Celoron Denied Regional Council Money

CELORON – The plan for a boardwalk and improvements to Lucille Ball Memorial Park will receive no funding help from the state.

Last month, it was announced the village would not be receiving any money from the state’s Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. The state program did award $52.8 million to 58 other projects in Western New York to improve local infrastructure and create jobs. Specific to Chautauqua County, more than $1.475 million was allocated from the second year of the Regional Economic Development Council program.

The economic development strategy was implemented for the first time in 2011. The plan created 10 regional councils, which were made up of area leaders who would determine what projects were the most vital for economic success. The councils then applied for state funding under a new consolidated funding formula, which made projects eligible for grant money and tax credits. The combined pool of funding totaled around $738 million for 2012.

In December 2011, it was reported Western New York received $100.3 million from the program. Chautauqua County received $5.2 million as a result of the first year’s consolidated funding application. Statewide, $800 million was awarded in 2011.

John Keeney, Celoron mayor, said he is unhappy Western New York received considerably less in 2012 than what it did the previous year.

”I think it is frustrating how little money was awarded in Western New York,” he said. ”I’m disappointed that the mass of geography west of Syracuse and Binghamton received such little funding.”

Keeney said he believes the plan for waterfront revitalization in Celoron is a project the council should help fund. The revitalization’s implementation committee decided the first step in the plan should be to construct a boardwalk in the park, and to make other improvements.

The waterfront revitalization plan stems from the $36,000 in state funding village officials received in January 2010. The grant was used toward a development plan for a waterfront project around Lucille Ball Memorial Park. With around 700 square feet of waterfront property at the park and 1,500 square feet of lakeshore property near the park, an economic development project is an ideal way to encourage more tourism, officials have said.

Keeney said Celoron officials received a letter explaining they can be told why the village’s project was not selected.

”We will take the opportunity to be debriefed and find out why we fell short,” he said. ”We will determine where we failed and why we failed, and make changes. We have not lost our determination to do the project.”

Keeney said the only funding avenue he knows for the waterfront project is from the regional council.

”A municipality our size can’t afford to do a project like this without assistance from the state,” he said.

The following projects are receiving funding from the state’s Western New York Regional Economic Development Council:

$150,000 for Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. Westfield Main Street Project

Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. will renovate eight buildings in the village of Westfield. The award will be used for interior and exterior renovations to the eight units. Streetscape enhancements will also be made with funding.

$250,000 for the city of Dunkirk Main Street Program

The city of Dunkirk will renovate seven buildings in its business district. The award will be used for the renovation of seven units, and a streetscape improvement project.

$350,000 for Dunkirk Bioenergy LLC Dunkirk Bioenergy Power Generation Project

This project is designed to take advantage of the industrial organic waste stream that exists in a small circumference around the facility site to receive and process organic waste for power generation.

$250,000 for Lopper North America LLC Manufacturing Low-Emissions Wood-Fired Boilers

Lopper North America will purchase new manufacturing equipment for metal cutting, bending and welding operations necessary for production of the new generation of low-emissions, wood-fired boiler technology.

$375,000 for the village of Bemus Point – Design and Construction of Village of Bemus Point Streetscape Improvements

The village of Bemus Point will design and construct infrastructure improvements including sidewalks and curbs, paving, lighting, landscaping, street furnishings, crosswalk improvements, and wayfinding signage along Lakeside Drive and Main Street in downtown Bemus Point. The project will provide safer access for pedestrians and drivers, support the commercial district and enable expansion of public events by accommodating seasonal visitors whose business is vital to the local economy.

$99,900 for Jamestown Community College – Advanced Manufacturing Machinists Training Program

Jamestown Community College will train 27 unemployed workers as machinists.