Tonawanda News

March 22, 2013

Marina dredging fast-tracked

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda finalized approval for the launch of March construction work at a River Road marina, where dredging will soon take place.

City engineer Dale Marshall said it was imperative that the work begin prior to a mid-April deadline, when federal regulators prohibit the practice through the end of June during the main breeding season for marine life. Sheeting will also be installed to secure a retention wall. 

“The feds require we have six feet of water depth,” Marshall said. “And right now it’s an average of three to four feet.” 

 The common council held a special session this week to approve a bid for the work, which will cost just over $575,000 and could begin before the end of February. 

Marshall told the council this week that other projects related to the opening of  the Lumberjacks Patio Bar and Grill must be complete prior to a planned opening of the restaurant by Memorial Day, when the proprietor of the establishment plans to kick off the new venture.  

The city formed a five-year lease with Carol Tallichet, who has extensive experience with waterfront restaurants and is a native North Tonawandan. Much of the interior work has already been completed in the clubhouse of the marina, Marshall said, which formerly housed the Niagara River Yacht Club. 

Since 2005 the clubhouse and the marina have remained empty and disheveled, while the shallow waters of the marina became a favorite spot for fishermen. 

The city will push hard to begin the installation of transient docking, which will allow those taking long trips down the Erie Canal and through the Great Lakes to stay long term next to the restaurant, where a new public restroom, lighting and electrical work will be added. 

However, the $2 million slated for the project, half of which is covered by state and federal grants acquired during the last two years, will not be enough to complete it. 

Marshall requested the council approve another $100,000 to $130,000 for the first phase, while the city will have to find at least $600,000 to dredge and restore two other slips in the marina. 

The city will not finish the entire project this year, Marshall said, though he and Mayor Rob Ortt concurred earlier this week that it would be wrapped up entirely by 2014 or 2015. 

Council President Rich Andres said the city already began looking for funding and grant initiatives for the those remaining stages though the Lumber City Development Corporation, with a focus on the Niagara River Greenway Commission, which has already contributed $300,000 to the project. Another $687,000 federal grant was obtained early in 2012.  

“I think the reason we’ve been able to be successful getting grants is because we keep producing results” Andres said. “We’re not throwing good money after bad.” 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.