New pier tops Urbana waterfront plans
HAMMONDSPORT--Following the latest community gathering on the Hammondsport-Urbana Waterfront Master Plan this past May, the final draft has recently been submitted to the town and village for review. James Johnson of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) said the draft was submitted Friday, July 10 and contains some 29 different proposals for improving the waterfront on the southern end of Keuka Lake. Of these 29 proposals, Johnson said four are outlined as priority projects, which include a new Champlin Beach pier, developing a waterfront center in the Champlin Beach area, developing trails to connect the parks and creating a waterfront organization to implement the plan.
The first project listed overall involves removing and replacing the existing Champlin Beach pier with a new one.
"A 2013 engineering report estimated that the existing pier requires $817,320 to return it to safe use," according to the plan document. "After this rehabilitation, the structure would be safe for pedestrians but may not accommodate future desired uses. Furthermore, the study found that removing the existing pier and building a new pier would offer the most added value to the community when the lifetime of both options are considered."
This plan also includes several sub-projects associated with it, which includes returning an excursion boat similar to the former Keuka Maid at the pier, improving the Champlin Beach parking and relocating the little league field complex.
The plan also calls for a waterfront center to be built in the area in order to provide an extra public space for the public to visit at Champlin Beach. This facility could potentially include exhibit space for the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, a water-enhanced or water-dependent business space like a restaurant or canoe or kayak rentals, a public or private patio with attractive seating, or exhibit space for regional attractions for other museums or wineries.
"A waterfront center, a building featuring public and private uses geared toward serving the waterfront, would promote tourism and all-weather use of the Champlin Beach area," according to the plan. "At minimum, the waterfront center would include public restrooms, publicly-accessible event space, and visitor information."
The plan puts emphasis on developing trails to connect Champlin Beach with Curtiss Park and Depot Park. Johnson claims this was a well-supported project by the community during the planning process and adds there is already an active trail group within the community. The trail plan also includes a pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting the north and south sides of the Keuka Inlet, blueway trail nodes offering paddlers access to the trail in the Curtiss Park area and a wetland observation tower to offer bird-watching and respite for trail users.
"Providing contiguous access along the water's edge benefits everyone, including the developer, by bringing vibrancy to the waterfront which makes property more desirable," according to the master plan.
In what Johnson described as the most important of the priority projects, the waterfront organization would be responsible for making recommendations to the village and town boards on all projects and decisions impacting the waterfront.
"Most planning and economic development experts agree that having a dedicated organization is critical for successful implementation of any revitalization planning initiative," according to the master plan. "Having a coordinating organization can provide a framework for the patchwork businesses and community-based organizations."
The plan states the group should have between five and seven members with one representative from the town, village, Steuben IDA, Steuben planning department and regional tourism, along with two local business owners.
Johnson said some projects are easier and quicker to achieve than others, but added the plan is part of a 10 year initiative to make improvements to the waterfront in the area.