By Dennis Phillips
LAKEWOOD - More renovations may soon becoming to Chautauqua Avenue in Lakewood.
Photo by Dennis Phillips
The clock tower along Chautauqua Avenue in Lakewood is pictured. The clock tower was added during the Lakewood Community Development Corporation project to revamp the look of the historic street. Lakewood officials are talking about doing some new renovations to building facades, curbs and sidewalks, and trees along the street.
Lakewood officials have been discussing revamping the look of the historic street, again. About 10 years ago, the Lakewood Community Development Corporation raised money through private and public donations to renovate the look of the street. Now a decade later, Lakewood officials believe renovations are needed again for some areas of the street.
During a Lakewood Village Board meeting on Aug. 26, David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor, and David DiSalvo, Lakewood trustee, discussed a meeting they had with Bill Evans, Lakewood Community Development Corporation president. Wordelmann said the development group has some money left from the first renovation project that could be used toward another venture to beautify the street. The mayor said with some matching money from the village and possibly some state grants, building facades could be improved.
"We want to work again on attracting more businesses," he said.
DiSalvo said he will also look into working with the state to see if the avenue could be considered a special historic district.
When contacted by The Post-Journal, Evans said, since it has been about 10 years, the avenue could be redone to be brought back up to condition.
"We probably could do some painting, clean the curbs and walkways, and plant a few new trees," he said. "If we can bring it back to the condition it was in 10 years ago, we probably can bring more businesses to downtown Lakewood."
After cleaning the street, Evans said improving building facades would probably be the next step to a new renovation project. He said the Lakewood Community Development Corporation has about $30,000 left from the first project.
From 1999 to 2002, Evans said the development group raised $2.5 million from private and public sources to be used toward the first revamping project.
"Most of the money we raised was private, about $1.5 million," he said. "It was interesting, once we raised that much private money, then the public money became available. The $2.5 million was used to completely restore Chautauqua Avenue from Route 394 to the lake.''
During the first project, Evans said one of the main projects was to remove telephone pools lining the avenue and to bury or move the lines so they would no longer be seen along the street. Then trees were planted, curbs were refurbished and building facades were renovated.
"We started with an original design concept that was prepared by an architect after hosting a number of village meetings to get the input of villagers. Once we had a consensus, we started implementing the plan," he said. "By doing this, we created an appealing environment for business to come in. Since the project, there are probably 20 to 30 new businesses that came because of the restored avenue."
Evans said some of the new businesses included Community Bank, Lakewood Apothecary and the Scallion Bistro. Besides new business, the project also led to the clock tower in the middle of the avenue.
"We wanted to do something that was different, something special," he said. "That occurred near the end of the project, but it was an important part."
Evans said the first renovation project couldn't have been done without the late Lakewood Mayor Anthony Caprino.
"I worked very closely with Tony. We became very good friends through this effort," Evans said. "He was a leader. He was soft-spoken, but he saw what we could accomplish if we restored the avenue. It took his vision to make those changes for the betterment of Lakewood."