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October 13, 2013

sprucing up the waterfront

Tonawanda News — The Niagara River Yacht club is attempting to secure $197,200 in grant funding for an overhaul of its prime waterfront property with a blueprint to fix an eroding shoreline, add native wildlife and install a bike path stopover near its clubhouse. 

John Preisler, a board member at the club, said over the last several months he and others in the organization have reached out to the Niagara River Greenway Commission to pursue the idea of resuscitating a 300-foot stretch of its property along the river — with millions of dollars in funding available for projects along the waterway in a deal arranged through the New York Power Authority. 

While critics of the commission say some projects its has funded are too far inland, insiders at the organization have stated that there are renewed efforts to keep its grant offerings closer to area waterways. 

The yacht club’s plan was deemed consistent with that message in September, along with four other projects noted on the Greenway website, that could inch the North Tonawanda non-profit to winning its grant request.  

The club also worked with the Lumber City Development Corporation to assist with the grant application, with the city’s funding arm’s success in recent years winning a string of grants worth millions through competitive processes. It’s also sought consultation with the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers Association. 

LCDC director Richard Tindell was called a key component of the initiative by Preisler, while Tindell himself stating much of the credit and legwork for brining it all together largely falls on yacht club members. 

Preisler, who wrote the application and filed it in July, also applied for a permit with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, before meeting with the commission in September. He reached out to the common council, which gave its approval last week, part of a band of requirements in order to retrieve the funding. 

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