reports

An economic impact study conducted along the Erie Canal is under way. 

Parks & Trails New York, a non-profit advocacy group, has partnered with a State University of New York at Geneseo professor to count the number of users along various sections of the canal. 

Paul Scipione, who teaches business and is the director of a research center at the college, will team up with 30 students for the remainder of this month and through August and survey 600 to 800 current trail users to gather data on demographics, trail usage and spending patterns, as well as overall trail exper


The students will post along the Canalway Trail corridor and administer the survey to persons selected randomly at multiple p

oints. In addition, students will be noting the number and nature of trail users as part of an expansion of the annual Erie Canalway Trail count.

Students will also survey local business owners and government, economic development and tourism officials. The information obtained from the surveys will be used to ascertain current and potential economic impacts of

the trail on New York’s economy, in terms of dollars as well as jobs generated and sustained. Study results will be published in early 2013.

“We are certain the Erie Canalway Trail has

a positive effect on the economy of hundreds of local communities, but we don’t presently have statistically valid data to back that up,” said PTNY Executive Director Robin Dropkin.

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