It features 'a little bit of everything'
by Terry Duffy
As planning continues for a new Civic Center in Lewiston, there's a whole host of "undercurrents" that have been taking place of late in Youngstown as that tiny village at the mouth of the lake forges ahead on its own future.
Already in the works is a revamped marina operation at the renamed Fox BoyZ Marine on Water Street and Mike Fox's new jetboat operation, Niagara Jet Adventures.
"Many new things are now going on behind the scenes," said Fox this week, telling Youngstown Business and Professional Association members that his first boat, being built by partner Chris Bohnenkamp, owner of Bohnenkamp's Whitewater Customs of Meridian, Idaho, is nearly complete and is expected to debut in Youngstown this August. Also moving along on Water Street is construction of a boathouse with bleachers to handle passengers, plans for a people-mover transportation service for customers that's intended to thwart off any parking issues on Water Street, and a soon-to-debut website and ticket sales arrangements.
Out on Lake Road, Bandana's owners Rob and Melissa Kudel just announced plans for a new bed and breakfast venture - Bandanna's B&B, that will be opening across the street from their bar and grill in November. "We're really looking forward to promoting the area," said Melissa. She reports the new B&B, being developed in partnership with contractor Robert Macvie Inc. will feature five bedrooms and baths, all in a distinct Youngstown theme to promote the area's rich history, nautical flavor and artistic tastes. Breakfast will be served daily starting at 6 a.m. and the new B&B is expected to offer guests a whole slew of offerings, from chartering packages on the river to on-site activities such as hiking and winter snowshoeing.
Over at Fort Niagara State Park, plans are quietly moving along on an anticipated redevelopment of the former Commandant's House and nearby barracks into luxury suites and a 48-room inn, along with a restaurant, and ballroom/convention center/theatre complex. According to various sources Acquest Development LLC of Buffalo, which earlier transformed the former Dulski Federal Office Building in downtown Buffalo into an upscale Embassy Suites hotel, condos, and a business and retail center, is moving along in partnership with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the National Park Service toward making the project a reality. Acquest, which signed a 40-year lease for 20 acres of Fort Niagara parkland with OPRHP in 2010, has been building support with the Village of Youngstown and the YBPA and expects to make an announcement in the near future.
And just announced this week is a new venture to reopen the long popular Dory in the village.
Lake Road residents Aaron and Jane Dey, along with Youngstown resident Elizabeth Beaty and Gary and Marilyn Brennan of Brennan's Irish Pub announced plans to open The Dory Trading Post in the former store at 435 Main St.
"This is exciting news," said Youngstown Village Trustee Tim Adamson this week to YBPA members.
The new store will hold a soft opening this Thursday, June 20, coinciding with the Beginning of Summer Street Dance taking place on Main Street in the village from 6 to 10 p.m.
"We are passing the baton from Sue Mac Naughton to us, because it was an iconic spot here in town," said Jane, AKA "Miss Jane," a bar staffer at Brennan's. "We want to honor Youngstown, because right now there isn't any central place anybody can go to find information, do a little shopping, just get to know some of the locals."
"When we moved here that store (already) had been closed," said Aaron, originally from southern Ontario, who with his wife Jane, formerly of Florida, have been residents of the Youngstown area for about three years. "It's such a needed thing for this area."
"We need a little thing to benefit our locals," Jane added.
The new operation will cater to visitors with information on area events and attractions, feature local artists from the river region, and carry loads of gifts and wares with an emphasis on items created in the Niagara region and a focus on Youngstown, said Aaron. He notes the Trading Post name add-on highlights Old Fort Niagara, complete with a kiosk, recognizing the role it has played on the area's history.
Both said the Dory Trading Post will feature both Fort Niagara as well as Youngstown oriented items for sale; serve as the local ticket seller for the aforementioned Niagara Jet Adventures jetboat offerings; and serve as a promotional center for the Youngstown area. "We going to promote businesses," said Aaron.
"We're going to include Tuscarora (art) work," said Jane, along with pieces from local artists such as jewelry, crafts and carvings.
They note the store's Thursday soft opening will feature Tuscarora beaders on site, along with native cultural exhibits and entertainment and re-enactors from the fort. "It'll be a little bit of everything, so people will know what we're doing, Jane added.
Aaron adds that, over the next month, The Dory Trading Post will be stocking its shelves with a variety of interesting clothing and artistic items with a local theme, be it fort-related, the yacht club, the river or the area's history. "The store promises to keep its offerings fresh, interesting and will also offer what you can purchase in the store online with a new website being developed now.
Stop by the new Dory Trading Post at Street Dance to check them out, or visit www.dorytradingpost.com for more on this new offering for Youngstown.