New waterfront lot delayed until spring | News, Sports, Jobs – Evening Observer

  • September 12, 2022

Sep 12, 2022
Dunkirk is putting off construction of a new parking lot near Wright Park.
The Common Council approved a new lot on city-owned green space between Serval and Ocelot streets, where they intersect with Lakefront Boulevard. However, concerns about the lot’s site popped up from nearby residents and Councilmember Natalie Luczkowiak.
“We’ve talked to residents and out of town people about that area and found that there were some predominant feelings,” said Jim Wallace, an Ocelot Street resident. “Most people wanted to keep that area green…there was concern about, if you have a lot of parking there, and people are going to the (Beach House Grill) or the beach, they’ve gotta cross a road to get to those areas and it’s not safe.”
He added, “We should think about alternative parking areas that people don’t have to cross the street. Just looking at Google Maps, there’s probably four solid areas we could pave…and provide non-street crossing access.”
Wallace presented a petition with 85 signatures, asking the city to reconsider the site of the new lot, to the council.
Luczkowiak spent a chunk of her report time on backing the reconsideration.
“Of course, safety is of utmost importance and warrants more parking and everyone wants safety,” she said. “However, neighbors in the area of Serval and Ocelot, as well as many others including myself, wish that we don’t rush into this effort and instead explore options, because we have options.”
She called for city officials to “go forth with a serious thought on the placement of the parking lot and not a quick decision. We can have everything — we can have more parking and the respect of Dunkirk taxpayers — if we can have some thoughtful planning.”
Luczkowiak asked for updates on the issue. Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury responded he has met with residents of the area to hear their concerns. “Additionally, Mayor Rosas tasked me to make sure we plan it very carefully and that everybody knows what the ideas are. We won’t do anything at all until we have a plan. We’re not even there yet.”
Woodbury said most people in the area agree there should be more parking nearby.
Luczkowiak originally wanted the approval of the lot rescinded or amended, to clarify that it would not be on the plot between Serval and Ocelot streets.
However, City Attorney Richard Morrisroe said that is not necessary, because asphalt-making season is almost over and there is no plan in place for the lot. “You’re looking at spring of 2023 at the earliest for this parking lot to be done, wherever we decide it goes,” he said.
Morrisroe also tried to clear up a misconception about the Serval/Ocelot green space: he said there are no deed restrictions on the plot.
“We have some months,” he concluded. “We’re not putting shovels in the ground just yet. My guess is we’ll have some internal discussions to try and reach some consensus, and we’ll probably present those to the public at some point in a public meeting, before a plan is finally approved.”
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