Troy resident named state director of canals

Carmella Mantello plans to use greenway strategy to develop system

Section: Capital Region,  Page: B3

Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ALBANY - The directors of the state Thruway Authority and Canal Corp. appointed Carmella R. Mantello, a former Troy city councilwoman recommended by Gov. George Pataki, as the new director of canals Tuesday. Mantello, who most recently served as executive director of the state's Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, plans to spend her first six months in the $125,000-a-year post examining the canal system with an eye toward using a greenway-style strategy for promoting and developing the canal and its communities.

Ultimately, Pataki envisions development of an Erie Canal Greenway with links to the Niagara and Hudson River Valley greenways as part of an Empire State Greenway. Each of the three elements, however, would remain financially and administratively separate, Mantello said. In an interview, Mantello addressed concerns raised at Tuesday's Canal Corp. meeting by board member John Riedman of Rochester about ties to the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

"I think the record should reflect that there is no money in the canal budget to spend on anything along the Hudson River," Riedman said.

"These are going to be three separate greenways," Mantello said, adding: "with the greenways, the reason we're successful is we don't have a ton of money. The greenway is all about trying to provide seed dollars and technical assistance to help communities develop a vision for the next five, 10 years."

Over the next six months, Mantello said, she'll work with a task force including officials of other agencies to offer recommendations aimed at enhancing the canal and its role in revitalizing communities from Waterford to Tonawanda.

"There are misconceptions about the greenway, that it's only a trail," Mantello said. "It's more than a trail. It's a concept that unites the 200-some-odd communities along it into a ribbon."

"It's not regionalization, but it's regional planning," she said.

In addition to her position heading the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Mantello also has served in related jobs as executive director of the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley, which is a public benefit corporation, and director of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

Mantello, who lives in Troy with her husband, Paul Laviano, and two sons, served on the Troy City Council for eight years and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for mayor in 1999.

She later was an assistant sec retary of state with the New York state Department of State's Office of Local Government and Community Services and was project director for the state Quality Communities Task Force and Program.

Cathy Woodruff can be reached at 454-5093 or by e-mail at