Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean) announced last week that critically-needed dredging projects in Chautauqua County will be able to go forward thanks to $300,000 she has secured.
"With the county's harbors and waterways in tremendous need of dredging right now, this grant is great news for taxpayers and residents. The current condition of our harbors and waterways has contributed to damaging flooding and related problems. This funding lifts a significant burden from local taxpayers, who will not have to bear the brunt of the costs, yet will still be able to see these important projects completed.
"The importance of our harbors and waterways to tourism and recreation is also immense. Dredging will provide a valuable economic boost due to the increased tourism, boating, and fishing that will result along the Lake Erie waterfront," said Senator Young.
The county's harbors and waterways generate millions of dollars every year in economic activity, translating into thousands of local jobs and related development.
The $300,000 of funding secured by Senator Young will be evenly split among Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, the Town of Hanover, and the City of Dunkirk, with each receiving $100,000 for their dredging projects.
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell said, "The overall funding for these projects are a combination of federal, state, and local funds. Without meaningful bipartisan cooperation by every level of government, these important projects would not move forward. I was pleased to vote for this portion of the State budget, and even more pleased that Senator Young was able to obtain a specific allocation for these critical projects. I commend all of our partners for their joint efforts together to improve Chautauqua County."
Barcelona Harbor includes a federal channel already being dredged next month at no cost to the state or local governments due to the fact that its maintenance is under the purview and responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
But for necessary dredging in the non-federal recreational channels at Barcelona Harbor and in Hanover and Dunkirk, the burden would have fallen entirely on local governments and their taxpayers without the help from the state provided by Senator Young.
In addition, with the Army Corps of Engineers' large, heavy, and expensive to transport dredging equipment already scheduled to be in the region this summer, it was a valuable opportunity to also get other critical dredging projects done at the same time at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible.
Westfield Town Supervisor Martha Bills said, "We are thrilled with the good news that the Town of Westfield will receive $100,000 from New York State for dredging Barcelona Harbor as a result of Senator Cathy Young's efforts on our behalf. We are fortunate to be able to improve access to Lake Erie and fortunate to have a senator who appreciates the importance of maintaining our Lake Erie harbors."
Senator Young said that the work to secure dredging funds and help projects get underway this summer was a full team effort, with Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, County Executive Vince Horrigan, and County Legislator George Borrello all working together with local municipalities in the best interests of county residents.
"In light of the ongoing flooding that has ravaged our region, it is clear that these crucial dredging projects need to be done as soon as possible. I commend all of the local and county officials who have already been working hard for months making preparations for dredging. I look forward to seeing this funding put to work and for dredging to begin soon," said Senator Young.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan said, "I applaud Senator Young for her assistance in finding the funds necessary to open up our Lake Erie recreational boating harbors. Tourism is an essential economic driver during our summer season, and the boating and fishing that takes place in our harbors must have the appropriate water depth. The assistance from Senator Young will allow us to get the job done."
County Legislator George Borrello, Commissioner of the Lake Erie Management Commission as well as Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee, said, "On behalf of all of the communities along the Lake Erie shoreline in our county, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Senator Young for securing this funding. She has been actively engaged with us in our efforts to accomplish the critically needed dredging in our harbors. She has recognized, from the beginning, the economic impact and public safety implications of this sediment build-up in Lake Erie."