DUNKIRK – The need for collaborations and regional projects was the recurring theme of Mayor Anthony J. Dolce’s State of the City address, delivered Friday afternoon at Dunkirk High School.
The mayor started with the challenges that the city has been faced with. He said the potential loss of jobs from Carriage House, Cott and NRG, all large national companies, is a huge issue.
He also said Dunkirk is addressing issues that were found in the city’s audit, the analyzing of use of Housing and Urban Development funds and the status of loans with the Dunkirk Local Development Corp.
He said he anticipates that some of the HUD funding may have to be paid back. He stressed that the city now has more stringent financial controls in place and, going forward, he does not anticipate any further problems.
Dolce pointed to the proposed regional water distribution system as one of the city’s accomplishments. He said the city will continue to work with Silver Creek officials in hopes of being able to bring water services to the village, which currently buys water from the Erie County Water Authority.
Dolce said he is pleased the city is part of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development group and hopes that another regional water project will be established with the seven communities involved in that group.
He praised the work of city department crews, including the Public Works Department, which he said has completed the First Ward water line, a large amount of tree trimming, and improvements at the wastewater treatment facility that have resulted in savings.
Dolce said that city crews repaired 60 picnic tables that will be available for summer rental.
The mayor said he was pleased with the Department of Development’s summer schedule. He said a festivals committee has been put in place for the many events that are planned this year.
In addition to the regular events, including live music on the city pier each Thursday, he said, the city will participate in the Great Lakes Experience on June 15 and a new heritage festival Sept. 7 and 8.
He said the second phase of the city’s new bike path is expected to be completed this summer, providing a bike lane from Point Gratiot towards Lake Front Boulevard.
Dolce said the city’s Industrial Development Agency is meeting again after a yearlong hiatus, and the focus will be jobs. He said the IDA will seek out new business opportunities that create jobs within the city.
He also said that he wants to continue the working relationship with SUNY Fredonia State and hopes to encourage the college to bring a science center to lakefront property in the city.
Dolce commented on the positive working relationship with the college’s business incubator project, which is located on Central Avenue in the city.
Two grant initiatives will be used toward renovations on Central Avenue. The city received funding from the Main Street Grant Program and will put the $250,000 in funds toward business improvements. An Arbor Day grant will go toward tree replacement in the city. ”
The mayor invited civic participation and said he encouraged residents to contact him if they have an interest in serving on a city committee or board.