Collaborative Partners Present Chadakoin River Basin Plan
A plan has been created to activate the Chadakoin River from McCrea Point Park to the Warner Dam near the National Comedy Center.
On Tuesday, officials from several different entities led a tour of the Chadakoin River Basin behind the National Comedy Center along the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk to detail how the plan will attract more people, money and economic development to downtown Jamestown.
Mark Geise, Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency CEO, said five to six years ago he navigated his boat along the Chadakoin River from McCrea Point Park to the basin near the Panzarella Park and the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.
Geise enjoyed his trip down the Chadakoin so much he told Greg Edwards, Gebbie Foundation CEO, about his adventure. According to Geise, Edwards was surprised to hear that Geise was able to navigate his boat from McCrea Point Park to the Chadakoin River Basin near the Warner Dam without any issues.
Both understanding the economic development possibilities of attracting boat traffic from Chautauqua Lake to the Chadakoin River Basin, the Gebbie Foundation and the IDA partnered to fund a bathymetric survey done by Twan Leenders, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History science and conservation senior director, of the water depth from McCrea Point Park to the Chadakoin River basin in downtown Jamestown.
Leenders did a monthly analysis of the Chadakoin River water during the spring and summer of 2019 and concluded that the water is navigable by a majority of watercraft.
During Tuesday’s tour, Edwards said the Gebbie Foundation and IDA started to collaborate with other entities about collaborating on producing a plan to attract more activity to the Chadakoin River Basin. The city of Jamestown, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities and Jamestown Renaissance Corp. started to collaborate with the Gebbie Foundation and IDA to hire C&S Engineers and The Harrison Group, who developed the strategic plan.
“We’ve got a plan that (details) these are the types of projects we need to undertake,” Geise said. “This is what they look like, this is how much they cost, these are the types of funding sources we can go after to implement them and, again, it’s to capitalize our existing assets. (The plan details) what public improvements need to be made, what type of activities and festivals we should be bringing in.”
Kristy Kathman of the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth said a Consolidated Funding Application grant was submitted to the state as part of the Regional Economic Development Council program. If the application receives funding in December, possible projects along the Riverwalk and near Comedy Center Park include a signature gardens area, wall mural, tiered seating and canoes and kayak rentals.
Edwards said nearby business owners like Blackstone-Ney, Riverwalk Storage and Chautauqua Brick have also invested in the plan and are willing to work with city officials on finding new locations so more tourism-related businesses could be located along the riverfront, which might include the construction of a new restaurant.
Crystal Surdyk, city development director, said one of the next steps is to present the plan to the Jamestown Planning Commission, with hopes they will approve the plan, which would then be followed by the Jamestown City Council possibly accepting the plan as well.