Beach Bash likely a victim of construction

While the weather lately has seemed more like winter than summer, plans are in the making for the city of Dunkirk’s festivals and events which will begin in May.

The Dunkirk Festivals Committee is scheduled to meet today at 3:30 p.m. in the City’s Development Department conference room on the second floor of the Stearns Building to continue its work on those summer events.

One of the items on the agenda will be the possible cancellation of the Beach Bash, one of the major events of past summers. Held in Wright Park, the committee may decide to cancel the Bash for the year due to the construction of the Lake Front Boulevard seawall, which is planned for this year.

Plans are being drawn up by Nussbaumer and Clarke Inc., with actual construction work awaiting final grant approval from the state.

Mayor Anthony J. Dolce explained the event will likely be canceled for “logistical reasons.”

“We’ll have a firm answer by the end of the week, but it’s looking that way due to the seawall construction,” Dolce said Tuesday after the Common Council meeting.

During the meeting, Director of Public Works Tony Gugino said the city is waiting on a letter from the state Department of State that will allow the city to go to bid on the project.

“We’ve been ready to bid for three months, but with news of all the grant money that was coming forward subsequent to the original design being done, … we’re on hold waiting for this documentation,” he explained. ” … If we get this letter … we will be allowed by the state to go and advertise for bids. The plans are ready, the engineers are ready.”

Dolce was later asked if there was any concern the project may miss this year’s building season.

“I’m optimistic that this will get done this year. The point being we had that great news we’re receiving a wonderful amount of grant money,” he replied. “The grant says we need this letter before you go out to bid, then we’re going to wait until we get that letter. If that pushes us back a little longer than we want to, so be it, But as soon as that letter comes in, our engineers continue to work on the planning and design, so once that letter comes in we go out to bid.”

The current seawall will be replaced with a gravity wall composed of 6,000 pound pre-cast concrete blocks. In addition, proper drainage is part of the plan, along with the amenities, such as the completion of Phase 3 of the city’s bike path and improved lighting.

Council would have to award the bids in a resolution Dolce explained, adding the amenities that will eventually come with the project will not be done until 2015; this year it’s the seawall, and subsequent road repair.

“That’s going to be significant,” Dolce said of the road repair. “We have, I want to say, about $100,000 dedicated to road repair when the seawall is done,” he stated, adding if the grant does not cover the road repairs the city will bond for the rest of the funding, unless another grant can be found.

“We may be doing that in October, but it’s all going to be worth it,” he said of the road repair.

Send comments to gsnyder@observertoday.com