Local officials gathered for a celebration, albeit brief, Tuesday afternoon at McCrea Point’s boat landing.
Phase VI of the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk groundbreaking was dampened by a severe thunderstorm that passed through the city. Despite the inclement weather, a couple dozen guests gathered at the boat landing for the event as lightning flashed and the rolling thunder led to many in attendance nervously laughing about their predicament.
“Coming out in this weather is a testament to the project,” said Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown.
Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, joked about his office’s ill-timed planning of the groundbreaking.
“Who planned this at this time, on this day?” Teresi asked.
Phase VI of the Riverwalk is designed to create Riverwalk connectivity throughout the city. 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.
“The Riverwalk Trail is a great project that will make Jamestown an even more attractive community to live in and raise a family,” said state Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean. “New York state and Jamestown are working together to keep this quality-of-life initiative moving forward into the next phase. Like everyone in Jamestown, I eagerly look forward to its completion and the tremendous addition it will be for our city.”
In December, the city received $499,955 from the state for Phase VI of the Riverwalk. The local match for the project is $249,847, with a total for Phase VI being $749,802. The project will rehabilitate and reconstruct nearly 3 miles of existing walkways along Jones and Gifford Avenue and Steele, Third, Lafayette and Washington streets. New asphalt paths will be constructed around the perimeter of McCrea Point Boat Landing as well as from West Third Street to Jones and Gifford Avenue along the east side of the Chadakoin River.
“The Western New York Regional Development Council has been hard at work facilitating the growth of our tourism products and public space throughout the region and we will continue that work,” said Howard Zemsky, WNYREDC co-chair and Larkin Development Group managing partner. “This Greater Jamestown Riverwalk Trail is a much applauded concept that will connect all areas of the city and lead to a sustainable, healthy and attractive asset for Jamestown when fully complete.”
There will be new signage along the Riverwalk, including map kiosks and storyboards describing the history of the Chadakoin River and Jamestown. Scenic vistas will be constructed along Steele Street, near the Third and Sixth street bridges, as well as along the east side of the river, between East Third Street and Jones and Gifford Avenue. There will be new playgrounds installed in the vista on Steele Street near the Third Street Bridge and McCrea Point Boat Landing. New wood decking will be installed at McCrea Point and Panzarella Park. A stairway will be built near the Sixth Street Bridge to connect the Riverwalk to Jones and Gifford Avenue and West Third Street. The entire Riverwalk will also be Americans With Disabilities Act handicapped-accessible.
“I applaud the WNYREDC for recognizing the importance of the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk Trail to Jamestown’s economy and quality of life,” said Rose Harvey, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Local trails and recreational facilities are building blocks of economically vibrant, livable communities.”
Along with the new additions to the Riverwalk, McCrea Point will be renovated. The project will include installing a 1,300-square-foot concrete pad along the water at the northeast edge of the park. The gravel parking lot will be changed to asphalt with 48 marked parking spaces, including handicapped spots. New park amenities will be installed like picnic tables, park benches, trash cans, charcoal grills and dog stations. The existing park pavilion will be upgraded and new American With Disabilities Act handicapped accessible playground equipment will be installed. New candlestick lights will be installed along the path, in the parking lot and near the dock. The existing wooden dock will be replaced with a new frame and deck. There will also be a new “McCrea Point Park” sign installed.
“Take a good look around because it will look very different next year at this time,” Teresi said.