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Construction projects may conflict during summer

Possible construction is causing stress to some residents on Ocelot Street, Serval Street and Lake Front Boulevard as construction for two projects may coincide with each other as well as seasonal traffic making things more difficult.

FEMA officials recently visited the city to assess the damage done to the retaining wall that was destroyed during the Halloween 2019 storm and concluded that it does qualify for assistance.

“For the FEMA project, we are waiting for their final approval,” Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas said at the Common Council meeting. “They were here two weeks ago. We attempted to get their final approvals this week and we’re still hoping for that to happen. As soon as we get their approvals, my understanding is that the contractor and engineers are ready to start working. We have been told that we’re going to receive funds, but they have to wait through the process to get their final approvals.”

At odds with this is funding coming in from the state for the new playground set to be situated at Wright Park. The chance of both of these projects taking place at the same time is looking likely, and Fourth Ward Councilwoman Nancy Nichols is concerned that it’s going to make life difficult for the residents in that area; she’s hoping to see the state project postponed in light of the wall repair.

Rosas agreed that if safety becomes an issue they will postpone, but doesn’t want to see the funds lost.

Residents in the area expressed concern through a letter to the council penned by Martha Lukasik and signed by over a dozen people.

“The playground will be surrounded by three roadways and during the seasonal recreational season Ocelot Street, Serval Street and Lake Front Boulevard are all at the north end of a family recreational area,” Lukasik’s letter read. “Seasonal use of this area causes a lot of traffic on all roads mentioned. There’s very limited parking which also causes an increase in traffic and drivers make poor decisions. We are concerned with the safety of children if the playground goes in here.”

Lukasik and others there believe that the playground should go in the location of where an old playground used to be for decades.

“We are disappointed that as tax payers for the city of Dunkirk no one contacted any of us, prior to or during the process of choosing this location,” Lukasik said.

“We have not had the public presentation, that information was relayed by Rebecca (Wurster, development director) to this council by email,” Rosas said. “Due to COVID-19 we’re not able to have the public presentation to get some feedback from those neighbors; those neighbors received that information as well. The playground may be put where Martha’s requesting for it to be put, Rebecca and I have had discussion on that we’re going to be looking for getting more feedback on that.”

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