Newsmaker of the month: Marina sinking lake momentum

OBSERVER Photos by M.J. Stafford Peter Smith and his wife, Tonya, describe their plans for the Dunkirk Marina at a meeting of the Dunkirk Downtown Revitalization Initiative’s local steering committee Tuesday.

As the city of Dunkirk continues to map a plan for its $10 million Downtown Reinvestment Initiative that it was awarded by state Gov. Kathy Hochul in January, a major piece of its future remains in limbo. Since July, when current marina leaseholder Peter Smith was charged in two separate incidents in the town of Sheridan, there has been an uneasy feeling about the waterfront location.

For its part, the Common Council has been way too quiet — especially in an election year. Previous leaseholder Charles Pringle was consistenly at the center of attacks by this body for items not being maintained properly or docks not being open early enough.

Those problems, all minor, probably got too much talk. Current and significant issues — as usual — have brought silence.

In early September, city attorney Michael Bobseine said Chadwick Bay Marina, LLC, was served with a 30-day default notice on its lease. “I’ve had communications with their attorney, it would appear they’re going to at least make the effort to respond to that,” said Bobseine.

Now is as good a time as ever to get this issue finalized. Dunkirk’s waterfront received rave reviews last week during a visit by Orleans County officials. Skip Draper, one of its county legislators, noted his appreciation for the area while taking in his niece’s softball tournament this summer.

“I was amazed at the crowds that were along the lakefront, and the beautiful parks and the facilities that are here, and I want our county to look at developing its lakefront in a similar manner,” he said.

Downtown has a look of struggle, especially on Central Avenue. There is, however, no questioning the energy along Lake Shore Drive during the summer when Lake Erie is popping.

That marina remains a key cog to the important season. Council members, and those who are hopeful of being elected to the legislative body, need to be more vocal on this issue.

We know this is not the simple stuff, such as banning scooters, fixing potholes or complaining about parking problems. But those elected were charged, first and foremost, with making things better.

This council over the last two years has very little to point to and say: Look what we have done to better the city. Being more engaged with the community on the marina issue would be a start.


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