Land Donation Moves Project Forward

Thanks to the generosity of the Gebbie Foundation, Jamestown is setting the stage for the next phase of the Chadakoin Riverwalk project.

Ultimately, the plan is to connect the north shore of the Riverwalk with the south shore via a pedestrian bridge across the river, either onto or in the neighborhood of Panzarella Park near the BPU. The funding, through a New York state environmental protection grant, is already in hand for that, and the final design for the Riverwalk is in the process of being completed, according to Mayor Sam Teresi.

“Most of the work will be completed with DPW and parks department staff to keep costs down, although there will be components that will be contracted out, such as the concrete and paving components,” said Teresi.

Current plans for construction had hit a slight roadblock, though, with a large parcel of property stopping the city from continuing the Riverwalk to a spot on the north shore of the Chadakoin River opposite of Panzarella Park. During a City Council meeting Monday, however, Teresi explained the Gebbie Foundation was recently able to acquire that land, located near Blackstone-Ney Ultrasonics.

“We received word a few weeks ago from the Gebbie Foundation that they had successfully completed their acquisition of a pretty substantial piece of property behind Ney Ultrasonics, which runs along the north shore of the river,” said Teresi. “The Riverwalk will be running behind that building and out to the point that the property ends. The Gebbie Foundation has offered a gift to the city, not of the entire parcel, but of a 25-foot section of that property off of the river bank that will allow us to continue the Riverwalk back to the area just on the other side of the water from Panzarella Park.”

According to Mark Schlemmer, operations engineer, the parcel of land that was acquired by the Gebbie Foundation begins just west of the Washington Street Bridge and runs between the shore of the Chadakoin River and a retaining wall that was built near the railroad tracks. Prior to the purchase and subsequent gift of that property, the Riverwalk would have been a dead end at the termination of the existing property, which stops near the Washington Street Bridge.

“We will use Panzarella Park as a key connection point,” said Teresi, noting that this is an extremely significant acquisition because prior to this it was not known how the city was going to be able to take control of the property to use it for the Riverwalk. “The involvement and investment of the Gebbie Foundation is a major step forward for us.”

In addition to the gift of the land, the Gebbie Foundation has offered the city a $19,000 grant to pay for the acquisition of the materials necessary to extend the Riverwalk this summer. The 25-foot section is also in the process of being surveyed so all of the necessary legal descriptions will be available to the city.

“We’ll be able to continue right on from the point that we were going to have to stop before,” said Teresi. “This is a significant step, and I think we should all be appreciative of the Gebbie Foundation’s foresight and generosity.”