Pictured (l to r): Gary Padak, Erin Brickley, and Walt Pickut
John Lloyd announced, Executive Director, Erin Brickley, Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance (CLWMA). Erin is originally from Falconer and returned here 5 years ago to take the current Executive Director position at CLWMA.
The CLWMA is a non-profit watershed organization established in 2015. CLWMA exists to promote and facilitate implementation of recommendations from the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan and the Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy.
The Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan exists to implement strategies to improve the watershed. Some of these strategies include, sewage inputs and wastewater management; agricultural practices; forestry practices; invasive species; planning and land use; and much more.
The Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy is a collection of in-lake measures need to ensure that Chautauqua Lake remains a healthy ecosystem and vibrant community asset.
The CLWMA exists because of its members! After the organization incorporated, one of the first steps was a membership drive to individuals and organizations – from a cross section of our community. The CLWMA was very successful in their first year with 31 founding members. These members include lake-related organizations and fellow non-profits; area sewer districts; county-wide organizations; business member organization; towns and villages; and county government.
The CLWMA relies a lot on grants to fund operations and implement their strategies for lake and watershed improvement. In 2015, CLWMA was successful in securing $1,430,892 in grant funding from various local and state resources. In 2015, CLWMA had an 86% grant success rate and in 2016, their grant success rate was 50%.
Some of the overreaching services that CLWMA provides also include coordination services amongst project partners; identifying and developing major projects related to management of the watershed and water quality; and assistance with grant local match funding requirements.
Some of the current initiatives that CLWMA is working on are:
• 2% Lakes and Waterways Projects
• Mandated Septic Inspections as of 1/2016
• Integrated Sewer Management Plan – upgrades as needed at wastewater treatment plants, sewer district and line extensions.
The CLWMA’s mission is, “by working in collaboration with as many stakeholders as possible, we deepen our collective focus, strength, and leveraging capabilities, for the benefit of Chautauqua Lake, its watershed, and ultimately, our community.
Vince DeJoy, DJDC, was introduced by our own John Lloyd. Vince is a 1978 graduate of JHS and is currently, the director of development for city of Jamestown; he is executive member of many corporations in the city of Jamestown; and, a charter member of AM Jamestown Club.
Vince talked about an update on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). $10 million was awarded to Jamestown for Governor Cuomo’s economic development committee late last year. The City and other organizations are diligently working on a plan that will be submitted to the state before the end of this month. The state will then decide which projects can go forward with the $10 million grant money.
15 projects that are being considered:
Key Bank building – purchased by Arnold Duke; loves Jamestown; looking to redevelop the building to bring high tech jobs to Jamestown; mixed-use redevelopment; $3 million project; market rate and corp apartments; upscale restaurant; wine bar, etc.
Hilton Double Tree Hotel - $19 million project cost; 144 rooms; meeting rooms and ball rooms; huge improvement to what we have currently downtown.
Jamestown Brewing Company - $5 million project; father and son out of south buffalo; brewery, banquet space, large patios, etc.
Furniture Mart Building - $20 million project by Ellicott development in Buffalo; hotel, apartments or condos; developer looking to build a 300-car parking structure to the east of the building; very exciting.
Rail Depot – excursion trains to Jamestown; utilizing the current train station; people coming from other regional areas; great tourism tool and economic development tool! Need more tracks and switches; would link the Buffalo, Niagara Falls corridor; have some good operators and partners and the city is working closely with them. Anticipation of 5 to 10 of these trains coming here annually.
Reg Lenna Master Plan – $1.5 million to complete master plan; foundation support already committed. The DIR money will hopefully bring it over the goal line.
River Walk – lighting up the Riverwalk with LED lighting; couple pedestrian bridges; kayak launches, etc.
Downtown programming – we are building attractions, but we need financial support to activate the waterfront and attractions; will secure entertainment, etc.
Site preparations along River Walk area – buy parcels where there may be a better and higher use for the area.
Streetscape – physicals upgrades to key corridors; fixing sidewalks; making downtown Jamestown more walk-able and presentable with all our new attractions.
Street redesigns – merge 2nd and 4th street as two-way traffic; $4-5 million project; the DIR will help with planning and site drawings and will get us ready to implement something like this.
Lucille Ball Theater – new HVAC and other upgrades; refresh it to be another venue to utilize for events and collaboration with other entities downtown.
Jackson Center – collaborating with other entities; physical upgrades to HVAC system.
Destination Farmers Market and Food Hub – create a permanent farmers market downtown; local sourced and grown food.
Northwest Arena / Comedy Center Partnership – serve to offer retail space between Northwest Arena and National Comedy Center; opportunity to capture more revenue and synergy between the two attractions.
Other initiatives – poverty reduction initiative with UWAYSCC; looking to start another grant to address zombie and vacant properties.
Vince explained the process of approval. The plans will be submitted to Governor Cuomo’s office. The state will decide how to move forward with the projects that were submitted. That will ultimately determine whether or not many of these projects move forward – many things will be happening in the next 2 years hopefully. A lot of exciting action in downtown Jamestown!
L-R Jennifer Gibson, William Wagner and Joelle Washer
Jennifer Gibson introduced Northwest Savings Bank President/CEO William Wagner to the club this day. To say that William does many wonderful things for the community would be an understatement, as a list of several organizations and clubs that he contributes to was presented by Jennifer.
Northwest Savings Bank is headquartered just south of Jamestown in Warren, PA. William began by discussing the bank's long history and evolution. What started as a financial institution in Bradford, PA in 1896 has now grown to a system of bank branches and offices with $9.6 billion in assets in 2016. In fact, William pointed out that between 1896 and 1976, the banks assets grew to $100 million. It's only been since the bank went public in 1994 that its assets have grown ever increasingly.
An honor (one of many) that Northwest Savings Bank holds is being a Top 100 bank in the United States. Considering there are thousands of banks across the country, this is certainly a high honor.
In the last 2 years, Northwest has grown larger due to the acquisition of 18 former First Niagara bank branches, mostly in the Buffalo market. That has allowed Northwest to take a strong foothold in that heavily populated region of Western New York. Northwest has a total of 36 branches in WNY, with branches in other states in the Northeast.
Also since the bank went public in 1994, William says the bank has diversified greatly, offering much more than just savings accounts and checking accounts. This, among many other factors, have helped make the bank more profitable, with Northwest Savings Bank stocks rising since 1994.
William closed by mentioning Northwest's Mission: To build loyalty, trust & value among our employees, customers, communities & shareholders. He also praised our Rotary for the great numbers of people who attend each week, and for the many things we do in the community.
John Lloyd introduced Tom Benson. Managing Director of Vineyard Group and Chairman of the National Comedy Center.
Tom thanked the Rotary Club for inviting him. He mentioned that it was always a great opportunity to talk about The National Comedy Center (NCC). The NCC is a project that is in perpetual motion. Things change on a daily basis. NCC has already completed the first piece of the puzzle, which was comedy center park.
In the next year, the plan is to increase the programming at comedy center park and make it a destination. Currently, the city of Jamestown is constructing two pedestrian walkway bridges which will provide access from all the way around the Chadakoin river basin. The city is also constructing a separate stair system as well that will feature an elevator for access for people with disabilities. Tom also gave us an overview of architectural drawings that feature a complete footprint of the entire comedy center.
The NCC will have a number of interactive, unique and personalized experiences. These experience are being completed in separate phases. To illustrate his point, Tom shared a drawing of the entrance park area of NCC. Outdoor park area will include large TV screens for entertainment and block parties. This location will always be public because NYS Parks gave them a $500,000 grant to build that part of the project.
What is NCC?
NCC is national non-profit attraction and cultural institution dedicated to the celebration of comedy in America. The NCC will honor the craft of comedy with world class exhibits. NCC is not a traditional artifact-based museum or hall of fame. NCC will feature individualized interactive and experiential journeys throughout time across all comedy and media types. It will be a true tribute to the art and craft of comedy.
The NCC will feature 9 main zones, 70 attractions. Hologram technology will be front and center. One of the coolest features of the NCC, is the ability for each visitor to receive an RFID enabled chip that saves their experience as they move through the center. Depending on what type of humor genre you selected when registering, the chip will move you through different sections of the center.
NCC consists of Comedy Center Park and over 35,000 square feet of attraction space, which includes the current train station. The NCC is a $22 million project, that estimates over 120,000 visitors per year and an economic impact of over $22 million.
The NCC is part of the future of NYS tourism. The center will allow people who come to Niagara Falls, the chance to travel to Jamestown and stay in the area one more day. This really becomes a major part of the revitalization of update New York and the western New York economy. This is evident in the support the NCC has received from New York State and the Buffalo Billion 2 initiative.
Tom also shared the work completed year to date. The design process is complete and they are currently working on construction of Phase B and C. Bidding and attraction components will be phase D. Capital funding process will be completed in April and opening of the NCC is contingent upon solidification of remaining capital funds.
NCC will be a contributor to the local economy and will never be a drain. The endowment that will be created will handle any deficits that may arise.
A very interesting presentation centered on the Celoron Hotel Project kept many Rotarians glued to their chairs this day. John Lloyd officially welcomed David Hart of Hart Hotels to the microphone to speak on the hotel that is planning to open in 2018.
David thanked Rotary for allowing him to speak, and started off by mentioning that this project began 2 years ago, and involves Peter Krog, who is his business partner, along with CCIDA. Site work in Celoron has already begun, with the hotel to be erected on portions of the former Celoron Amusement Park site. David actually mentioned later that when site prep was taking place, he walked the grounds and discovered an old penny, most likely dropped when the amusement park was in operation.
The new hotel will be similar to Harbor Hotels already in operation in Watkins Glen & Clayton, NY. There are 4 hotels total under the Harbor Hotel brand in operation. However, David was quick to mention that neither the Watkins Glen nor the Clayton hotels have the "backbone" that the Celoron hotel will have with so many area attractions and cities (Jamestown, Buffalo, Cleveland) nearby.
David called the Celoron hotel a "destination hotel", with many different amenities to offer onsite. It will also be a 4-Diamond facility. His mantra for the project is "Build it, and they'll stay. Build it, and they'll come." The Celoron hotel will also be open year-round to keep staff trained, so during the slower winter months, they have many fun events planned to keep things exciting.
Based on what's happened already in Watkins Glen and Clayton, David was confident that the 10-year impact of the hotel on the community will total $60 million in room revenue, $30 million in food and beverage revenue, so to say the hotel will be a boon to the local economy would be accurate.
The Celoron hotel will have 132 rooms, and the site will even incorporate the old island that once housed the swing ride from the amusement park, which will likely excite local history buffs.
To find out more about the already existing Harbor Hotels, David encouraged everyone to visit this website.
This day, the club heard a fascinating presentation from Cliff Mason, a Senior Manager at National Fuel, and a member of the Clean Communities of WNY. Cliff lives in East Aurora, and was thrilled to be able to speak in front of such a robust Rotary Club in Jamestown. He also drove to Jamestown in a natural gas powered vehicle. Cliff was introduced by Ken Lawton, who himself works at National Fuel in Jamestown.
Cliff's main focus of his presentation was on Clean Transportation Alternatives, particularly vehicles that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
Some of the advantages of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV)'s are that they are better for the environment and run on a fuel that has a more stable price than regular gasoline (which heavily relies on foreign oil). Cliff also pointed out that the United States has a bounty of natural gas resources to tap into as well.
While mileage for NGV's are about the same as gas and not nearly as good as diesel, Cliff made it clear that NGV's still have many advantages over traditionally powered vehicles.
There are 3 types of Natural Gas Vehicles:
Dedicated: only runs on natural gas. About 40 service vans for National Fuel in Buffalo run this way
Bi-Fuel: vehicle can run on natural gas or traditional gasoline (Cliff actually drove a vehicle from Buffalo to Jamestown powered this way)
Duel Fuel: runs on diesel & natural gas, and is mainly found in tractor trailers
Cliff concluded by saying there are incentives available for CNG vehicles and projects as well.
One question from the audience was on the safety of vehicles that run on CNG. Cliff assured everyone that NGV's have a good safety record.
Cliff is also a member of the Clean Communities of WNY, and information about that group and their efforts to help make alternative fuels more available in Western New York can be found here.
Service Above Self
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Robert H. Jackson Center
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