Smart Growth delivers boost

Dunkirk set to use money to bolster waterfront, downtown district

OBSERVER Photo by Andrew David Kuczkowski At top left, city officials stand with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, back right with arm around Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, holding check on left. The city was awarded $2.5 million toward improving its pier and waterfront.

NORTH TONAWANDA — The city of Dunkirk has undertaken many initiatives to strengthen the community. From investing to the boardwalk/pier to the Central Connection (to bolster the connection road between SUNY Fredonia, Dunkirk and the village of Fredonia), the city has ideas for a better future.

Governor Andrew Cuomo agrees.

On Wednesday, the governor gave $2.5 million to Dunkirk, Gowanda, North Tonawanda and Lackawanna as part of the New York Smart Growth Community Fund. The money is a part of the Buffalo Billion 2, which is taking a regional approach. Gov. Cuomo noted that “the strongest (economy) is when the entire region is working.”

After the original Buffalo Billion, there was talk of the ripple effect for the Southern Tier and that the greater Buffalo region would benefit. However, there was no focus on direct funding. Under Buffalo Billion 2, Cuomo has taken a different direction.

“I applaud the governor’s efforts,” Mayor Willie Rosas said after receiving the check. “I think what he has done speaks volumes of his commitment to Western New York and not just the city of Buffalo. We have four different communities here working to revitalize their downtown areas and the city of Dunkirk is grateful for the governor and his staff and the help that they have given us.”

The city of Dunkirk’s highlighted projects includes improving the pier, funding for the Central Connection and funding for enhanced activity along the waterfront and connecting existing waterfront trails. The pier has been Dunkirk’s hotspot for growth. The location has hosted Music on the Pier with a view of beautiful Lake Erie.

The work on the pier aims to reconfigure the harbor plaza to create greenspace and a more pedestrian-friendly area for recreation and events, the project application to the state said. To have more activity along the waterfront, the city looks to fund a mixed-use infill development.

Mayor Rosas and Director of Planning and Development Rebecca Yanus added that the full report would be put on its website soon for plans to use the $2.5 million.

“We are looking to revitalize both our waterfront area as well as our downtown district. That’s what this is about. So we are very, very pleased with the amount that we will get,” Mayor Rosas added. “We are going to receive $2.5 million to revitalize our city.”

Twitter: @Kuczkowski95