DUNKIRK – The state Department of Environmental Conservation has offered to help clean up the Niagara Motors lot on Route 60 near Fieldbrook Foods, provided the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation pays about 10 percent of the cost, officials said Wednesday.
There are about four acres included in the site, which had previously had some site work done. Steve Neratko, DLDC development director, said the DEC offer was to clean the site to commercial building standards and provide the corporation a certificate that shows completion of the cleanup.
The DLDC’s responsibility would be between $50,000 and $75,000 toward the project, which is estimated to cost about $500,000. Funds through the DEC are expected to be available so that the cleanup could start in the spring, Neratko said.
Both the DLDC and the Dunkirk Common Council would have to pass resolutions accepting the offer. Mayor A.J. Dolce said the DEC will require approval from the city and the DLDC by the end of this year so that the project can be started.
The site may also be eligible for funding from a new state program that recognizes buildable sites within a mile of university incubators.
Neratko said the Niagara Motors site is within one mile of the SUNY Fredonia Incubator, which is on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. Chuck Cornell, from the SUNY Fredonia Center for Regional Advancement, said he would promote the project to the university’s staff.
In other matters, DLDC members heard a presentation from Ann Abdella of the Healthy Communities Program, who asked if they would be interested in a partnership that would provide some funding. She said the Healthy Communities Program was already established in Jamestown and would like to extend into the City of Dunkirk in a targeted low-income area on the east side near Lake Shore Drive.
The program supports and encourages farmers’ markets, physical activity and rezoning areas to make streets more accessible to pedestrians.
Judy Prescuitti, director of the Dunkirk Housing Authority, which operates a senior housing apartment complex in the designated area, said she supports the community alliance program. A formal resolution of support will be prepared for the next DLDC meeting.
The alliance program has funding through 2015 and will seek additional grant funds through New York State if they are available, Abdella said. She said the program established community gardens in Jamestown and helped with pedestrian-friendly zoning laws there.
She encouraged Dunkirk’s leaders to look at the Jamestown program for examples of what could be done and then decide on projects that would benefit the targeted area.