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Congressman Higgins & Mayor Frey Announce $376,000 for Dunkirk Harbor

Apr 20, 2009
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and City of Dunkirk Mayor Richard Frey announced $376,000 in federal funding for dredging efforts in Dunkirk Harbor.  The funding, secured by Congressman Higgins through the House Energy and Water bill at the request of Mayor Frey, will allow for smoother sailing of recreational and commercial vessels navigating the waters.

“This funding will support work by the Army Corps of Engineers to clear the way for the efficient flow of tourism traffic and commercial goods along this important corridor,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus.  

"The Dunkirk Small Boat Harbor is the cornerstone of our summer recreational economy from our multiple world class fishing tournaments to the countless charter businesses, this funding secured by Congressman Higgins will assist these ventures and the City's waterfront revitalization as a whole.  This particular funding illustrates just how well Congressman Higgins knows the needs and challenges of our community and continues to be a great friend of the City of Dunkirk" said Mayor Frey.

The area was last dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2004.  Regular maintenance calls for dredging every two years.  The current sediment backlog within the harbor is extensive.  

Last August the Army Corps issued a notice warning vessel operators to use caution when navigating in the area due to reduced depths in the Harbor.  Failure to dredge would result in continued reduced channel dimensions resulting in light loading and increased transportation costs.  The Army Corps estimates that further shoaling, limiting commercial use of the Harbor could cost approximately $4.3 million a year in lost revenue.  

In addition to improving conditions for general public and commercial use, dredging will provide NRG with the option to bring in their coal by freighter.  

In the summer of 2006 Mayor Frey and Congressman Higgins worked to have a new Customs and Border Protection Videophone installed at the Dunkirk Pier which makes it easier for Canadian and other international travelers to visit Dunkirk via water.  Last May the City celebrated the grand opening of the Dunkirk Boardwalk Market, a waterfront multi-tenant retail establishment.  This year the City in conjunction with SUNY Fredonia will open a new small business incubator, which also received funding though Congressman Higgins.  Most recently the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation approved a loan to provide assistance for a proposed indoor water park at the Clarion Hotel in the City. 

“This builds on the positive momentum we see in the City under the leadership of Mayor Frey and creates another infrastructure investment from which to attract visitors and new business to the region,” added Higgins.    

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 30 million people live in the Great Lakes basin.  The Great Lakes represent the largest surface source of fresh water on the planet.