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Experts and residents brainstorm on ways to enhance Dunkirk

DUNKIRK – Residents and community leaders filled the large meeting room at the SUNY Fredonia Incubator Center on Central Avenue in Dunkirk to talk about planning, promoting and marketing Dunkirk.

The Saturday morning gathering was coordinated by the city and members of the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association to promote the city and get new ideas on how to improve.

George Grasser, of Buffalo, brought a team of people involved in urban-planning projects.

Team members included experts in urban engineering, marketing and promoting the concept of “complete streets.”

They said that streets should be friendly for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Mayor A.J. Dolce was pleased by the turnout.

He estimated that 80 residents showed up to share ideas and participate in the walking tours with the planning group.

“I am really pleased to see so much interesting revitalizing our city,” Dolce said.

The mayor said he believes that active participation from community groups will encourage business growth and attract new residents to the city.

Grasser prefaced the walking tours by asking people to scan the neighborhoods and look for ideas to promote walking and encourage small businesses and services within short distances to residential areas. Members of the group walked around the harbor area, the First Ward and Central Avenue.

After the walking tours, the planning team members pointed out that the harbor attractions but said they are not easily found. They recommended better signs and marketing near the recreational areas along the waterfront. They also recommended promoting the areas and their attractions on social media as a way of attracting younger visitors.

City residents should form a planning group and target specific projects throughout the city, the experts said.

Also, the team members suggested landscaping along the Route 5 corridor near Central Avenue and repainting the railroad bridges in the city.