There was a time in its history when Celoron was a hub of lakefront tourist activity.
Its Phoenix Ferris Wheel, toboggan slides, Hotel de Celoron and Greyhound rollercoaster were as recognizable on Chautauqua Lake in the early 1900s as Chautauqua Institution's iconic clock tower is now.
Those days are but a memory now, but it doesn't have to be that way. The village does have more than 2,000 feet of public access lakefront with a 7-acre public park. Lucille Ball Memorial Park has a boat launch, lighthouse, band shell, pavilion, picnic area, playground and a community center, while Celoron is also home to several marinas. Celoron officials are also working diligently to make sure the village's valuable lakefront property is put to good use.
CB Richard Ellis recently held a call for offers for the property at 10 Dunham Ave., Celoron, where the Celoron Amusement Park was located from 1894 to 1962. That property includes 1,300 feet of lakefront property. The village has had a moratorium on land development in the area dealing with the waterfront revitalization project while the village updates its zoning codes to ensure whoever buys the property will use it to enhance the quality of the lakefront property for the whole community.
At the same time, Jamestown is looking to partner with Celoron on a project to extend the Chadakoin Riverwalk from McCrae Point Park to Lucille Ball Memorial Park. That partnership puts even more importance on Celoron's ongoing efforts to redevelop its slice of Chautauqua Lake waterfront. The village is also looking for funding in the next round of grants to pay for construction of a boardwalk in the park, and for other park improvements.
It's encouraging to see village officials acting so proactively. With some luck, the focus on waterfront development in the village will return Celoron to its heyday as a tourist attraction - a development that benefits not only Celoron, but the entire southern end of Chautauqua Lake.