City waterfront likely in line for more cash

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas is riding a wave of optimism regarding the possibility of receiving an additional $4.75 million in federal funding to assist with the city’s waterfront.

Rosas said Wednesday he has been in touch with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer regarding a project that would better protect the Holiday Harbor at Chadwick Bay Marina as well as Lakefront Boulevard during major weather events that often pummel Lake Erie’s eastern shoreline. Rosas said the senior senator is confident the assistance will come through.

“This is a big-time project for the city,” the mayor said.

In June, Common Council passed a resolution to try for a $50,000 grant from the New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program, to fund an engineering study on putting in breakwaters along Lakefront Boulevard and off the marina. “It’s long been known and studied that there’s destruction action … from waves coming from the northeast that reflect off the pier and damage boat docks and boats themselves,” said Vince DeJoy, city planning and development director, earlier this summer. “Solutions have been studied and one of the solutions that would likely result in catching those waves before they enter the harbor is detached breakwaters.”

Improvements at these locations could bring more beach space along Lakefront Boulevard as well as greater protection to the area often battered by wind-whipped waves. “This is a project that has been too expensive for the city to take on in the past,” Rosas said.

He said the system of segmented offshore breakwalls being proposed for the waters off Dunkirk are similar to what exists at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pa. Rosas expects city officials to be working with the Army Corps of Engineers on the project in the coming months.

Schumer touted improvements on the Great Lake during a visit to the city in April. “These have been long sought by the residents of Chautauqua County. Harbors like Dunkirk’s haven’t been shored up in years,” he said during the spring visit. “The sediment builds up, the rough waters — like we’re seeing today — gnaw away at the whole thing, and historic rainfalls have filled the harbor with debris and damaged much of the infrastructure that is here. When it comes to infrastructure repairs like this, the longer you wait, the worse it gets.”

OBSERVER staff writer M.J. Stafford contributed to this article.


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