Motorists like to pull over next to Hoak’s Restaurant on Route 5 in Hamburg to watch the sun set over Lake Erie on summer evenings, or to see the waves crashing against the rocks on stormier days.
Later this year, they will have a bench to sit on, after the construction of a concrete plaza with sidewalks and a 35-foot-tall clock tower.
Worried that the wind and waves will create problems with the new plaza?
“They’re keenly aware of what the weather conditions are here, and they’ve structurally designed the tower and the vegetation in the area to withstand the elements,” Town Engineer Gerard M. Kapsiak said of the architectural and engineering firm that did the design.
The tower will be the focal point of the small plaza, which will be built on an existing state highway right of way at the intersection of Route 5 (Lake Shore Road), Big Tree and Hoover roads. It will be located on a section of the right of way that the state allows the restaurant to use as an extension of its parking lot.
Part of the permit allows use by the general public, Kapsiak said.
The town sees the plaza as a gateway to its waterfront residential community.
It will allow people to stop and look out over the Lake Erie shoreline and city skyline, and it will have nautical-themed lighted posts, railings, interpretive signs, drainage improvements and landscaping, he said.
“It will be a pretty nice project when it’s done. It’s something we’ve been working on several years,” he said.
Funding for the project, $400,000 in a federal highway grant, dates back to when former Hamburg Supervisor Jack Quinn represented the area in Congress. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, helped secure the grant, Kapsiak said.
“The funding was designated to be used for traffic calming purposes along this portion of Route 5, which is what led to the development of this project,” Kapsiak said.
Nussbaumer & Clarke, an architectural and engineering firm located in the Gateway office building in Hamburg, designed the plaza.
Bids are to be opened Feb. 14, and construction is to take place in the coming months. The goal is to have most of the construction done in the spring so it does not interfere with Hoak’s business during the peak summer period, Kapsiak said.