LAKEWOOD – “We’re a big damn deal.” Those words wore spoken by a member of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy as the organization celebrated its move to 71 E. Fairmount Ave. Friday.
Several officials, including State Senator George Borrello, State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel were given a tour of the Conservancy building.
Executive Director John Jablonski III spoke prior to a ribbon cutting ceremony. He explains that the Conservancy has an important role in sustaining the environment.
“The Conservancy has provided, not only conservation of our habitats, and our sites that are so important for water quality, but provides an important recreational opportunity for the quality of life for our residents and all of the people visiting our county,” Jablonski III said. “Our preserves are getting very heavily used and enjoyed by the public.”
Borrello, who previously served as Chautauqua County Executive and as a Legislator, also spoke during the event. He says that the CWC taught him that the Watershed treatment is the most important way to improve the water quality of Chautauqua Lake and other bodies of water countywide.
“Our mission, if we really want to make a long-term impact on the health of our waterways, particularly Chautauqua Lake, our mission is to ensure that in the watershed that we are really treating the disease and not just trying to manage the symptoms,” Borrello said. “The symptoms are what’s in the water, but the disease that needs to be cured is in the watershed and what’s around it.”
The Conservancy was previously located on the third floor of the Tew Mansion in Downtown Jamestown for 25 years. Officials from the organization say that the building is more accommodating to its growing staff and program needs.
Bill Locke, who is the treasurer on the Conservancy’s Board of Directors, was one of the leaders of the tour. He says that the building is “absolutely beautiful” and needed just a little bit of work on the interior.
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen, the Conservancy is expected to celebrate the move with an open house at some point this summer.
For more information on the CWC, visit the organization’s official website here.