CITY RIVERFRONT MANAGEMENT COUNCIL
Meeting held Tuesday, February 11, 2020
The meeting of the Riverfront Management Council of the City of Jamestown, New York, was held on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 5:30 p.m.
Those present representing the Council were:
Julia Ciesla-Hanley, Recreation Coordinator
Crystal Surdyk, City of Jamestown Principal Planner
Hannah Hornyak, Citizen
The meeting was called to order by William Stevenson.
Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting
A motion was made by John Bauer seconded by Dave Anderson to approve the minutes of the January 14, 2020 meeting. Carried.
Opportunity For Persons to Address Council
Reports of Committees and Projects
Riverwalk/Parks Commission Update: No update.
Riverwalk Stabilization Project Update: Twan Leenders thinks all the storm water retention boxes are in place with pipes connected to them to collect run-off. The next phase will be to plant those boxes with shrubs and trees in the Spring. Russ Diethrick asked what the size are the boxes. Twan said they are about as wide as a table (4 foot). Twan said they discussed doing a retention pond for the BPU to deal with snow removal and are working on the artificial marsh by Panzarella Island. He says the marsh area was “scrubbed out” and logs were put in for the turtles. Twan met with Soil & Water a couple days ago and also met with Arborist Dan Stone about placing trees the city cut down in the marsh for habitat. They had considered putting old Christmas trees in there but Twan felt they would be too dense. He said they’re still looking at floating planters. Dave Anderson said Cassie from Chautauqua Soil & Water was instrumental in getting the $30,000 for the bank restabilization work. Dave asked if there will be any money leftover for educational signage. Twan said there will be money for signage, plantings, and educational programming. He said the Roger Tory Peterson Institute will be doing walks after work is complete. He also would like to do a community planting. Dave Anderson asked what the plans are for the north shore. Twan said he received a small grant from the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Alliance to do a feasibility study on the river current. He said the harbor will be at its lowest point in April so that’s when he hopes to study the current and make a true assessment of the north shore. Twan is hoping to have enough idea of what can be done in order to apply for occupancy tax money. He said the steepness of the bank mean it will need more than just rip rap.
Wood Stakes in Basin: Bill asked what was happening with the wood stakes in the basin. Twan said with the dam closing in May, the best time to deal with those is in April when the water level is at its lowest. He plans to use canoes to access the stakes. Twan said they plan to cut the stakes down because pulling them out would have meant Department of Environmental Conservation permits. By cutting the stakes, when the water level is back up there should be a good three to four-feet of water on top. Hannah Hornyak asked why there are stakes there. Twan said when the lumber mills were operating, the stakes helped with moving the logs into the basin. Twan will be looking for 4 to 5 volunteers to help with cutting the stakes. Brent Sheldon suggested seeing what the liability is and if city crews need to be involved. Julia recommended they talk to the Parks Department too before moving forward.
Skatepark: Julia said the Request For Proposal is still being worked on. She hopes to have more information by the March RMC meeting.
Turning River Green: Bill Stevenson said the Chamber of Commerce will hold a “turning the river green” event again in March for St. Patrick’s Day. The event needs to be approved by the Public Safety committee still. M&T Bank is helping to sponsor the event.
Rail/DRI Update: Crystal Surdyk said the feasibility study on excursion rail has been completed. She said it’s not the highest caliber presentation we were looking for but her department is now working on putting together a marketing brochure that will tie in with the efforts in the Buffalo-Niagara region to improve rail. She doesn’t know what the Federal government implication is in New York State being taken off the safe travel list but we’re trying to improve USA and Canada rail travel. Bill Stevenson asked if there was any update on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding. Crystal said the city has to spend that money by the end of the year. She said the state determined that the money has to be spent within the same contract, which included streetscapes, the Riverwalk, illumination project, and work on the Warner Dam. The $675,000 scheduled for train infrastructure work will go to other projects like that with a significant amount likely going to the garbage catchment system at the Dam. Twan asked who is working on the project. Crystal said it’s herself and Kris Sellstrom from the BPU with others being brought in down the road. They’re looking at illuminating enhancements as well. Terry Horner asked if the money can be used to extend the Riverwalk west. Crystal said we can’t use DRI money for that project but she met with Lawson Marine last week and we’re looking at an easement through their property. Lawson Marine is getting architecture drawings. Dave Anderson asked where this is located and Crystal said it’s from Clifton Avenue west toward Ellery. Twan asked if the DRI funds can be used for bank restabilization or for the train bridge removal. Crystal said she didn’t believe so as the bridge outside the zone.
Bill Stevenson spoke with Rich Dixon who is on the Southern Tier Rail Authority. Rich said that the rail project wasn’t going to happen and that the report didn’t help. He said Rich said the Cherry Creek track is owned by one person and he won’t allow his equipment to be used. Bill said we can go from Jamestown to Meadville on an excursion trip this summer on a Saturday. Bill called Scott Simmons in Dunkirk who has a steam engine that can do the trip. Scott is licensed to run on rails, so we’d just need to find passenger cars to use. Bill has already talked to the Chamber of Commerce about promoting it. He wants to do it so as not to lose momentum. Crystal said they need to make sure the rail is up to passenger/Class A standards from here to Meadville or to Olean. Bill said he believes it is based on a trip from some years ago. He said Rich Dixon thought it sounded like a good project. Russ Diethrick asked if anyone has talked to Meadville or Olean about this. Bill said they haven’t yet as they’ve just been in the talking stage.
Riverwalk Event: Bill said he was asked if there was going to be another festival on the Riverwalk. Dave Anderson thinks next summer would be better when everything is in place.
Misc.: Luke Fodor and Twan Leenders have talked about doing a scavenger hunt around downtown and on the Riverwalk of bird silhouettes where people have clues with information and a storyline. Bill asked if there was anything going on with the wall below the railroad tracks. No news there. Twan said there will be an RTPI mural going up on the Pearl City Arts Building this Spring. He said there are still concerns that a mural on the Riverwalk would get vandalized. Crystal said studies have shown that this doesn’t happen.
Twan asked about work being done by the Warner Dam. Crystal said she thought the Army Corp of Engineers were replacing the gates. She recommended Twan speak with Kris Sellstrom.
Russ Diethrick asked if there were plans to extend the Riverwalk toward the east. Crystal said the city had applied for monies before she started but we were not awarded. She said it’s still a goal but we need to figure out our plan on what we’re applying for and the finding the funding sources.
Next meeting is Tuesday, March 10, 2020