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Second phase of Portage Inn demolition begins

March 10, 2016
Westfield Republican

The Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation is working collaboratively with the Village and Town of Westfield, the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency, the Chautauqua County Landfill and Pierce Services, Inc. to remove and dispose of debris from the site of the former Portage Inn located on Portage Street in downtown Westfield. In December, the Portage Inn was demolished after it was discovered that the structure posed a significant public safety risk. The debris is currently being removed from the site and is being transferred to the Chautauqua County Landfill by Pierce Services, Inc. of Fredonia, which will take several days. The Village of Westfield is using landfill tipping fee credits provided by the Chautauqua County Landfill, some of which have been borrowed from other municipalities, to dispose of a majority of the debris, while the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation (through a grant from the state Office of the Attorney General) is covering the remaining costs associated with this project. The site will be leveled and graded following debris removal.

Demolition of the Portage Inn, which was dilapidated beyond repair, clears the way for a transformative downtown project, the Welch Trail, that will involve the construction of an access road down to an existing parking area, which will serve as a trailhead, and the development of trails, signage and associated amenities along Chautauqua Creek. This project is the result of a grant sought by the Town of Westfield through the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. County funding and the value of the work undertaken by the Chautauqua County Land Bank were used for the required local match for the project.

"This is precisely the type of smart-growth project we should be undertaking as a land bank. This will change the complexion of the downtown area and make it even more attractive to business investment, visitors and residents," stated Mark Geise, executive director of the Land Bank.

"This effort has certainly been the result of significant regional collaboration among many partners," explained Gina Paradis, administrative director of the Land Bank.

"We are excited to provide the public easy and legal access to Chautauqua Creek and make our downtown even more appealing," stated Mike VandeVelde, mayor of the Village of Westfield. "We are very grateful to the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation, the Chautauqua County Landfill, the Chautauqua County Department of Planning, the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency, the Westfield Development Corporation and other contributors who helped to transform a concept into reality."

Aaron Resnick, executive director of the Westfield Development Corporation, is excited to get the project underway, and is currently working with the Town of Westfield and the state to consummate the agreements so that the project can get started.

"Besides the economic benefits that will accrue from this initiative, there are obvious recreational and quality of life advantages that will also result," Resnick said. "This is a significant project for our community as well as the region."

Subsequent articles will provide more details regarding the Welch Trail project.

For more information regarding this program, please contact Geise at 664-2477. For more information regarding on the Chautauqua County Land Bank and its programs, please go to their new web site at



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