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Maritime program prepares for Canalside

Buffalo Maritime Center

There are two major construction projects in the works for Canalside. One harkens back to the birth of the Erie Canal and the other to the boat-building industry which turned Western New York's forests into the boats on the canal.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has started the more than $4 million construction of the Longshed at the Central Wharf. When finished next summer, the Buffalo Maritime Center will move in and students will build a canal packet boat.

"A lot of these kids don't even know that they are interested in it," Executive Director Brian Trzeciak said of the Center's boat-building program."So, they get the opportunity. We like to think we provide that opportunity, saying you might love this."

This year, Trzeciak says around 100 kids will go through the program in the current home in Black Rock.

"We're looking for them to develop a certain amount of self-sufficiency and a craftsman-like attitude about the work they're doing here," said Trzeciak. "What we know is that if they can build a boat, they can build anything."

Once the students finish building the Seneca Chief, it will be floating at Canalside and used in celebrating the Erie Canal.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.