City’s improvement project breaks ground

A new pier is near

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl. On Thursday afternoon, city officials celebrated the commencement of work on the pier improvement project. Work began Monday and crews began milling the area on Thursday. Pictured from left are Jeff Nadge, project landscape architect for Barton and Loguidice; Mo Sumbundu, assistant director of the New York Empire State Development council; Bob Bankoski, Chautauqua County legislator; Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas; Rebecca Yanus, director of planning and development for the city of Dunkirk; and Mike Civiletto, Fourth Ward city councilman.

On April 11, 2018, the city of Dunkirk celebrated the groundbreaking of the Wright Park improvements project. Exactly one year later, city officials celebrated the beginning of another significant city project: the pier improvement project.

City of Dunkirk Director of Planning and Development Rebecca Yanus, led Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony at the city pier, where dozens were gathered to celebrate the start of the four-month long project. “The pier improvement project is a project that we have been working on for the past three years,” Yanus explained. “Mayor Rosas really wanted to highlight the city and the waterfront and knows how much of an asset it is.”

Yanus provided a brief background on funding for the project, which began in 2016 with the city’s joint application with the village of Fredonia for technical assistance funding that led to the Central Connection plan. The plan designated three projects to spur economic development and enhance both communities: Dunkirk’s pier, Central Avenue and Fredonia’s Barker Common.

“Through a private-public participation process, we included it (the pier) within our Brownfield Opportunity Area Plan, which we then took and moved forward and put into a downtown revitalization initiative application through the state,” Yanus explained. The city was awarded Smart Growth funds of $2.5 million to enhance the city’s waterfront, enhance a private project and develop a better connection along the Central Avenue corridor.

Yanus welcomed Jeff Nadge, project landscape architect of Barton and Loguidice, to share highlights of the new design. Nadge shared the following planned improvements for the “pedestrian-enhanced environment.”

OBSERVER File Photo. This is an artist’s rendering of what the Dunkirk Harbor pier will look like when it is completed in August.

These include:

¯ New accent pavements along the edge of the pier.

¯ New marine elements with ladders and tie-up rails.

¯ New lighting.

¯ Approximately 30 parking spaces.

¯ A new gateway structure to welcome pedestrians and vehicles.

“On behalf of the Barton Loguidice design team, it’s been an honor to work with Rebecca, the mayor, city staff and the community,” said Nadge. “We’re confident the city of Dunkirk and its visitors will find the enhancements beautiful, functional and one more steps towards another brighter view of Dunkirk.”

Mayor Wilfred Rosas recognized Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, Chautauqua County legislators Kevin Muldowney and Robert Bankoski, and the city councilmen for their support of the pier improvement project.

“There were some people who were pushing back on this project,” Rosas acknowledged. “I had heard that there were going to be some folks picketing here today, but I can tell you that I stand firmly behind the efforts of our team here to bring this project to fruition. When I took office, I said that we would enhance our pier, clean up our beaches, improve our parks, and this is all part of that process. We’re looking to bring more people into our city, and we can’t do that if we don’t have our city taken care of.”

Rosas said that the city’s Music on the Pier will continue, despite the ongoing work at the pier. “Most of these concerts will be held at Memorial Park,” he explained. “But we’re also going to take advantage of the opportunity to highlight some of our other parks, maybe moving Music on the Pier once in awhile to the Point and Wright Park.” According to Rosas, work on the pier is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 10 in time for the boat races.

Rosas welcomed Mo Sumbundu, assistant director of New York’s Empire State Development council. Sumbundu congratulated the mayor and his staff on their hard work to bring the pier project to fruition. “These improvements are important because they will transform Dunkirk’s waterfront, reconnect it with the city, and establish it as an important destination not only for the community, but also for visitors who are coming to the region,” he said. “The redesign will promote green space and improve the pedestrian experience, while also reconnecting it with the waterfront trails and enhancing public safety. We are looking forward to coming back here in August to celebrate the re-opening of the pier!”