Early Christmas Present

The Chautauqua Regional Water Project to consolidate municipal water supplies in the northern part of the county will receive $1 million from the state.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials in Albany announced the awards for the third year of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council. Statewide, $715.9 million was awarded, with $60.8 million appropriated toward 81 projects in Western New York. The Western New York Regional Council includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

The Chautauqua Regional Water Project will promote economic development and job retention and creation by enhancing the inadequate water systems in the region at an affordable cost, according to a press release announcing the funding. Water infrastructure is critical to many large food processors in the area.

In September, former Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards said a group of leaders have been working to develop the Chautauqua Regional Water Project since 2008. The project will open the door for expanded economic development potential, with better water resources in the north part of the county.

Edwards said he was passionate about the project after the Chautauqua County Department of Health completed a study which analyzed the current status of water systems in the Northern Chautauqua County Watershed.

”So, we looked at all those municipalities in the northern part of Chautauqua County, and it was clear they had dramatic issues that needed to be dealt with,” Edwards said in September. ”Costs were over $70 million if they individually did what they needed to do. We worked with Chadwick Bay (Regional Development Corporation) – a proven leader in coordinated regional efforts through the northern Chautauqua County municipalities – and presented a developed program where the work could be done for approximately $20 million less if they partnered together. So, it’s a better system for much less money that actually delivers municipal water to a much larger segment of the northern part of Chautauqua County, enabling economic development to take place. How could you not be passionate for the potential of such an effort?”

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi was in Albany on Wednesday during the council funding announcement. Teresi joined other members of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council to take the stage to accept the funding from the state. This was the first time Teresi attended the funding announcement.

”I was pleased and proud to be a part of the award ceremony today with the other members,” he said. ”It had a theatrical feel to it. They had us sitting close by so they could usher us onto the stage. We joked that we were at the Grammys or the Academy Awards.”

The multi-phase Greater Jamestown Riverwalk trail construction and continuation project received $499,955 through the state’s program. The next phase of the Riverwalk project is designed to create connectivity in the city with the development of new concrete sidewalk paths, branded signage trail markers, scenic vistas of the Chadakoin River with a picnic grove, playground equipment and informational kiosks. The project will pick up in the vicinity around the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities campus and will connect the Riverwalk through the city to McCrea Point.

”This is an early Christmas present. I can’t overstate how fantastic the news is for the city and the region to continue the development of the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk,” Teresi said. ”This ensures the project will move forward during the 2014 construction season, and the city has been able to come up with its in-kind match.”

Another city group also received $75,000 from the state. The Reg Lenna Civic Center received money for a new digital project system. Officials at The Reg, Lucy-Desi Museum, Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown Gateway Train Station and Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Center are working together to bring more people into Jamestown to eat, play and stay. By being able to offer a wide variety of programming,

”This is the icing on the cake for us,” Teresi said.

The $60.8 million awarded to Western New York did not make the region one of the top performers. This year, five regions identified by the state as top performers received $25 million each in the competition, and the rest competed for the balance of $25 million.

In 2011, the state created the Regional Economic Development Council program. State officials started by creating 10 regional councils which were made up of area leaders who would determine which projects were the most vital for economic success for each area. 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.

The consolidated-funding application was created in 2011 to give economic development project applicants expedited and streamlined access to a combined pool of grant money and tax credits from dozens of existing programs. There are 26 different programs from 13 state agencies where people and groups can apply for funding.

The state program in 2012 awarded $52.8 million to 58 projects in Western New York to improve local infrastructure and create jobs. Specific to Chautauqua County, more than $1.475 million was allocated during the second year of the Regional Economic Development Council program.

In 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, $785 million was awarded in 2011.

For more information on projects being funded through the regional councils, visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov/assets/documents/2013REDCBooklet.pdf.

Other local projects receiving funding include:

Randolph Area Community Development which will receive $65,493 for the McNallie Building rehabilitation project. The money will go toward the second phase of redevelopment of 112 and 114 Main Street.

The Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Economic Development will receive $65,000 to prepare a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for Northern Chautauqua County, including the city of Dunkirk; villages of Silver Creek and Westfield; and the towns of Hanover, Sheridan, Pomfret, Dunkirk, Westfield, Ripley and Portland. The project will provide a regional plan for the revitalization and protection of Lake Erie’s waterfront.

The Dunkirk Seawall and Lake Front Boulevard project will receive $449,620 from the state. The project will reconstruction the Lakefront Boulevard Seawall and redevelop the area. The existing road and seawall are important for recreational uses, to support the city’s water and sewer lines and for access to the main entrance to the city’s waste water treatment plant.

Dunkirk will also receive $341,000 to reconstruct the Lakefront Boulevard Seawall and redevelop Lakefront Boulevard into a tourist attraction.

The Lake Effect Trailbreakers will receive $192,000 to purchase groomers to maintain snowmobile trail system.

The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club will receive $139,600 for a new groomer to double the hours for available grooming and improve train maintenance for smoother and safer trails.

The village of Celoron will receive $82,845 to make improvements at Lucille Ball Memorial Park.

Westfield Academy and Central School will receive $13,500 for school consolidation assistance for Brocton and Westfield schools.

The South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District received $50,000 to complete an engineering report to determine the feasibility of consolidating the two with the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District and the Chautauqua Utility District.

Jamestown Community College will receive $99,900 to train unemployed workers as machinists.