Rooms open for guests as officials cut the ribbon

Hello, Harbor Hotel

OBSERVER Photo by Eric Zavinski The ribbon is cut Thursday to mark the beginning of the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron. Pictured, from the left, are Lisa Vanstrom, county legislator and local representative for state Sen. Cathy Young; Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost; David Hart, president and CEO of Hart Hotels; and Peter Krog, CEO of The Krog Group.

CELORON — The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is open, welcoming guests to the region along Chautauqua Lake, and it won’t stop doing that as a year-round resort. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted to commemorate the achievement of hundreds of contractors and the leaders who helped it come to fruition.

“The focus and the theme is all about the lake,” said George Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive.

Borrello was one of many politicians who spoke at the ceremony and highlighted the $38 million destination’s importance as a place for tourists to stay. The hotel was referenced as an economic indicator, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, said the hotel is so beautiful that it too will become a destination worth visiting in Chautauqua County.

“We are seeing a true tourism economic revival,” Goodell said.

David Hart, president and CEO of Hart Hotels, said he is pleased that operation of the hotel will return more economic energy to the area and also noted that the construction did that as well, as many of the contractors who worked on the project this year were hired from the county.

“Thank you all for embracing us,” Hart said.

The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is the third harbor hotel of Hart’s in New York State and the fourth overall. Resorts in his Harbor Hotel Collection are created to usher in new visitors and generate demand on notable waterfront territories. Peter Krog, CEO of The Krog Group that built Chautauqua Harbor, said he’s seen economic revivals in the other areas their hotels have been constructed, and he promised the same would happen in Celoron. “Your achievement is a reminder that nothing is out of reach,” said Lisa Vanstrom, county legislator, who spoke on behalf of Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean.

Hart and Krog thanked Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost, who thanked them in return and said that the village is “moving ahead” due in part to the hotel, which opened to guests Aug. 30.

“I hope everybody enjoys this beautiful place,” Schrecengost said.

The hotel was described as a team effort, something that is exemplified even more by the hotel’s partnership with the National Comedy Center. After the ribbon cutting, guests were able to explore the satellite room of the comedy center that showed artifacts from the careers of Celoron native Lucille Ball and stand-up comedian George Carlin.

Showing further community support, steamboat owner Mat Stage docked the Chautauqua Belle at the island behind the hotel. Hors d’oeuvres were served as guests explored the lobby, lakefront and Carousel Bar, which bears tribute to the Celoron Amusement Park and its merry-go-round that once sat on the same land.

Hart also commented on the water quality in Chautauqua Lake and expressed his desire to have the hotel business shine a light on the issues the lake faces with near-shore weeds and blue-green algae.

“Peter and I are committed to using our platform to help coalesce all the various parties and the things they think will help treat the water properly to get it to the quality we all want,” Hart said.

To further commemorate the occasion, Katrina Fuller represented Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and presented Hart and Krog with a congratulatory proclamation. Peter Carlo, a Korean War veteran, presented the pair with the 311th U.S. flag he’s donated on behalf of Chautauqua County veterans.

“I want you to know you’re very welcome here,” Carlo said.

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