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Project to make Hamburg the ‘Gateway’

This concept design by Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc., shows the 35-feet tall clock tower that will be the centerpiece of a new overlook over Lake Erie along a portion of Hoak’s Restaurant’s parking lot on Route 5 near Hoover Road. The project will be funded by a $400,000 Federal highway grant, with work to be completed near the Route 5/Hoover Road/Big Tree Road intersection. Bids will be open on Feb. 14, with construction expected to begin in the spring and conclude this summer.
It is expected that sometime this summer, there will be a new place to relax along the Lake Erie Shores and take in a nice warm summer day or evening.

With the help of a $400,000 Federal highway grant, the Town of Hamburg will be opening bids in February to move ahead with the Route 5 Gateway Entrance Project, which will be done near the Big Tree Road/Hoover Road intersection, said Town Engineer Gerard M. Kapsiak.

“We have advertised for the bids,” Kapsiak said during Monday’s (Jan. 28) Hamburg Town Board meeting.

A portion of the work will be done at Hoak’s parking lot.

This will include a 35-feet tall clock tower close to Hoover Road, Kapsiak said.

“There will also be a couple of benches,” Kapsiak said. “It’ll be a pretty nice project when it’s done.”

The project will fall within a concrete viewing plaza area. It will give people a chance to get a scenic view of Lake Erie, the Buffalo skyline and the Canadian shoreline.

Other parts of the project include nautical theme lighted bollards, railings, interpretive signage, sidewalks, parking and drainage improvements, and landscaping.

According to Kapsiak, the grant money dated back to when Jack Quinn represented the town in Congress, and continued through Rep. Brian Higgins time representing Hamburg.

Kapsiak noted that the clock will be protected from storms, and it will serve as a stop, and look, over Lake Erie.

The final design was completed by consulting engineers Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc., and was recently approved for construction by the Federal Highway Administration and the state Department of Transportation.

“The bid opening is Feb. 14,” Kapsiak said, adding that construction is expected to begin in the spring with the work expected to be finished by summer.

Kapsiak said this project has nothing to do with one that had been eyed at the site of the former Foit’s Restaurant on Route 5, down the road from Hoak’s.

The town had received a $250,000 grant from the state in 2004, and initially had planned to build an overlook at the site of the old restaurant, which was torn down in 2007.

“That was a different grant,” Kapsiak said.

He said the money was never used and the town lost it after deciding not to move forward with that project.

In other news, thanks to enough petitions by residents who live near Howard Road, the board must have a unanimous vote – or Supermajority vote – in order for a proposed rezoning for luxury apartments to happen.

Because a supermajority requires a 75 percent vote, this means that in order for the proposed rezoning to occur, it would need a “yes” vote from all three members, because a positive vote from only two would mean that only 66 percent voted in the affirmative.

What is being sought by Boston State Holding is for just over eight acres of the 10 acres proposed plan to be changed from R-2 to R-3. The R-2 designation is for single-family residences, while the R-3 designation includes multiple dwellings in the designation.

During the town’s work session on Monday, Town Supervisor Steven Walters said if the developer is willing to meet with residents one more time to discuss any additional concerns they have over the project, he thinks it would be a good idea.

Councilwoman Amy Ziegler also said if they wanted her to, she would participate in the process.

Walters added the earliest possible date he believes the board could vote on this would be Feb. 25, but added he was skeptical it would be that soon.


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