DUNKIRK – Municipalities along the Lake Erie shoreline in Chautauqua County are supporting the efforts of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation as it spearheads campaigns for sharing services, regional water distribution and promoting the lakefront areas.
Executive Director Kathy Tampio said Thursday that proposals for the Chadwick Bay group to help with planning a regional water system have been met with positive responses. The City of Dunkirk agreed Tuesday to be lead agency for a grant to help with the planning, and Tampio said the issue is on the agenda in several other communities.
Tampio said the City of Dunkirk, Town of Dunkirk and towns of Sheridan, Portland and Pomfret, as well as Fredonia and Brocton are all on board with the concept. The deadline for applying for the grant is March 13, and Tampio said she expects there will be supporting resolutions from all seven communities.
She said Silver Creek and the Town of Hanover were not included in this planning phase, because their water comes from the Erie County Water Authority.
“Everyone is waiting to see what the cost of water will be,” Tampio said. “The goal is to save all these communities money by bringing them water at a less expensive rate.” She said preliminary estimates suggest that a regional water system would provide a huge savings to each community. Some of the estimates are as high as 50 percent. But Tampio said those estimates are premature. “We probably will not know about the current grant application until this fall,” she said, Meanwhile, the Chadwick group is planning other initiatives that also involve shared services.
The Lakefront Water Revitalization Plan is a program started by the City of Dunkirk several years ago to look at promoting tourism along the waterfront and to maintain the integrity of the waterfront areas. Tampio said she and Jay Warren from the development corporation will visit local municipalities to gauge interest in a regionwide plan. She said the plan would address waterfront tourism but will also look at potential flooding and erosion problems.
“Nobody likes to spend money on the planning stages,” she said. “But it is necessary in order to get grant money in this highly competitive grant market.”
She said a grant to the New York State Coastal Resources group is on the table for the Lakefront Water Revitalization Plan and that sharing the planning costs for each municipality will be more economical than if each pursued an individual grant. She said she brought up the idea in Hanover and noted that planning costs there would be about $20,000 if the town goes by itself compared with $2,000 if it shares in the plan with others.
Hanover is most familiar to Tampio, who served as the supervisor there for several years. She said she thinks the state will look more favorably on cooperative and shared plans for future funding.