Gowanda Gateway Park to receive $500K, other projects awarded grants

Various area projects, including Phase 3 of the Gowanda Zoar Valley Gateway Park and two area snowmobile clubs’ requests, have been awarded more than $1 million total from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s third round of state grant funding.

A half a million dollars will be given to the volunteer-based Gowanda Area Redevelopment Corporation for its plans to initiate park construction at the former Peter Cooper Superfund Site. The result of the project (which will include parking lot construction, installation of asphalt walkway and perimeter cable fencing and the purchase and planting of landscape elements) will be a recreational park positioned on Cattaraugus Creek that will serve as the gateway to the state-owned Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area and conservation site.

“That’s really encouraging and we’re pretty excited,” Michael Hutchinson of GARC said after learning of the funding. “We also just got $204,000 in casino money from the county legislature, as well. We see recreational sport as a major economic driver in Cattaraugus County. It’s really exciting and encouraging to see this collaboration between government entities and regulatory agencies result in something good for the people that live here.”

Hutchinson said the entire Gateway Park project will cost $2.8 million based on design estimates.

In addition, the Gowanda Hollywood Theater will be awarded $166,600 for a multi-phase restoration project. Once completed, the theater will be a regional, multi-use facility for the visual and performing arts, thus creating several local jobs within the next few years.

“We are ecstatic we received this funding,” Mark Burr, president of the theater, said. “In fact, bids are out now for a project with some plaster work on the ceiling, HVAC system, ventilation, and other improvements in that building, and this (grant) will be a perfect match for some of those things so we can expand the scope of work and get done what we need to do. We were concerned that without this grant, we were a little tight dollar-wise, so this will help us to do all the things we need to do.”

“The Zoar Valley Gateway Park and the restoration of the historic Hollywood Theater are projects which upon their completion will lend to positive changes within the scope of our community,” Gowanda Mayor Heather McKeever said in an email. “Credit should be given to all the dedicated volunteers who have believed in the vision of these grassroots efforts. Their hard work and determination over the years have made such progress possible and the awarding of these funds prove how worthwhile these projects are to the village of Gowanda and surrounding communities.”

The Lake Effect Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club of Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club Inc. will both receive grant money for two new trail groomers to effectively maintain their trail systems. Trailbreakers will get $192,000 while Chautauqua Lake will get $139,600. The groomers will help double the hours for available grooming and improve trail maintenance for smoother and safer trails.

“I’m thrilled! That’s incredible!” Ray Head, president of the Chautauqua County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, said after finding out about the grants. “All the snowmobile clubs in the county are absolutely elated that they’re going to add to our fleet of 25 of these groomers, many of which are used. This will give us a better chance to make better trails for those people that live here and snowmobile, and those who come to our county to enjoy snowmobiling. Snowmobilers support their own sport. We don’t take tax dollars, normally.”

Jamestown Community College is receiving $100,000 to help train 21 long-term unemployed workers as machinists. The training is to include instruction in mathematics and reading; lean manufacturing; engineering drawings and AutoCAD; 10-hour courses with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; machine theory and operation; computerized numerical control; manufacturing drawings; geometric dimensioning and tolerancing; and machine tool technology.

The Westfield Academy and Central School District and the Brocton Central School District are being awarded a total of $13,500 for assistance with expenses related to the recent school merger referendum. These funds will reimburse the schools for items such as legal notices, public outreach and development and dissemination of public information.

A total of $60.8 million was awarded to 81 projects in Western New York by the state.

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