Niagara Gazette

February 3, 2013

Porter makes bid for county Greenway money

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — The Town of Porter is seeking a cut of Niagara County’s Niagara River Greenway funds to make improvements at its lakeside park.

Porter Supervisor Merton Wiepert and grant coordinator Bernie Rotella presented the town’s request for a $150,000 greenway grant to a county legislative committee Monday.

The grant would finance improvements at Porter-on-the-Lake, the town’s only park. According to Rotella, the town is pursuing a multi-phase park build-up project and is asking the county to underwrite first-phase improvements including addition of handicap-accessible playground equipment for older elementary school-age children, small pavilions and signage identifying the park.

Porter-on-the-Lake is a 40-acre parcel neigboring Fort Niagara, with 650 feet of frontage along Lake Ontario, that the town obtained from Oxy Chemical. Between the acquisition and work by town employees and volunteers to get the land in shape, the town has invested almost $900,000 in park development to date, Wiepert said.

Presently the park has one large gazebo, which is rented out to businesses and groups hosting large events, but the gazebo is too big for small groups. A few smaller pavilions are desired by residents, Rotella said.

Porter previously obtained a $20,000 grant from the neighboring Town of Lewiston, which has its own Niagara River Greenway funds, to develop a recreational master plan.

The Niagara River Greenway Commission has already judged Porter’s park development plan to be “consistent” with greenway development goals, Rotella said.

It’s up to the county’s ad hoc greenway committee whether the Legislature should OK a grant from Niagara County’s greenway kitty. Per its 2005 settlement agreement with New York Power Authority, regarding relicensing of the Niagara Power Project, the county is to get $390,000 per year, for 50 years, to invest in greenway development.

The ad hoc committee has 30 days to render a decision on Porter’s request, outgoing chairman Mike Hill said.