Visions Of An Active Waterfront In The City Are Becoming Clear

It’s one thing to say that development projects will spur private investment. It’s another to see those words come to life.

That’s what is happening on Fluvanna Avenue, however, with word that Lawson Boat & Motor LLC is in the midst of a $1.6 million project to repair and restore a non-working marina in Ellicott and Jamestown to take advantage of existing development in Celoron and Jamestown. Bill Reynolds, consultant for Lawson Boat & Motor LLC, recently described the project to Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency board members. The IDA and Gebbie Foundation are working with the Roger Tory Peterson Institute to survey the bottom of the Chadakoin River to see what impediments exist between McCrea Point and the Comedy Center. If all goes well, restoring the marina could help pave the way for watercraft, kayaks, electric pontoons and other low-impact vessels to travel the Chadakoin River between Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake. The goal is to become a full-service, boutique concierge service for Chautauqua Lake in the boating and marina industry while including the 3.3 miles from the Warner Dam to David Hart’s Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

Reynolds jokingly referred to the river as the “Amazon Trail,” as the stretch of water, full of snakes, turtles, osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife, was enjoyed by just a few when Reynolds was a deputy sheriff in the 1970s. “Today, there are hundreds of people utilizing that river with kayaks, canoes and pontoons,” he pointed out. The marina is halfway between the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron and the National Comedy Center. Renting watercraft to venture into the river and onto the lake, possibly navigating downtown to dock and then visit the comedy center or ice arena or a restaurant, is exactly the type of spin-off development one hopes to see when hotels and other centers are built.

For decades, visions of an active waterfront in Jamestown were hard to see coming true. Much of the riverfront was overgrown and it was hard to see destinations that would draw people. The vision is getting a bit clearer now.