It wasn't that long ago it seemed a solution was found to what had been somewhat of a problem for potential developers in the northern part of Chautauqua County.
In October 2008 a ceremony was held marking the opening of what was called the North County Economic Development Center. Loca-ted in the Stearns Building adjacent to City Hall, the Center had three tenants, the Chautauqua County Indus-trial Development Agency, the Dunkirk/Sheridan Em-pire Zone office and the city of Dunkirk's Development Department.
Billed as a one-stop economic development center, it was created in part out of necessity when the state's court system required more room in City Hall. With the termination of the Empire Zone program and the move of the CCIDA, there is only one tenant left, the city's Development Department.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
The Stearns Building in downtown Dunkirk, located adjacent to City Hall, may be losing more tenants in addition to the loss of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency’s north county office to the State University of New York at Fredonia Technology Incubator in the 200 block of Central Avenue.
There are four city em-ployees along with one part-timer who are regulars in the city's space. Included in that are Development Director Steve Neratko, Assistant Director Lacy Lawrence, Recreation Director Tim Gornikiewicz and Rec Department Secretary Patty Pleszewski. Nicole Waite, the city's part-time Community Development Block Grant coordinator, also has a work space in the office.
With the move of the CCIDA office to the State University of New York at Fredonia Technology Incubator in the 200 block of Central Avenue, Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was asked if the city has plans to move its Development Department to the college facility.
"As of right now they're in the Stearns Building, we have a good spot there and that's something we're going to be meeting with the landlord and discussing our options at the Stearns Building," he replied. "We always explore options and ways to save money, so we haven't ruled anything out. Right now we're operating off the old lease. There's clauses in there covering how we would continue to pay until a new lease was settled upon."
The Recreation Depart-ment may be on the move out of the Stearns Building as well.
"We're looking at all possibilities, seeing not only what makes the most sense for us logistically, but pricewise," Dolce explained.
The city also rents studio space in the Stearns Building for Cable Access 12 operations, a situation that may soon change as well. Dolce said the city was looking to make a move to Dunkirk High School.
"That's the goal. ... We have two spaces over there so we want to discuss our options but as of right now we don't see any need for what we've used as the Access 12 space," Dolce stated.
Some Access 12 programming is already being produced in the DHS studio as the studio in the Stearns Building is well on its way to being emptied.
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