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Dunkirk chamber targets lakeshore revitalization

DUNKIRK – The Dunkirk Chamber of Commerce’s new president is targeting economic development and revitalization of lakeshore communities as key goals for 2014.

John “Jay” Warren was introduced as the new president of the chamber during its annual awards banquet last week at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Route 5.

Warren has been very active in the community and told members that he is going to focus on economic development goals for the chamber in the next year. He said he also will work closely with new County Executive Vince Horrigan on the Chautauqua County 2020 long-range plan, and that he is working on the lakefront revitalization plans for communities along the Lake Erie shore.

“Dunkirk can be and should be the hub of economic activity and is in a position to exercise leadership,” Warren said. “I encourage participation by everyone at every level from social club rooms to small business owners, to large corporations, elected leaders, foundations, non-profits, labor organizations and institutions of higher education,” he said.

The Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum received the chamber’s community service award. Barb Lawson, Dave Briska and Mike Vinceguerra, who serve as volunteers at the lighthouse, accepted the award on behalf of the group that provides tours and educational seminars at the lighthouse.

ProQuip, a new company that specializes in solar and LED lighting, won the “Rookie of the Year” Award for a business. Owner Sam Tavernese accepted the award for his company, which has already provided the city of Dunkirk with new LED lighting to save money in front of city hall.

The Putnam Insurance agency was honored for it’s long-term service as a chamber member. Doug Mahany accepted the award for the agency.

NRG Company and Local 97 IBEW union were honored as business of the year. Bill Vogel, plant manager, and Andrew Pacos from the IBEW accepted the award. NRG was granted permission to change over to a natural gas power plant this year and given a 10-year lease through New York State.

The facility has been in existence for many years using coal to generate electricity. Employees, union members and many people from the community lobbied with local, state and national officials to keep the plant in the city of Dunkirk.