On ‘Point’

City breaks ground on park project

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino Officials break ground on work at Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk. Pictured from left is Deputy Director of Development Edward J. Hayes, Legislator Bob Bankoski, Development Director Rebecca Yanus, Mayor Willie Rosas, Legislator and Sen. Catharine Young's representative Kevin Muldowney, Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto, LaBella Project Manager Ed Schober and project contractor Ryan Doyle from Perry Construction Group of Erie, Pa.

Point Gratiot Park is a jewel of the Dunkirk community and Monday officials moved forward with making sure it shines.

The project to put roofs on pavilions, improve electrical service to allow for live music and bring bathrooms into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance was set into motion when the city received a $500,000 grant with the help of State Senator Catharine Young.

“This park is a special asset to the city and for many years we have not done any improvements here. So, I am very proud to be the mayor who has brought in funding to be able to bring upgrades here that are very desperately needed. … Our focus is to bring more people in to enjoy this beautiful park. It’s located on the lovely shores of Lake Erie here in our city and we feel that it is not being utilized enough,” Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said, thanking Young and all those who put effort into the project.

Young was unable to attend, but her representative, Legislator Kevin Muldowney, said Point Gratiot is a special place for Young because it was the grant for the bike path was the first she secured when she became a senator.

In a statement Young said, “(Monday’s) groundbreaking for the long-awaited improvements to Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk represents the start of a new chapter for this beloved landmark. With its picturesque location on the Lake Erie waterfront, the park has been a popular destination for generations of families and residents who have enjoyed picnics, ball games, beach outings and more, all surrounded by its natural beauty.

“… Mayor Rosas and the leaders in the city of Dunkirk are extraordinarily committed to building a strong future for this city. That is evident in the many economic development initiatives that are moving forward and the rising sense of optimism in this community. This latest project embodies that vision. I look forward to joining the City’s leaders down the road when we cut the ribbon on the ‘new’ Point Gratiot Park.”

Development Director Rebecca Yanus said this is the third of four park projects the city has finished, is working on or has planned. She said it started with the playground at Kosciuszko Park in the Fourth Ward and includes the new dog park on Main Street Extension, Point Gratiot and the Wright Park amenities project.

Work started Monday at Point Gratiot and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2018.

“I think the biggest complaint we’re going to receive in the city here moving forward will be there’s too much construction happening at the same time, but again that’s a complaint I welcome anytime,” Rosas joked.

Also in attendance were Legislator Bob Bankoski, Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto, LaBella Project Manager Ed Schober, Perry Construction Group workers, city staff members and the public.