By Michael Regan firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Gateway Harbor had another stellar year with an increase in both the number of boaters and the overall take on fees collected during a five-month period beginning in mid-May.
Patricia Brosius, director of Youth Parks and Recreation, said North Tonawanda saw a surge in boats from 763 in 2012 to 921 in 2013, with about $6,000 in additional revenue collected from boat fees over the previous year for a total of $25,655.
Brosius said 306 boats docked in the Lumber City for one night and 127 for two nights, with longest stay of one boat set at nine days. Those who docked for two hours or less were not charged.
Brosius said the addition of a new, permanent structure along the Erie Canal, several new employees and the growing popularity in the city’s downtown corridor were all factors for the increases.
“It’s getting publicized more, there’s more people who know about it,” she said. “And they’re coming into the area.”
Larry Kuebler, the North Tonawanda Harbor Master, agreed the current set-up in Gateway Harbor led to a better-organized scenario over previous years.
“Working out of the tent in place before ... it was so disorganized,” he said. “Here you have a permanent structure with files. It worked.”
The City of Tonawanda pulled in roughly $25,000 in 2012, though repeated calls this week to obtain updated figures from Parks and Recreation Director Amanda Galas, were not returned.
Looking forward, Kuebler said he would like to add cameras to the harbor next year to better-track boaters who sometimes slip through the cracks and avoid fee collections.
“Not to record them, but to look at boats live and catch them before they leave,” he said.