DUNKIRK – Dunkirk Town Board members heard a pitch this week to join a regional group that backers say would enhance each locality’s chances of winning state funding for waterfront revitalization projects.
During a special meeting Tuesday night, backers of the Northern Chautauqua County Regional Local Waterfront Revitalization Program said the goal is to involve the city as well as towns and villages all along the Lake Erie shoreline or that have tributaries that empty into the lake.
Mark Geise, Chautauqua County Department of Planning director, and Jay Warren from the Northern Chautauqua County Lake Erie Development Association said there would be strength in communities applying for state funding as a group rather than acting alone.
They said Chautauqua County officials are interested in supporting the regional proposal and that the group is looking for support at the local level. A timeline involves presentations over the next two months to municipalities from Ripley to the Town of Hanover along Chautauqua County’s north coast. In June, the group hopes to apply for consolidated funding from the New York State Department of State.
Geise and Warren told the board that past projects have included park access, tourist sites and projects that enhance the development of new business along the waterfront. They said a regional water project, which is currently under discussion with the City of Dunkirk and Town of Sheridan, could be considered in the comprehensive plan.
Geise and Warren said a $2,000 contribution from each municipality would be needed in 2014 and that a project consultant would not have to be hired until then, providing that the regional application was approved.
Geise said a similar proposal went before the Town Board in 1998 but was not acted upon. He said forming such a group would be complementary to the county’s long-range plan as well as the Greenway Plan, which utilizes natural resources to promote the county. The board was asked to consider a resolution of support by the end of April.
In other matters, members approved a resolution supporting the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Association in its efforts to promote a regional water system.
Board members also reviewed several items in the employee handbook and agreed that revisions dealing with payment of overtime for more than 40 hours worked each week as well as with a 30-minute lunch break each day would be presented for consideration at the March 19 meeting.
Town Supervisor Richard Purol said the handbook has been a work in progress, and he has invited comments and ideas from employees.