New hotel is a testament to growing tourism industry

By Todd J. Tranum

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

The opening of the new Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron is another big step towards additional economic growth in Chautauqua County’s tourism industry. Coming on the heels of the National Comedy Center grand opening, it marks yet another bright spot for progress in our region. Featuring 135 rooms, a beautiful banquet facility and restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor bar and patios, and a stunning lake view, the new hotel has transformed the southern shore of Chautauqua Lake.

Decades ago, that same space was the old Celoron Amusement Park. For more than 60 years it drew crowds of people to the lake shore in a different way. They came by trolley or steamship to spend a day on the massive Phoenix Wheel, enjoying the toboggan slide into the lake, attend a baseball game or concert, and take part in other amusements. Perhaps they stayed at the former Hotel Celoron. Eventually the park declined, many of the attractions were sold off, and only a skating rink remained for several years until it was destroyed by fire in the mid 1970’s. This prime lakefront land has been vacant for over 40 years.

Now we have seen an amazing transformation and rebirth of the Celoron lakeshore. Occupying a nine acre site that features 1,100 feet of lakefront, the hotel is expected to draw visitors from all over who seek a full service hotel with all amenities and enjoy outdoor activities all year round. Kudos, also, to the Village of Celoron for improvements to the adjacent Lucille Ball Memorial Park which now includes an environmentally friendly shoreline and boardwalk while maintaining vital public access.

Tourists have been making their way to Chautauqua County for well over a century. Long before we began tracking tourism as a major component of our economy, visitors came to Chautauqua County to rest, relax, learn, and enjoy amazing scenery. We still have all of that, and with growing attractions including the National Comedy Center, we can expect a bump in tourist trade year-round. Tourism is already big business here. Tourism is a growing sector of our economy, creating a $260-million impact in the County. That includes lodging, dining, attractions, retail, and more.

It’s thrilling to see this rebirth at the Celoron lakefront. We also eagerly anticipate the opening within months of a new hotel in downtown Jamestown as the DoubleTree by Hilton prepares to welcome guests, and the addition of a new high end condominium complex in Mayville with the Lodge at Chautauqua Lake being developed by the Webb family. If you’re a resident here, we encourage you to sample the restaurants and banquet spaces being created and invite your out of town friends and family to reserve space in one of these new facilities. Chautauqua County is in growth mode!

Chamber banquet to honor award

recipients Oct. 11

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize a number of local leaders and business and community service during our Annual Awards Banquet on Oct. 11. This event is the largest gathering of business people in the county each year and will once again be held at the Williams Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus.

The Chamber’s annual Economic Development Award is being presented to Dunkirk Metal Products, a leading sheet metal fabricator and manufacturer of specialty metal products engineered to meet the demands of today’s industries.

The Person of the Year Award will be presented to the Calimeri Family of Jamestown. The Calimeri family has long been involved in the startup and operation of several businesses, have demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism and community engagement, and have generously contributed to the community.

Each of the six community Chambers of Commerce presents a Community Service Award during the Chamber Banquet. The Dunkirk Community Chamber has selected former Dunkirk Harbor Commission chair James T. Nichols to posthumously receive its award. The Fredonia Community Chamber chose Kurt Maytum, a long time firefighter, fire chief, and paramedic, for its Community Service Award. Laurie Bifaro has been selected to receive the Community Service Award from the Hanover Community Chamber for the economic rebirth she has helped to bring to the Silver Creek community by expanding her business, A Cut Above the Rest. The Jamestown Community Chamber selected Bill Stevenson for his hands-on participation in with many organizations including the National Comedy Center, Riverfront Management Council, Jamestown Area Railway Heritage Center, Jamestown High School Band, and many more. The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber has chosen SandraLee Wagner to receive its award for her dedication to establishing the Lakeside Bark Dog Run to fruition. The Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber is presenting its Community Service Award to the sister and brother team of Joan Mascaro Caruso and Rick Mascaro for their dedication to community through their work at the Lake Shore Center for the Arts, Westfield Community Kitchen, the Patterson Library, and more.

We hope you will join us in saluting all of these deserving award winners during the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet. For more information call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101 or find the event online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events.

Small group insurance and open Enrollment sessions are Wednesday

Continuing our commitment to assist our member employers with controlling costs through pro-active, innovative, high quality health insurance products the Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association are offering two information sessions this fall. We will provide an update on the group health insurance landscape and discuss solutions and products available from the Chamber/MAST and their partners. Both sessions will be held on Wednesday. The first session will be held at 7:30am at the MTI@JCC Building located at 512 Falconer Street in Jamestown. The second session will be at 5:30pm at the JCC North County Training Center in Dunkirk, 10785 Bennett Road, Dunkirk. Both of these sessions are focused on employer insurance needs. They are free to attend but registration is recommended so we can prepare for enough guests. Please call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101 or sign up online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events.

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