Niagara Gazette


April 8, 2013

Public comments focus on proposed changes at Joseph Davis State Park

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — While other major projects have stolen the headlines out of Lewiston the last few months, plans for work at Joseph Davis State Park continue to progress.

Once considered the "it" project, those responsible for carrying the project through to completion simply scaled back the proposed ideas for updating the passive greenspace along the Niagara River to a less expensive and less invasive idea.

Monday offered Lewiston residents their first opportunity to officially comment on those plans, part of the scoping process needed to determine the environmental effects construction would have on the park.

Originally, Supervisor Steve Reiter and the Joseph Davis State Park Local Development Corp. had multiple, big-ticket items in mind for the park. Major additions like a proposed hotel or lodge were quickly scrapped, though, as state opposition – a large hurdle since the state owns the land maintained by the town – shaped the direction the town could pursue.

So instead, phase one of the project, which the public was able to comment on Monday, includes the addition of a campsite, the creation of a covered fishing pier and a new boat launch as part of an updated waterfront and an inland pond, which would be located west of the park's two existing standing-water collections.

The ponds would also become connected by feeding waterways within the system, all part of the park's central area.

While the proposed plans had ideas in mind for each, Monday's comments featured an environmental studies professor at Niagara University propose possible changes to the locations for the campground, which was set to be located dead center of the park, as well as the new pond.

"I would suggest bringing the campground (south)," NU professor Mark Gallo said. "You already have a slab of concrete from the old swimming pool in the park. Why not build the campground there? As far as the pond is concerned, why not build it east of the swimming pool location? It would have less of an impact on the birds in the area."

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