Justin Masi stands on the stairs of the Southside entrance of the Route 5/Canal Place tunnel.

by Dave Warner

Justin Masi has a big task in mind for his Eagle Scout Project – he wants to rehab the Route 5/Canal Place Tunnel in three phases. The first phase is to clean and repair the east and west walls, then paint all the walls and ceiling of the tunnel.

The second phase of the project is to create new murals or repair the existing ones that Dr. Stivala created and then protect them from the elements and vandalism with plexiglass.  The third phase of the project would be to repair and update all of the lights in the tunnel and use motion detectors to turn them on.

He also wants to install four camera security systems with self-contained recording devices to protect all the work that will have been completed.

Masi said “I’ve been discussing this with my parents and we’ve known that Dr. Stivala and Jeff Gressler have been working down here trying to preserve everything, but they can’t keep up with it all. So, we thought it would be nice for them and the community to have this done all at one time.”

“We’d want to be able to go through and do it all at once, and then they can keep up with it after,” he said.

Masi said that they want to put arrows and other directional signage in the tunnel pointing to Canal Place and the Main Street district. “It’s a pretty big project, but we are up for it.”

Eight or nine other volunteers from Troop 31 in Little Falls will also assist with the project, as well as a couple of the scout leaders.

Weather permitting, the painting and wall repair part of the project will start around the beginning of October. The lighting and security cameras would be after the winter weather breaks getting close to spring. Masi said, “The project should take 6-8 months tops.”

They have not finished estimates on the cost of the project, but Masi says they will do fundraising and be looking for donations to complete the project.

He will be presenting the written final version of his Eagle Scout Project to the Boyscout Council in September. It has to include all costs, materials and have all other issues spelled out, as well as fundraising applications before it can be turned in. “It all has to be all approved before October 1st,” Masi said.

The project has received support from the Board of Public Works and the regional Boyscout council, who have also approved moving forward.

If you would like to support the project, you may call Michael Masi at 315-534-3597 or email mmasi1@twcny.rr.com

Photo by Dave Warner – Justin Masi stands just outside the south side entrance to the Route 5/Canal Place tunnel.