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A Look At County’s Development Projects

Since October 2020, I have been communicating with the public through this monthly article about all of the great things going on throughout Chautauqua County as they relate to economic development. These commentaries may include discussions about specific projects of public interest that are underway or have been completed, where they are at, and if completed, how they are performing. They may also include discussions about initiatives being undertaken at various agencies or at the County level, including, but not limited to, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation, the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, the Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Development, the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation, the Workforce Development Board, the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, educational institutions, foundations, or at any one of the many agencies whose mission makes them a critical partner in economic development initiatives throughout the County.

This month I wanted to share some of the new initiatives that our team and partners are seeking to launch next year and beyond. The following snapshot offers a look at a handful of the projects and initiatives developed by the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth (CCPEG) that were submitted for funding consideration through this year’s New York State Consolidated Funding (CFA) process.

Chautauqua County Craft Beverage Tourism Marketing Initiative

Applicant: Chautauqua County Regional Economic Development Corporation (CREDC)

Grant Program: Empire State Development – Market NY Regional Tourism Marketing Program

Project Description: Chautauqua County has experienced a significant increase in the number of breweries and distilleries in the past several years, with more proposed or in development. This project seeks to increase brand awareness of Chautauqua County as a tourism destination for craft beer, wine, cider, and distilled spirits by deploying a two-phased marketing strategy over two years. Task 1 includes brand development: the creation of a strategic plan and style guide; development of key messaging; logo design; tagline development; and development of tactical marketing recommendations. Task 2 includes implementation and brand rollout: website development; collateral materials; social media campaign; temporary outdoor advertising; radio advertisement; print advertising; and the implementation of other tactical marketing strategies. If awarded, this project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, Lake Erie Wine Country, and other partners.

Chautauqua County Code Enforcement Framework

Applicant: Chautauqua County

Grant Program: Department of State – Local Government Efficiency Program

Project Description: The Code Enforcement Framework project will explore specific actions necessary to study and implement consolidation, shared services, and efficiencies associated with zoning and building code administration and enforcement across Chautauqua County’s 42 municipalities. Currently, each municipality separately administers these matters, sometimes resulting in inconsistent enforcement, confusion, and unnecessary expenses. This project will consist of a review and evaluation of existing code enforcement service delivery at the county, city, town, and village levels, and will identify opportunities to enforce codes more effectively and efficiently, including through shared staff and other shared resources necessary to provide such services.

The expected outcome is a written framework for shared services among the County’s municipalities, potential cost savings, and improved code enforcement effectiveness due to any number of potential efficiencies and more consistent approaches across the County’s municipal code enforcement operations. This Framework will guide decision making of the County and its municipalities in a clear direction, benefitting County taxpayers and providing more equitable, cost-effective, and consistent code enforcement services in the County.

Countywide Housing Market Action Plan

Applicant: Chautauqua County Regional Economic Development Corporation (CREDC)

Grant Program: Department of State Environmental Protection Fund – Parks, Preservation, and Heritage Grants

Project Description: The Countywide Housing Market Action Plan will enable the county, housing agencies, municipalities, and housing developers to better understand the County’s current housing market, and develop specific housing projects that offer new housing options meant to strengthen communities and lead to further economic development opportunities. The Plan will include inventorying existing housing options, identifying significant gaps in the current housing inventory, recommending strategies to address gaps, developing techniques to improve the existing housing stock, identifying specific housing development locations and developers, pinpointing potential incentives, and prescribing actions to remove regulatory barriers. The proposed project will be designed as an instrument to attract investment and development of certain housing types in targeted areas across Chautauqua County. Specifically, a focus will be placed on highly distressed communities, concluding with ideas for improving housing conditions and options in these areas. Ultimately, this Plan is intended to encourage the development of in-demand housing types where they are needed in the County.

Chadakoin River Basin Activation

Applicant: City of Jamestown

Grant Program: Department of State – Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP)

Project Description: Consistent with the City’s 2018 LWRP and 2019 Urban Design Plan 2.0, this proposed project advances implementation of the 2021 Chadakoin River Strategic Business Plan, a blueprint for activation of the river in the city of Jamestown that addresses economic development, recreation, tourism, entertainment, education, and the environment in a comprehensive manner with the goal of maximizing visitation in the River Corridor and Basin areas. Activities have been designed for both the north and south banks of the Basin in downtown Jamestown and include a dock, welcome center, and kayak launch on the more commercially accessible south side of the Basin. The North Basin activities, which include benches, planters, play equipment, signature gardens, and a mural, build on substantial local and State investments in riverfront placemaking that include the Riverwalk, pedestrian bridges, and passive recreation space behind the National Comedy Center. Navigational improvements in both the Basin and Corridor areas of the Chadakoin will further enhance the use of both the riverfront and the waterway itself for recreational and commercial use. CREDC and CCPEG are proud to partner with the City of Jamestown, the Gebbie Foundation, the CCIDA, the Jamestown BPU, RTPI, and others on this exciting initiative.

Hartley Park Playground

Applicant: Village of Lakewood

Grant Programs: Department of State – Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) Environmental Protection Fund Parks, Preservation and Heritage Grants

Project Description: This project involves the purchase and installation of certain park implements and other improvements at Hartley Playground in the Village of Lakewood. The improvements primarily consist of a playground geared towards young children, with two “play pads” that include swings, slides, a zip line, interactive play units, tunnels, a tree house, education panels, steppers, spinners, and more. The improvements will also include features for all ages, like benches, landscaping, picnic areas, and handicapped parking. These improvements address shortcomings in the existing worn and outdated infrastructure, including ADA compliance, protection from sun exposure, and other issues. The playground is located in Hartley Park, on the shore of Chautauqua Lake, and within walking distance of several local businesses. A goal and expectation of the project is to make Lakewood more welcoming to young families and improve the quality of life within the community. The project received strong public support as it was previously identified as a priority in local planning documents. CCPEG was proud to assist the Village and the Lakewood Development Corporation on applications to both the Department of State and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

George Borrello Park Improvements

Applicant: Village of Silver Creek

Grant Program: Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation Environmental Protection Fund Grants Program for Parks, Preservation & Heritage

Project Description: Consistent with the Northern Chautauqua LWRP, this project seeks to make improvements to George Borrello Park, an existing Lake Erie waterfront park in the Village of Silver Creek. Proposed improvements include a band structure, pavilion, benches, restrooms, lighting, picnic tables, a storm water retaining paver walkway, guard rails, new playground equipment, and BBQ burners. These improvements will enable the village to not only host a wider array of events and programming, including concerts on the beach, they will also work to protect the lakeshore environment for generations to come. The project is designed to enable the Village to attract more residents and visitors to its prime Lake Erie waterfront park. CCPEG was proud to assist the Village in updating and resubmitting a 2019 CFA to the Department of State.

In addition to these projects, CCPEG, along with all of its economic development partners, assisted and/or supported more than a dozen other applications submitted by municipal partners, non-profit organizations, and businesses. We look forward to grant announcements in the coming months and to work closely with our partners to implement those project that are awarded funding.

Mark Geise is Chautauqua’s Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, and CEO of the CCIDA.

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