By Terry Duffy
Look for some movement next year on a new town park in northern Lewiston along the Niagara River.
So said Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Broderick following Tuesday's announcement the Niagara River Greenway Commission's Host Community Standing Committee awarded the town $700,000 in Greenway funding for the Lewiston Town Park Development Project.
Broderick said the new, 5.7-acre park, with about 400 feet of frontage on the river, would be located on town land just north of the Stella Niagara Preserve. That property, currently under restoration, is owned and managed by the Western New York Land Conservancy.
According to the town's application submitted to the Niagara River Greenway Commission, "The proposed project will also see the further development of the only Town property located directly on the Niagara River, with the installation of pavilions, ADA picnic tables, grills, ADA connecting pathways, tree planting, lighting, security cameras, parking and striping improvements and an ADA accessible floating dock for fishing and kayaks. In addition an existing building already located on the property will be converted into a functional building for recreational storage for items such as kayaks. This building and the previously funded Greenway Lewiston Comfort Station will also have space for a kiosk, which will include Niagara River Greenway information and maps."
Broderick said the town would work in a cooperative fashion with both the Western New York Land Conservancy and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper in the planning design for the park in order for both locations to be compatible with each other with regard to plantings, vegetation, etc.
"We'll be working hand in hand with them," he said, adding the town aims to develop the parcel as a "simple, single park."
With regard to news of possible land contamination on the riverside parcel of land, discussed Monday before the Town Board by Lewiston resident Amy Witryol, Broderick said the town's engineers, GHD Group, is now working with state agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, to address the matter.
"She sent us that information; we are looking into it. If there are any issues, we'll address them," he said.
Broderick added no action would be taken whatsoever on any groundbreaking until any and all land issues are addressed.
"They're (GHD) working with DEC right now," Broderick said of the soil sampling. "Testing thus far has come back negative for any toxic waste."
Town Engineer Robert Lannon of GHD on Monday said results of the land history at the site thus far have come back clean.
"There have been samples taken on the property; there have been two rounds of samples taken on the property. The results of that we are planning on summarizing in detail," he said of the town's work with the New York State Department of Historical Preservation with regard to any historical artifacts, as well as any land disturbances found. "The environmental analytics will all be discussed at that time."
Broderick said that, once the property is found to free and clear of any issues, he anticipates the Town Board would hold an information session for residents as actual planning commences.
"We will not break ground until GHD and the DEC has given us clearance," he said.
Broderick said he anticipates the work would take 12-18 months to complete.
As far as cost, he said the $700,000 awarded by Host Community Standing Committee would be the town's limit on spending. He noted that, if more is needed, the town would submit an additional application for funding.