Newsmaker of the month: Popularity play backfires with Dunkirk grants
City residents or visitors to Dunkirk do not need a magnifying glass to see the deteriorating conditions that surround the north-county municipality. According to the U.S. Census, poverty rates are 24%.
Frankly speaking, the need is great.
So why in the world would the Dunkirk Common Council believe that Community Development Block Grant funding for scoreboards and other items at the Wright Park complex for the Little League would be worth $20,400? How can serious needs, such as families and children needing food and those living in dilapidated housing, be cut to pay for youth baseball?
There was only one way to describe it: politics by council members whose agenda does not mirror the serious problems facing Dunkirk. Look around downtown? Is a new scoreboard going to revitalize the city?
No. New housing — and programs to help residents improve their lives — will as well as investments in infrastructure, such as the newly remodeled Dunkirk Pier.
Fortunately, Dunkirk Little League rescinded its application. It was the big boy in all of this.
That means other needy organizations — and deserving projects — will be receiving a bit more money through the block grant program. Those include: the city Lake Shore Complete Streets project; upgrades at Point Gratiot and the Firemen’s Grounds; the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation (CHRIC) emergency roof repair program in Dunkirk; and the city’s sidewalk replacement and repair program to name a few.
Money for the Little League, a worthy organization, will come from where it is supposed to: the Bill Cease Fund. The former owner of Cease’s Commissary donated hundreds of thousands to the city before he died, specifying that it be used for recreational projects.