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Legislature to consider 2nd marina in Lockport Funding on agenda for feasibility study

The Niagara County Legislature is being asked to consider completing the funding needed for a feasibility study on the construction of a second marina in the City of Lockport.

Lockport Legislators W. Keith McNall, Anthony J. Nemi and Richard E. Updegrove are co-sponsoring a resolution on tonight's Legislature agenda to allocate the project $75,000 from the county's share of Seneca Niagara Casino slot machine funding.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker said the money would come in handy, since in December the state awarded the city a $125,000 grant toward the study. However, the catch is that only half of that money actually comes from Albany; the rest has to come from a local match.

That's where the county's casino cash comes in.

"We're going to use it for the match," Tucker said, adding that the result would be enough to hire a firm to carry out the study of what has always been described as something of a long-range plan.

The idea for the Upper Harbor was first floated in April 2006 by David R. Kinyon, now economic development coordinator for the Town of Lockport. He also heads the city's Flight of Five Committee, which oversees efforts to return the 19th century Erie Canal locks to working condition as a tourist attraction.

The city has long operated Nelson C. Goehle Widewaters Marina off Market Street, below the locks. The Upper Harbor would be constructed on the north bank of the canal above the locks, between the Tri-Way and Stevens Street bridges.

"It's going to bring the possibility of more tourism into Lockport," said McNall, the lead sponsor of tonight's resolution. "It's going to bring in jobs and add to the economic development that's so important to Niagara County."

Tucker said the Upper Harbor would target transient boaters who want to tie up their boats and visit Lockport without necessarily having to go through the locks. The location off West Genesee Street would be closer to the downtown business district than Widewaters is.

"Widewaters was made for small-type vessels. This [upper] marina, you'd be able to put larger boats in," Tucker said.

When he asked the Common Council to apply for the grant in November 2007, Kinyon envisioned 500 feet of docks and a 6,000-square-foot building with showers, restrooms, laundry facilities and a restaurant.

Some other suggestions for casino funding are on tonight's Legislature agenda.

Jason J. Cafarella, of Niagara Falls, and Danny W. Sklarski, of the Town of Niagara, are offering a resolution to send $10,000 to the United Way of Niagara's proposed Community Impact Center at 1905 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls.

John D. Ceretto, of Lewiston, wants to allocate $14,000 to various events in Lewiston: $5,000 for the Jazz Festival, $2,500 each for the Art Festival and the Peach Festival, and $1,000 each for the Harvest Festival, the Christmas Walk, the Garden Festival and the Smelt Festival.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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