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Monday, May 08, 2006

Chautauqua Lake Revitalization Plan Awaits Approval From Two More Boards

By PATRICK L. FANELLI

5/8/2006 - It’s been on the drawing board for more than five years — a comprehensive plan for the revitalization of the Chautauqua Lake waterfront.Now, a draft copy of the nearly 300-page document awaits only the approval of two more municipal boards before it can be submitted to the state and sent back for final adoption.‘‘In the end, it will provide a framework for what the community would like to do,’’ said Don McCord, a planner with the county Planning and Economic Development Department. ‘‘It will help them realize their vision for their community.’’The draft copy of the Lake Waterfront Revitalization Plan includes a list of projects for each of the nine municipalities along Chautauqua Lake and a comprehensive inventory of each municipality’s lakefront resources — such as parks, landmarks and scenic overlooks. For instance, part of Lakewood’s plan includes the following projects: enlarging the beach and constructing a dock at Richard O. Hartley Park on Terrace Avenue; improving the boat launch at Lakewood Community Park on Summit Street; upgrading stormwater systems to prevent pollutants from entering Chautauqua Lake; and promoting the walking tour program through historic Lakewood.‘‘I think the underlying goal for all communities is to utilize the limited resources along the waterfront in such a way as to promote economic growth without compromising character,’’ McCord said.The project began in 2000. According to McCord, county planners worked with community members and municipal officials to develop a list of waterfront resources and objectives over the following two years.But then there were delays.‘‘We had some disruptions,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s been the slow process of fitting this into our workloads.’’A draft copy was completed by spring 2004 and was sent to the state for review. Once it returned, Planning Department officials sent it back to the public and the nine municipal boards.‘‘It’s not adopting it,’’ McCord said. ‘‘It’s just accepting it as a complete document.’’According to McCord, if each of the nine town and village boards accept it as a rough draft, it will be sent to the office of Christopher Jacobs, acting state Secretary of State. At that point, 75 state agencies will have 60 days to review it and then return it to the Planning Department’s offices on Harrison Street.It is then that town and village board members will make the decision whether to officially adopt it, he said.McCord explained the LWRP will serve two purposes. It will provide communities with a blueprint for developing the waterfront and it will also make state funding available for those projects.‘‘An LWRP presents a unified vision; it, therefore, increases a community’s chances to obtain public and private funding for projects,’’ states the state Department of State Web site. ‘‘Funding for both the development and implementation of Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs is available from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, among other sources.’’The draft LWRP needs the approval of Celoron and Lakewood village board members before it can be sent to the state for review. The other seven municipalities are the towns of Chautauqua, North Harmony, Busti, Ellicott, Ellery and the villages of Bemus Point and Mayville.For more information on the state Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, go to www.nyswaterfronts.com/aboutus_LWRP.aspSend comments to pfanelli@post-journal.com

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