Senate Committee Passes Legislation to Extend Funding for Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that their legislation to reauthorize the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area for an additional 15 years, through 2036, and with an increase in the funding cap, was reported favorably out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee as part of the National Heritage Area Authority Extension Act of 2021. Their legislation will provide greater funding certainty to the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area to help ensure it can continue to draw investment and support local jobs, tourism, and economic development in northeast Ohio. The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area spans more than 110 miles between New Philadelphia and Cleveland.
“This legislation will provide greater funding certainty to continue the public-private partnerships that have protected and improved the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, which continues to attract jobs and investment,” said Portman. “The canal holds great significance to the state of Ohio, from helping our early towns and communities prosper to linking our state to the rest of the nation. I am proud to be one of the 2.5 million visitors who enjoy the canal’s towpath trail each year and, therefore, pleased we are on step closer to signing this legislation into law.”
“Ohioans take great pride in our state’s historic role in building the Erie Canal and connecting our state to the rest of the country,” said Brown. “From Tuscarawas County to Cuyahoga County, the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area draws millions of dollars to our state each year, supporting thousands of jobs. We owe it to all Ohioans and visitors to continue to support this treasure.”
“On behalf of all of our partners along the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Area, we are extremely grateful to Senator Portman and Senator Brown for their tremendous support for the Ohio & Erie Canalway. The Senate legislation extension to 2036 and funding cap increase will enable us to develop the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and Connector Trails, preserve historic buildings and conserve natural areas. Working together, we are leveraging over $409 in private, local and state investment and creating a legacy for future generations.” –Dan Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition
In March 2019, Portman and Brown’s legislation to increase the funding cap was included as part of a broader public lands package that was signed into law. The senators’ legislation helped ensure the Canalway can continue to receive its federal funding past FY2019 when the cap was hit, which helps it raise additional funds from the state of Ohio, private organizations and foundations.
The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area spans the first 110 miles of the canal and has annually drawn over 2.5 million visitors to the region.