ROME, NY – The Erie Canal Village briefly opened its doors to the public this weekend. Unfortunately due to the conditions of the buildings, visitors were not allowed to go inside them.
Richard Rios, the owner of the historical site says he wanted to have people come and see that he and his crew are doing their best to keep the grounds up. He’s also hoping that it will build more public interest in the site.
The Erie Canal Village has been closed for a number of years and Rios wants to restore it so families and school children can once again experience, in person, a major part of not only Rome’s history but New York State’s as well. Unfortunately, current Rome zoning laws are preventing him from doing so.
Rios says that may soon change, however.
“There was a change in zoning, which changed it to an all-natural resource area which meant we couldn’t really build anything. What the council is doing now, is (trying) making it a historical zone to allow us to be open again". He added that. "from my meetings with the city, they’ve been great. They’ve been easy to work with, and they’re trying very hard to allow us to be open again.”
Rios says he was notified by Google that last month thousands of people searched for information on the Erie Canal Village, and hundreds more even asked for directions on how to get there.
The site has been closed for many years now. Imagine, he says, what it will be like when it reopens.
You can find out what's happening with the Erie Canal Village by checking out the Erie Canal Village Facebook page.