CITY RIVERFRONT MANAGEMENT COUNCIL
Meeting held Tuesday, July 14, 2020
The meeting of the Riverfront Management Council of the City of Jamestown, New York, was held on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 5:30 p.m.
Those present representing the Council were:
Julia Ciesla-Hanley, Recreation Coordinator
Dan Stone, City Arborist
Crystal Surdyk, Department of Development Director
Greg Edwards, Gebbie Foundation Chief Executive Officer
The meeting was called to order by William Stevenson.
Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting
There was not a quorum so minutes will be brought forward for approval at the August meeting.
Opportunity For Persons to Address Council
Greg Edwards: It’s good to see the transition here of the Riverwalk. Any city would love to have this river running through. Like the Cabella’s effect, the Chadakoin River can be a major catalyst for growth and we should be working to connect the city to the river wherever possible. The Chadakoin from the south basin of Chautauqua Lake to this river basin could be a huge economic inflow to the city. The Gebbie Foundation and the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency hired Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s Twan Leenders to do the river survey from the Warner Dam to beyond McCrea Point Park. Twan did measurements of the depth of the water, depth of silt, and of any impediments that may be in the river. He also did a detailed study about the water levels. The main thing he found it is that the Chadakoin River is capable of being navigated by boat from the Lake to the Dam. 80% of vessels could make it down with virtually no impediments other than a couple deltas. It just needs to be activated. Greg said the next step taken was to form a strategic partnership with the city of Jamestown, IDA, BPU and Gebbie Foundation and put out an RFP with $50,000 of local business investment. C&S Engineers with the Harris Group were hired to create a strategic business plan for what exists on the river and staged actions that can be taken to improve the riverfront. There have been ongoing conversations with Chautauqua Brick to relocate that business to better utilize that location. Other conversations with businesses along the river have taken place too but we also need businesses that would replace anyone that is relocated. River recreation activity can include paddle boats and kayaks. The Gebbie Foundation has property on the north shore of the walk which could be the best space to create our version of Canalside. This business plan has that with suggestions of gardens, beer garden, picnic area. The plan addresses parking issues and has the idea of using a water taxi to get people from the Lake down into the river basin. There is also a plan for creating a trash collecting system on the river before the Warner Dam. Docking for boats is being looked at. The Board of Public Utilities is doing its own study on how to eliminate runoff near the “narrows”/Sprague Street Bridge. Greg said the draft of the plan will be finalized this week. This is normally when a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) would be submitted to NYS but everything is different this year. The City owns a lot of the land between here and McCrea Point Park. The final version of the plan will have details about nature on the river, description of the riverfront, implementation guidelines, cost estimates, and the anticipated schedule of projects. The study also calls for making Panzarella Park a natural preserve.
Dave Anderson asked if the possibilities of excursion trains is included in the plan. Greg said it’s not in this plan but that had been looked at. The rails don’t have the capacity to handle more than limited use.
Russ Diethrick asked if there were plans for east of North Main Street. Greg said the first effort will be from Warner Dam to Chautauqua Lake but there are great possibilities and interest about the Chadakoin River east of the Dam. He said kayakers are very interested and there are opportunities. Russ asked how they plan to bring 10,000 people to the Riverwalk like what you see at Canalside. Greg said like Canalside, we’ll build on what’s already here with small group activities where people will spread the word and that will help bring more people to the area.
Julia requested that when the final study is completed that it be sent to her so it can be distributed to the rest of the RMC. Greg said this was the plan as they want as many people to read it as possible.
Reports of Committees and Projects
Riverwalk/Parks Commission Update: Dan Stone said all plants on the south shore have been installed. The group doing the riverbank restabilization work hired a company out of Buffalo who put in native honeysuckle along the riprap. This will grow over the rocks, look good, and provide turtle habitat. These plantings are Phase 2 of the project. Some of the concrete planters have all native plant material installed. Dan spoke with EcoStrategies and they will be doing more work with the containers. He hopes the growth will help with erosion. Dave Anderson asked if this is the time of year we normally do plantings. Dan said it’s not but things were delayed and there’s a water maintenance plan in place to make sure what’s planted can thrive. Landscape fabric also will be put down. He said they will put more rock down to raise it up to the bevel edge of the containers to avoid injuries for people and to help hold in moisture. More aquatic plants will be going in and on the north shore as well. This is a bed tax funded project. The gravel areas at the back o Panzarella Park will be permeable pavement with pipe put in to filter run-off from the lot. Service berry trees will be planted to create a “green fence.” Dan said access will be kept for future activities.
Lighting/Illumination: Crystal said City Council just approved the contract for Phase 1 of the project but there is an issue with DOT that needs to be resolved first. There’s a chance the project might need to be redesigned and rebid and she’s not sure on the timetable for that. We talked about pole projects for the bridge. We were able to lay conduit for lighting at the least and it looks like 2021 for the project to be completed. Dave Anderson expressed concern that people don’t think the Riverwalk is safe at night. Crystal and Dan both said the activity on the Riverwalk has been positive with no problems. Crystal said in Phase 2 of the lighting project, the illumination of the BPU silo will be enhanced. Phase 1 is the two bridges for illumination.
Riverwalk Closure: Dan said starting tomorrow the Riverwalk will be closed from North Main Street to Panzarella Island Park. The NYS DEC is doing work on the Warner Dam, which will hopefully be done either by the end of 2020 or by Spring 2021.
Misc.: Dave Anderson asked if there was news about a garbage catchment system. Crystal said there is money from the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) for that. They have reached out to a company through BPU’s Kris Sellstrom and are hoping for progress in Spring 2021. She said they’re not sure what form the system will take but are looking at various possibilities.
Dave asked if anything will be planted in the green strip between the Riverwalk and the BPU parking lot fence. Dan said no and that the catch basins will be doing the work of catching run-off. No other trees are being planted in this round but more could go in later. He’s had to put safety guards on the trees that were planted because the beavers have already tried to get at them.