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A Packet Boat Partnership | Arts & Culture

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A Packet Boat Partnership
A Packet Boat Partnership

They say collaboration leads to the best of solutions.  We achieve very little on our own.  It could not be truer than in Lockport, NY, where engineer Mike Weekes is teaming up with a whole community to build a genuine replica of a 19th century Erie Canal packet boat. This Buffalo businessman-turned-boat-builder,  found some new friends in Lockport, New York to help him make his dream come true.

Question: Mike, why did you consider Lockport when looking for a home for your Packet Boat building project?

Answer: ( Mike Weeks)  With optimism I walked across Western New York knocking on doors of individuals and potential organizations hoping to find a place to build this houseboat with character.  My trek was not turning up results.  I commented on a story I read which was written by Erie Canal Discovery Center Director Doug Farley, mentioning a boat-building project.  Much to my delight, Doug seemed to embrace my goal with an equivalent passion.   I could not be more fortunate. My luck had changed.

Question: Were there others that helped seal the deal for Lockport?

Answer: (Mike Weekes) I met with Doug and he started thinking with whom we needed to collaborate.  He connected me with Jay Krull, of Boost Training and Support which led to a meeting with Linda Van Buskirk, President of the Dale Association.  Linda became an advocate and invited us to look at a space which was accessible for our project.

Question: What was your inspiration to move this dream forward?

Answer: ( Mike Weekes) I wake up every morning and re-read a horoscope I clipped from a small paper I found while eating breakfast in a 1940s-style Diner in Newark, NY on the canal: You understand the many ways in which you are tremendously fortunate.  As you get this at a very deep level, you’ll create the kind of good fortune that few experience in this lifetime. I was truly experiencing this kind of good fortune since I walked into Lockport.  Only weeks after reading Doug’s article, I was meeting City of Lockport Mayor Michael Tucker and we were collaborating on building (not simply planning) my dream.  The solution belongs to all of us.  It’s a celebration of life!

Question: Who do you think will be impacted by this project?

Answer: ( Mike Weekes)  Building this boat on the Dale Association campus, near the Erie Canal Discovery Center has limitless opportunities for all parties, the City of Lockport, its citizens, its visitors, Dale participants, Discovery Center visitors and any person, team or organization in Western New York desiring an enhanced quality of life. There are now at least a dozen individuals on-board this effort.

Question: What else do you like about Lockport?

Answer: (Mike Weekes) The same night of our meeting to finalize the location of the boat build, I attended a terrific concert at the Historic Palace Theater where I read a plaque celebrating civic partnerships and the resulting accomplishments.  I too, was now living that partnership, real-time, in Lockport.

Question: Any closing thoughts, Mike?

Answer: (Mike Weekes) I wish to thank Jay Krull of Boost Training and Support for his facilitation and imagination, Linda Van Buskirk of the Dale Association for her generosity and vision and Doug Farley of the Erie Canal Discovery Center for his facilitation and passion.  This community is full of folks who make time in their life to help others achieve their dreams.  I invite you to become one of them, thank you if you already are.  I encourage all of you to enjoy what this partnership process has to offer. What amazes me is how hard I tried to make this effort happen and how it seemed that when I finally let go and let collaborators come into my life and listened to how they felt, all of the challenges, all of the obstacles, melted away, one by one.

As a truly volunteer effort, Mike Weekes said he was looking for a few folks who might be willing to assist him in this boat building project. To participate in this project contact Mike at yellowstone_mike@yahoo.com or (716) 517-7957 or Doug Farley at (716) 439-0431.

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