Fredonia to mull over waterfront plan

The Fredonia Village Board was presented with a possible method to invest in the area’s economy at Monday night’s meeting.

During the workshop session, Northern Chautauqua County Local Economic Development Committee Chair Jay Warren presented the group’s local waterfront revitalization plan (LWRP) to the board.

Warren said the LWRP is intended to promote economic development along the Lake Erie watershed by taking advantage of natural resources available in the area while protecting them and reducing any environmental impact. Money awarded for the plan would go toward projects like dredging, waterfront restoration and water quality improvements.

“Just to give an example, a plan was done for Chautauqua Lake that resulted in almost a million dollars worth of investment going into the community surrounding the lake,” said Mark Geise of the Chautauqua County Depart-ment of Planning and Economic Development.

“The fact that they would guarantee the process up until state approval before we have to pay them says a lot about the plan to me,” said Trustee Susan Mackay, who was involved with creating the LWRP the first time around in 2003, which was dropped after the Department of State told the committee it needed to be revised before consideration. “The work was done in 2003, and I don’t think the area has changed too much in regards to the flood plain.”

Mackay said the cost to the village in contributing to completing the plan would be $2,000.

She said she expects a resolution to approve the plan will be on the agenda within the next couple of board meetings.

According to Warren, eight out of the 12 local governments he has presented to around the area have passed resolutions to sign on to the project.

Last year, $15 million was awarded to 66 projects in New York state that were similar to the proposed LWRP. Communities that are awarded money are required to match the amount given to them for their projects.

“We’re all looking for outside funding, and you don’t see 50 percent project funding that often anymore … so we can all help and support each other in this project, whether it be tourism or infrastructure,” said Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. Executive Director Kathy Tampio, who is helping with the LWRP. “A regional approach will fit a lot together.”

Also during the workshop, Jeff Davis, a resident of University Park, presented a petition to the board to commence condemnation proceedings for an abandoned property at 28 University Park.

“There’s been a large infestation of mold,” said Davis. “It’s just a liability to the neighboring properties and it certainly devalues the properties there.”

“I agree with the condition, but the property is in the process of foreclosure,” said Village Attorney Samuel Drayo.

Drayo said he will look into getting the Department of Health involved in the matter. He said it would be a long process to demolish the property, but it would be a matter of months, not years.

The board also passed a resolution to authorize purchase of a brand new custom pumper vehicle for the Fredonia Fire Department, costing about $500,000. The fire department provided a letter to the board, promising to pay for half of the total cost of the vehicle. Trustee Marc Ruckman was the only one to vote against the resolution.

The board also passed a resolution to accept a resignation letter from Ronald Johnson as acting Justice of Fredonia, effective immediately. Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe said Johnson would like to focus on running for the office of Chautauqua County executive.

As a result, the board appointed lifelong Fredonia resident Nancy Dietzen to replace Johnson, at the recommendation of Village Justice David Prince, until April. Dietzen has a private law practice in Fredonia.

The next regular meeting for the Fredonia Board is scheduled for June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in village hall.

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