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DUNKIRK – City leaders will be looking for ways to get enough funds to dredge the harbor this summer.

At the regular meeting of the Dunkirk Economic Development Committee on Thursday, Planning Director Steve Neratko said the city has been promised $50,000 in assistance from Chautauqua County and another $20,000 from the Lake Erie Management Commission. The total cost for dredging is estimated at $150,000.

Neratko said he did not think the city would be able to commit to the remainder from the regular budget.

Stephanie Kiyak, chairman of the committee, suggested that he contact the large fishing tournament companies and others who would benefit from having the harbor deepened. 

Dunkirk leaders hope to get the city’s inner harbor dredged while heavy equipment is in nearby Barcelona Harbor in the town of Westfield. The dredging equipment has already been contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Barcelona. The work is scheduled for June 15.

In other matters, the city’s Planning Department will accept bids for privatizing the fish-cleaning station on the city pier. More information about the station is available from the planning office. Bids will be accepted until 3 p.m. March 28.

Neratko reported that the city will proceed with plans to demolish several houses this summer. He said the city is working with the Chautauqua County Landbank Association to select and schedule the demolition of the houses. The lots would be made available to neighbors. 

City Attorney Ron Szot cautioned the group to be sure that the appropriate process is followed when they use federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to pay for the demolitions. The city is currently under an audit proceeding from HUD and expects to have to pay back some funds it received for past projects that did not meet federal guidelines.

Several applicants will be invited to a meeting regarding their status for funds under the Main Street Grant Program. The 100 block of Central Avenue was targeted for storefront improvements under the program. The applicants will be required to show city leaders their plans and the scope of work to be eligible for the grant funding.

Lacy Lawrence, deputy planning director, reported that the city is considering applications to fill one storefront at the boardwalk on the city pier. Food truck vendors and food cart applications also are being reviewed by the Planning Department.