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Gratitude for Chautauqua Lake | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo of the Celoron boardwalk. Photo submitted

When someone says Chautauqua Lake, what do you think of first? For many people – myself included – the 4th of July is at the top of the list.

Independence Day evokes different kinds of nostalgia in all of us – thinking of fireworks, of summer, of barbecues, of family, of America. The lake seems to fit perfectly on this list of what we all love about vacations. It doesn’t matter if you spend the 4th of July boating, fishing, walking the shore or just watching fireworks being shot over the water. Enjoying the lake is an intimate part of the celebration for many of us. When the sun goes down and red flares start to light up like hundreds of stars around the 42 miles of shoreline, it reminds us of the good things in life.

Thanks to the work of many different organizations and stakeholders, there will be no shortage of fun this year. Financial support from our local charitable foundations as well as other public and private investments help make it all possible. In a welcome return to normalcy post-pandemic, the Village of Lakewood will once again serve as a hub for July 4th activities. Vendors will return to the streets of Chautauqua Avenue, which was recently renovated with green infrastructure designed to improve the quality of water entering the lake. Fireworks will once again be enjoyed in the village and across the lake by residents and visitors, many of whom will have spent the day fishing, canoeing or kayaking on the water. Lakewood is also preparing to build a new playground in Hartley Park and plans to implement a new watershed project near Grandview Estates to improve water quality and reduce flooding. The village of Busti has also recently completed a gully renovation project which will help improve the watershed in the future and offers excellent facilities for the public with Loomis Park and waterside opportunities at Smith Boys Marina .

Many exciting improvements have also taken place in the village of Celoron. The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is now an excellent meeting place for visitors coming to the village by land or sea. Lucille Ball Memorial Park has benefited from the recent construction of a new amenities building, boardwalk and kayak launch. The village is also home to the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association, which promotes the lake as a world-class destination for anglers and supports local events and organizations. Celoron is also looking to improve playground facilities at Lucille Ball Park and is hosting a public meeting to discuss the project on Tuesday, July 5 at 6 p.m. at the Celoron Community Center.

Next door, along the Chadakoin River, is another long list of exciting projects. McCrea Point Park, the Municipal Landing and the nearby Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association have all added or upgraded facilities in recent years and are now connected by the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk. The Chadakoin is also expected to undergo further development and activation in the coming years, preserving the local environment and providing new opportunities to enjoy the area. Thanks to the recently opened Lawson Boat and Motor, there is now a brand new marina located just off the exit near the Town of Ellicott and City of Jamestown line.

Higher up on the lake’s southwest shore, there’s even more to be thankful for. The Chautauqua facility recently opened its season and will once again provide world-class programming and entertainment to thousands upon thousands of visitors from across the country. The Bemus Point-Stow ferry has resumed ferrying passengers along the strait after undergoing extensive refurbishment. The village of Bemus Point offers an excellent downtown area with many waterfront restaurants as well as the Lawson Center boat museum. A major public sewer expansion is underway in the City of North Harmony, with further infrastructure expansions planned for the next few years. This construction, and a similar sewer extension underway in the town of Chautauqua, will significantly improve lake water quality in the future.

The north shore of the lake offers its own host of great attractions, including Midway and Long Point State Parks. Ellery City Park provides us with a large modern sports facility, intended for those who play baseball, soccer, football, tennis, basketball and other activities. The Village of Mayville is home to the Chautauqua Belle and has begun planning to upgrade its public facilities as part of the Mayville Waterfront Strategic Activation Master Plan. All of these different projects and developments are supported by people who strive to bring new visitors and residents to the area each summer, including the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Council of Realtors, the County Planning and Development Department, Industrial Development Agency, Chamber of Commerce and Partnership for Economic Growth. Visiting any of these destinations throughout the summer, you’ll likely find restaurants and businesses packed with customers along the way. CCVB offers an up-to-date calendar of events taking place on and around the lake, and recently published an article covering July 4th highlights which can be found here https://www.tourchautauqua.com/media/blog/fourth – from-july-fun-in-2022.

More scientific research is being done on the lake and in the watershed than ever before, including contributions from some of the most respected professionals in their fields. Millions of dollars in public funding have been mobilized for projects across the watershed over the past five years. These programs help to inform and facilitate all the economic and social development that we have seen and continue to see.

Lake management and maintenance is, quite rightly, a much-debated and much-discussed part of life in Chautauqua County. Sometimes we forget that many of the reasons for this are positive. The memories and fun we all have on days like the 4th of July are a big part of the equation – we all care about the lake. If we didn’t care, if we didn’t have this close relationship with this body of water, then there would be no heated agreements and disagreements about how we interact with it. Precisely because it means so much to us, we want it to be nurtured and nurtured for future generations – as well as the present. On a day like today, it’s good to remember that, appreciate and appreciate all the great work that’s been done, and reflect on why we’re doing it.



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