Dunkirk legislator hails powerboat races as success

JAMESTOWN — The powerboats that raced on Lake Erie along the shoreline of Dunkirk have been hailed a huge success.

County Legislator Robert Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, said Wednesday the Great Lakes Offshore Grand Prix held last weekend that featured powerboats from the Race World Offshore racing league was a great event for the Dunkirk area.

“It was a huge, huge success,” he said. “So many people flooded our area.”

The County Legislature last month approved using $32,500 in occupancy tax revenues to help fund the powerboat races. The legislature had allocated $12,000 toward the Dunkirk Air Show, which was not held this year after the event had been hosted along Dunkirk’s lakeshore the previous two years. After the air show fell through, Dunkirk city officials decided to host the powerboat races, which the legislature also allocated an additional $20,500 in bed tax funding for the three-day event.

“(The powerboat races) wouldn’t have happened without the support of the legislature,” Bankoski said.

In other legislature business, the group approved the proposal for the county Sheriff’s Office to provide a school resource officer to the Bemus Point School District for the cost of $75,807. Last week during a Public Safety Committee meeting, Joe Gerace, county sheriff, said this is a similar service the Sheriff’s Office provides to other school districts in the county like Silver Creek and Pine Valley. He wishes the federal government would provide the grant funding so each school in the country could have a school resource officer.

The legislature also approved receiving a $647,798 state grant for emergency 911 communications radio equipment for the Sheriff’s Office. Last week, Gerace said this is not the first time the department has received funding from the state for communications equipment, which includes once receiving a $6 million grant. He added the funding comes from the surcharge people pay as part of their cell phone plans.

Gerace said the communications system the Sheriff’s Office has is next generation compatible, which will be important to have in place once the rest of the state and, eventually the nation, have the next generation communications equipment as well.

The legislature also passed the sale of land by Jamestown Community College. As one of the community partners of JCC, which also includes the city of Jamestown and Cattaraugus County, school officials needed the legislature’s approval to sell the property. JCC officials will be selling 37.5 acres of land they own at 2835 Curtis St. Extension. JCC owns 50 acres of land at the location, which is located in the town of Ellicott, but are only looking to sell the 37.5 acres, which includes a small pole barn and a single-family house. JCC officials are selling the property for $285,000.

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