DUNKIRK – City officials are concerned about preparations for the start of “festival season,” in Dunkirk.
At a meeting of the Economic Development Committee on Wednesday in City Hall, Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked about the children’s party bounce attraction and other equipment needed for the family Picnic at the Point on May 26.
Steve Neratko, director of the development office, said it was not unusual for the first event of the season to come together more slowly than events later in the season. He said donations still need to be secured for the event but that his office is also busy with the Wreck and Roll Festival, which takes place in early June.
Neratko said his staff of three people cannot make phone calls all day while the other festivals approach and a busy grant season nears. He said he hoped for volunteer help from a college intern, but that has not been set up.
Szukala said she will continue to make phone calls to area businesses on behalf of the festivals committee. She said she hoped a letter promoting the picnic event would go to the schools for children to take home to families.
“There are still a lot of details that need to be done,” said Szukala.
She asked for firm plans to be announced by the next meeting of the City Council.
In other business, Neratko gave a report on the writing of grant applications in his office. He said the staff is working with the Arbor Day Foundation, which has already provided funding for trees in the 100 and 200 blocks of Central Avenue. Neratko said the trees are expected to be purchased and planted soon.
Neratko also said he is considering working with the Town of Hanover and Village of Westfield on a grant to help pay for dredging at their boat launch facilities. Neratko said all waterfront communities need dredging this year because of low water levels in Lake Erie.
Neratko said the local Industrial Development Agency is still looking to lend money to businesses that want to locate in the area and create jobs. Low-interest loans are available, he said, and businesses are invited to present ideas to the IDA.
The local businesses on the Dunkirk Boardwalk have started to open for the summer season, Neratko said.
Neratko said some business owners are concerned about the city’s new requirement that they be open year-round. He said it is more important that they are open throughout the busy spring, summer and fall seasons. The new contracts with businesses are calling for 12-month occupancy with businesses open.
Council members agreed to consider the topic but did not offer to change the new leases.