Dunkirk Better housing key to ‘vibrancy’

On a much smaller scale, Dunkirk has some similarities to Buffalo. It is a city on Lake Erie that was built on the back of a manufacturing sector that included steel and railroads.

Buffalo, however, has started to turn it around. It started on the waters — especially at Canalside that followed with plenty of private investment. With the announcement of $10 million in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative last week, Dunkirk now sets its sights on some major projects.

One of those includes housing. As part of the proposal that was accepted by the Empire State Development council is a new development on Washington Avenue along the 200 block. Besides the Chadwick Bay Lofts, there is the former Flickinger site that the city ridiculously purchased nearly a decade ago. It’s been an albatross ever since.

This project, however, offers an option for more residential and upscale living in the future that has a proximity to the waters — that includes the troubled city-owned site. “As a planner, what you’re always trying to achieve in a downtown urban area is vibrancy,” said Vince DeJoy, Dunkirk planning and development director. “Vibrancy is basically having people on the street.”

DeJoy noted Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo as an area with “housing that’s right behind all of that commercial development in there … you make it walkable and that adds vibrancy.”

A lack of foot traffic in the city currently hinders potential development and energy. Upscale apartments within the north county region are lacking. Attempting to place them near the lake — and downtown — is a strong formula in this plan.


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