A regional waterfront revitalization program was presented to New York State Secretary of State Alexander Treadwell Thursday by the municipalities of the Chadwick Bay Region at a meeting held in City Hall.
The plan may be a model for the state because it involves regional cooperation.
"Gov. Pataki's administration is committed to supporting the efforts of local governments to manage coastal resources," Treadwell said. "The development of a comprehensive land and water use plan for the Chadwick Bay Region will allow all the municipalities to develop a vision for their waterfront."
The meeting included a discussion of the Department of State's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and the possible participation of the Chadwick Bay communities in that program. A Local Waterfront Revitalization Program serves as an enforceable management program for a community's waterfront, assuring that local, state and federal actions are undertaken in a coordinated manner.
"This is a positive step forward and will help the application (for funds)," said George Stafford, director of the Coastal Division for the state Department of State.
The department has money from the environmental bond act and from an environmental protection fund. Funding from the latter must be matched by the municipalities.
The City of Dunkirk recently received a $35,000 grant from the environmental protection fund for completion of a waterfront revitalization program.
Consultant Peter J. Smith of Buffalo provided a summary of the Chadwick Bay initiative and the local waterfront revitalization plan. Smith said the major idea is economic development and to use the waterfront as an attraction to build up the area through tourism and waterfront-related activities.
Remedial action must be taken to control flooding, replace structures such as seawalls and to try to control erosion that endangers public property, including the Fredonia and Dunkirk waste water treatment plants on Lake Erie, Smith said. Those plants are vital for the food-processing industry, which is a mainstay of the economy of the area, according to Charles Herron, city director of development.
The waterfront plan also seeks to preserve natural resources, particularly air and water quality.
Local officials attending the meeting provided a list of individual municipalities' interests:
Mayor Vincent Tampio of Silver Creek said the village has both Silver and Walnut Creeks, which have flooded because of ice jams.
"There were three disaster calls, including evacuations, within five weeks this winter," he said.
Tampio said he wants preventive measures taken to avoid such flooding, as well as flooding at Sunset Bay during the summer because of high Lake Erie levels.
Town of Portland Clerk Patricia Kurtz said the town has underdeveloped land along Lake Erie that needs public water and sewer facilities. She said erosion is affecting the community of Greencrest, which has summer homes, and seawalls have become endangered from high lake levels.
Pomfret Town Supervisor Mark Thomas spoke for the Town of Dunkirk, which has problems with erosion. He also noted easements for public access to the lake have been taken over by residents.
The Town of Sheridan has seen plans for a golf course in the Eagle Bay property, which had been an alternate site for an electric generating plant that was never built. The town's harbor area needs to be developed, its representative said, and erosion has come close to Route 5.
Thomas said Pomfret seawalls are being lost to erosion, and the replacement cost of $550 per foot is very expensive. Most of the developed area is residential, he said, and the town would like to put in a permanent boat ramp to replace a small structure.
Herron said the City of Dunkirk is linking downtown revitalization to an historic theme with waterfront development. The city needs non-manufacturing jobs, and is looking at maritime attractions for tourism, he said.