Second pier concept addresses some concerns

'A compromise

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Keith Ewald, senior project landscape architect for Barton & Logudice out of Syracuse, discusses the second conceptual design for the Dunkirk City Pier during City Council’s Economic Development Committee meeting inside city hall on Tuesday.

A second design concept related to proposed pier improvements was displayed Tuesday inside the conference room at city hall as roughly 50 people attended to see what changes were made from the initial proposal.

And while the latest concept may not satisfy everyone’s wants, several noted that it’s a compromise.

Following last month’s forum at the Dunkirk High School on the initial pier concept, a key piece city officials and consultants received from the public was retaining the ability to drive around the pier. The first concept limited traffic around the pier compared to what’s seen today. The latest design, however, returns that activity to the pier.

Keith Ewald, senior project landscape architect with Barton & Loguidice out of Syracuse, spoke to attendees and City Council’s Economic Development Committee regarding the latest concept, which retains all functions currently seen on the pier. Ewald noted that people will still be able to park on the pier although the number of spaces will be reduced in order to include other uses.

Greenspace and shade structures are in the concept for people to come and enjoy. Dedicated pedestrian and vehicular zones as well as an entrance arch are also in the concept. Right now, Ewald said the pier is a parking lot.

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy The Dunkirk City Pier on Wednesday evening saw some traffic and people fishing.

“Ultimately we want to provide connectivity along the waterfront, allow people to move along the waterfront, get downtown and back,” he said. “We want to come up with a design that sort of maintained a lot of that functionality, but also maybe brought some greenspace. It just has a more inviting look to it with some greenspace and trees, stormwater management, lighting, electrical and all the operational things the city would like to have to hold events.”

While some acknowledged the latest concept as a compromise, there were others who still had questions and concerns — primarily over greenspace located toward the end of the pier. Some proposed moving the greenspace elsewhere and placing parking at the end. Ewald acknowledged that those issues will be hammered out as they move next into the design and development phase.

Another question came up over improving the pier’s bathroom facility. Rebecca Yanus, city development director, said they’re working on funding avenues. The money awarded to the city by the state for the pier doesn’t include bathroom enhancements.

Speaking on behalf of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, Al Zurawski said the concept is improving from what he saw in past meetings. Zurawski went on to say that there’s been a sincere effort into all the needs discussed in previous meetings. He also noted the importance of fishing to the city and its waterfront.

“Some of us in this room, including the city, spent years and years of promoting the sport fishing industry here, which is a huge economic impact,” he said. “There’s been studies here through the county and through the state. It’s nationally recognized, so we want a compromise, too. I just want to make sure it’s not only recreation, but it’s also sport fishing industry. And sometimes the feeling here is every time the city does something, they seem to be pushing it out, so we’re here to protect that.”

Economic Development Committee Chairman Shaun Heenan told attendees to visit the pier in Erie, Pennsylvania to see what they’ve done. As for the Dunkirk pier, he said it can serve all.

“I think this is going to be a destination along with fishing, and our problem will be finding more parking,” he said. “That’s a problem you want to have because you’re being innovative and bringing in a lot of people. I think this is a great compromise and it will look great.”

City councilmembers unanimously approved an agreement for consultant services with Barton & Loguidice for the pier project during its Tuesday meeting. The cost for services is to not exceed $208,400 for design, construction documents and bid phases, and $136,800 for construction phase services.

Regarding the consultant services resolution, it was made known that council didn’t approve an exact concept for the pier. Moving forward, Ewald said they’ll be taking the information heard Tuesday and begin to develop design drawing with engineering.