Canton Has Plan For Riverside Renaissance

Canton Has Plan For Riverside Renaissance

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Piece by piece the old Bell's service station on Riverside Drive crumbles into history. And maybe a new story begins. The town and village have approved a plan to remake the riverfront.

“The overall vision is for the Grasse River to play a much more central role in the life of the Canton community,” said Louis Tremaine, Grasse River Heritage president.

First, the plan calls for demolition of derelict buildings. On Riverside Drive, pubs, restaurants and shops could replace them. Willow Island could become a full-fledged arts park.

“Not only more visual art, but performance space for theatrical and musical productions,” said Tremaine.

Of course much of that is still in the “what if” category. Another idea is a kayaking run on the river and maybe a walking trail to get people safely under Route 11.

This plan encompasses more than just the village of Canton. A kayak and canoe access site was recently developed in Pryrites. The plan calls for more sites like that along the river.

And they say turning the plan into reality would benefit more than just Canton. It could mesh with riverfront plans for Colton, Potsdam, Massena and other places.

“By turning our faces back towards the river and recognizing that they're wonderful assets for both residents and visitors is a key opportunity for economic development,” said Brooke Rouse, St. Lawrence County Chamber Commerce executive director.

The Grasse River Heritage board will also consider the plan for approval. Next steps include finding funding for government projects and private businesses that want in.

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