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Secretary Buttigieg and Deputy Secretary Trottenberg Celebrate Groundbreaking of New Seaway Visitor Center in Massena, N.Y.

Thursday, September 29, 2022
Breaking ground on a new visitor center at U.S. Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. on September 29, 2022. (L-R): Ben Dixon, Executive Director, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; Ross Levi, Vice President/Executive Director of Tourism, Empire State Development; Time Reddick, Vice President of Operations and Project Manager, Con Tech Building Systems; U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook, Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg; Town Supervisor Susan Bellor, Village of Massena, N.Y.; Grand Chief Abram Benedict, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne; and Terence Bowles, President and CEO, Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

MASSENA, N.Y. – Today, top U.S. Department of Transportation officials were on hand as the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) broke ground on a new visitor center at the U.S. Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. The center will welcome visitors to the Seaway and provide a world class tourist attraction for the region.

“Since its creation over half a century ago, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway has become a model of international cooperation, an economic gateway to America, and an indispensable part of our national economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “From grain to steel, the Seaway delivers American goods to the world, and brings resources to our shores. This new visitor center will to build understanding of the Seaway’s vital role in our economy and our history.”

“The resounding success of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway is thanks to strong binational cooperation, and we are grateful for the hard work of the hundreds of U.S. and Canadian personnel who help keep this important economic engine running,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg. “We are pleased that the new center will welcome tens of thousands of people from around the world who come to watch ships transit the lock each year and will serve as a cornerstone for tourism in the North Country region of New York.”

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System provides maritime commerce with reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly cargo movement that supports high-quality jobs in the U.S. and Canada and helps us address our joint climate goals. More than 237,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity in the U.S. and Canada are annually supported by movement of various cargoes on the Seaway System – more than 35 million metric tons of cargo each year. Hundreds of ships from all over the world make multiple trips through the St. Lawrence Seaway annually, moving grain, iron ore, coal, steel, stone, and large cargoes such as windmill components.

“Watching ships coming through the Lock is not only important to the economy of the area, but it holds cherished memories for many who have grown up or spent their summers here,” said Craig H. Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “This new Visitor Center will strive to educate the public on the history and the economic importance of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway shipping and ensure that the joy of ship watching can be experienced by generations to come. It gives me great pride to know that the importance of the Seaway to the U.S. and Canada, as well as to the local community, is being recognized and will be shared with everyone who comes.”

The new 7,500 square-foot Seaway Visitor Center at the Eisenhower Lock will include memorabilia and informational displays. It will also feature an observation deck where visitors can watch commercial vessels as they transit the lock that raises and lowers ships more than 40 feet. Guides will be available to provide more information to visitors. Funding for the new visitor center comes from annual appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and is part of the Seaway Infrastructure Program.

Rendering of the new Seaway Visitor Center at Eisenhower Lock in Massena, New York​​​