‘Mayor Kate’ offers optimistic vision for city


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OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford
Dunkirk Mayor-elect Kate Wdowiasz poses in the mayor’s office, with Central Avenue in the background, Wednesday.



Dunkirk Mayor-elect Kate Wdowiasz offered an optimistic vision for the city during her first OBSERVER interview in the mayor’s office.

Wilfred Rosas, whose last day as mayor is Dec. 31, no longer has his name on the door. “Mayor Kate,” as she says people who have trouble with her last name can call her, has already moved into his old Stearns Building office and is excited about her four-year term.

The Wednesday morning interview started with a question about something that happened hours earlier: Fredonia’s decision to buy water from the city and decommission its water treatment plant.

“We want to be good neighbors to our neighbors,” Wdowiasz said. “We committed to help them in any way that we can… because I know that sharing the cost of some of this, at least the infrastructure on the city of Dunkirk side, is going to be of great assistance to them.”

She called the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative “an excellent opportunity for us,” stating that Gov. Kathy Hochul will announce which plans will be funded sometime in January.

“We should start seeing shovels in the ground at the end of 2024, early 2025, depending on permits and (other) things that need to happen. It’s going to be a very exciting time for Dunkirk for the next two years and we’re looking forward to working closely to make sure those projects continue to move forward.”

Wdowiasz called Wells’ expansion and addition of jobs “a great benefit. There are a lot of the DRI projects that are going to bring housing and job force training so we can get these positions actually moving forward, and get more skilled laborers into our workforce.”

Wdowiasz also pointed to city infrastructure as a priority. She said the city is under a water line inventory consent order for lead and “we would like to get those lines inventoried and replaced as rapidly as possible. Lead in our water is not really an issue, but let’s make our water even safer.”

She also wants to boost marketing efforts of the city to “cities two, three, four hours away, easily accessible to us, where we can potentially bring in some of those businesses that may be in those cities.

“We are very marketable,” Wdowiasz added. “We have four gorgeous beaches. We absolutely should be beautifying and expanding our waterfront so everybody has free access to it.”

She concluded, “I’m excited about the future… I think we need to just embrace the changes and continue to move forward.”

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‘Mayor Kate’ offers optimistic vision for city

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