County Executive Greg Edwards, George Spanos, director of Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities, and William Daley, director of Chautauqua County's Industrial Development Agency, recently came to Dunkirk to speak at an informational meeting about the millennium parkway. Held in city hall, the meeting was attended by several Dunkirk officials and a few members of the public.
Councilwomen Stephanie Kiyak and Stacy Szukala had questions about the proposed route for the project. After the meeting, Szukala said she had emailed Edwards questions.
"I got an answer right away," she said. "I am very grateful he took the time to come here."
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
James Muscato addresses the informational meeting about the millennium parkway. He said the project goes back 25 years. He was in favor of proceeding.
Edwards came armed with the history of the project, which goes back about 25 years. (Edwards was elected county executive in 2005.) He also brought maps showing the different routes that have been proposed for the parkway.
"I am thrilled to be here talking to you," Edwards said.
He used the map to point out the currently purposed route to people seated around the table. This proposal has the parkway going from the Thruway exit 59, north on Route 60, east on Talcott Street, north on South Roberts Road, and then east near the railroad tracks.
Kiyak asked why the route turned to go north on South Roberts Road instead of simply going straight through near the old Roblin Steel site. Edwards explained that the new highway had to comply with wetland regulations and consultants said there was no feasible way to construct the road in that direction.
Edwards leapfrogged to where the project is today.
"We wanted to do it where it could be done and where it can have impact," he said.
According to Edwards, the construction as currently envisioned would be good for development in the area, giving a configuration that developers of warehouses like. Daley said he had just recently talked to an entity interested in developing the site for that purposes. Programs available for helping developers are "Restore New York" and Brownfields grants through the Environmental Protection agency.
Former councilman James Muscato, who still serves on the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation, said that he remembers that consideration of the millennium parkway has been going on for 25 years. During Edwards' presentation, he nodded several times in agreement. He addressed the group thanking Edwards for speaking at the meeting.
"I remember when there was Alco and Roblin there. No one complained about the traffic because these businesses represented jobs for the community," he said.
Valerie Pawlak, a member of the public said, "This is beautiful. This will help Dunkirk grow."
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