Part II – Our Village Government is Here to Serve You

March 8 Village Board of Trustees Meeting
This is the second of a series of articles devoted to how our Village Government is serving you. In my last post, I shared with you that our March 1, 2011 Planning Board meeting focused on the top three initiatives for implementing a portion of the Comprehensive Plan during the coming year. Our goal was to share these recommendations during a joint meeting with the Village Board of Trustees on March 8, 2011.

Having never attended a Village Board meeting in the past, I was not sure what to expect. After all… Planning Board members are volunteers, while Village Trustees are elected. So rather than anticipating anything, I went in hopeful as the Village Board did ask for our recommendations.

As you may recall from my previous post, our recommendations included updating the Village Zoning Code and Zoning Map; assembling a group of liaisons from community organizations; and redefining our local image through a branding and marketing campaign. The following is an account of what happened.

Update of the Village Zoning Code and Zoning Map. We actually made some headway with this one already so we explained to the Trustees that this initiative was well underway. Bergmann Associates had started to analyze our zoning code and awaited for input from Ron Vendetti (Code Enforcer), the Town Attorney, and/or from the Zoning Board about how to address “unzoned” portions of the Village. Once received, Bergmann would then update the zoning map; compare the current zoning against the Comprehensive Plan; then recommend updates to the zoning code and map. To that end, at our March 1 meeting, we provided Ron with the necessary contact information so he could follow up with Bergmann. To find whether Ron followed up with Bergmann Associates, contact him directly at codes@townofmurray.org or attend our next Planning Board meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday April 5 at 7:00 pm at the Village Offices.

Assemble a group of liaisons from community organizations. This recommendation involved forming a group with representation from a cross-section of our community as well as from beyond Holley to provide the Village with expert advise and guidance as we move forward with our efforts. Surprisingly, this recommendation was a very “hard sell” with few Village Trustees understanding why we needed community liaisons. With the support of Mayor Kenney, a lengthy discussion followed to explain the benefits of having community liaisons. More specifically, with the Comprehensive Planning so robust, we needed help from those who have time, knowledge, talent, and expertise to advise and guide us. With their support, we could achieve our goals sooner. Despite the discussion, a few of us on the Planning Board felt discouraged by the “deer in the headlight” reception we received to this recommendation. Have no fear though… I am confident that another day and another approach will drive this need home. So… if any readers have any ideas and are interested in forming a community liaison group, let me know as this is your chance to have your voice heard.

Now for our third and final recommendation…Redefine local image through branding and marketing campaign. Really excited about the possibilities, we saved this one for last, which included a number of suggestions:

  • Updating the Village’s logo, perhaps by holding a community-wide contest soliciting entries from residents and local students with artistic talent. Considerable discussion followed about whether we actually needed a new logo, outlining the merits and concerns in creating a new logo. If there are any students or residents out there with artistic talents… take a look at the logo currently on our Village site and share your ideas. This is your opportunity to shine!!!
  • Posting signage with the Village logo on it at the Village gateways, in the Public Square area, as well as in the canal park and at the falls directing visitors. Some discussion followed as to where signage would have the greatest impact. The discussion then turned to one on securing grants to cover the expense of such signage and the importance of having someone local to administer grants so we do not lose out on future grant opportunities as we have in the past. Any grant writers administrators out there?
  • Redesigning and maintaining the Village website with a fresh, new look and ongoing updates to content. Trustee David Dill indicated he is currently working on updating the design and content for the Village site. To find out the status of this effort, e-mail Trustee Dave Dill at trusteedill@villageofholley.org.
  • Coordinating and promoting local events to area publications and organizations to supplement the calendar of events currently posted on the wall of the Village Office. This is a great volunteer opportunity for a retired individual or for a stay-at-home parent that only requires an hour or two a month. Any takers?
  • Starting an indoor/outdoor Farmer’s Market. With much of the groundwork done last year, vendor management remains the greatest challenge. If you want to help out with this or want more information, contact Lori Passarell at passarellfarms@aol.com.
  • Creating a Facebook page for keeping Holley informed as to what goes on in and around Holley. Trustee Connie Nenni indicated she was working on this. To find out the status of this effort, e-mail Trustee Connie Nenni at trusteenenni@villageofholley.org.
  • Securing the services of a marketing firm to help us with branding and marketing efforts. A suggestion of a Village Trustee, discussion surrounded around whether a third-party firm was actually needed to promote Holley, or if we could do it our selves to save money. Of course, we need a third party. Any marketing & promotion firms out there? This is your chance to demonstrate how and why a marketing campaign is needed to promote and revitalize Holley!

Other short-term recommendations included resolving parking issues to encourage new businesses; installing bike racks in the canal park, at the falls area, and in Public Square area; and seeking out and writing grants to help defray the cost of our initiatives as well as finding someone within the community to administer them.

As you can see, there is a lot to do and plenty of ways to get involved. Getting involved is easy; in fact, as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Attend local meetings. Village Planning Board meetings are the first Tuesdays of the month while Village Board of Trustee meetings are the second Tuesdays of the month; both at 7:00 pm at the Village Offices. Missed a past meeting? No problem. For a full copy of the Village Board meeting minutes, write a letter to Gail Sevor, Village Clerk, 72 Public Square, Holley NY 14470 requesting a copy. All meeting minutes are a matter of public record and must be available to the public in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
  2. Visit the “Visions of Holley Blog” often to keep up on the latest news in and around Holley then share it with all your friends, family, business associates, and service organizations.
  3. Ask plenty of questions to keep our Village servants accountable and to volunteer your time, knowledge, and talents.

With your support and that of your friends, we can truly make a difference. What’s more, we can make our collective “Visions of Holley” a reality!

Support our cycling enthusiasts

With our beautiful canal park, nature trails, and waterfall, Holley has a lot to offer bicyclists as they travel along the Erie Canal. In fact, each year Holley residents cheer and offer support bicyclists who participate in the Cycling the Erie Canal event – an eight-day, 400-mile, recreational bicycle tour from Buffalo to Albany along the legendary Erie Canal, which is scheduled this year for July 10-17, 2011.

What better way to support our bicyclists than to start up businesses within Holley that offer hard-to-find supplies… everything from equipment, cycling uniforms, bicycles, sporting goods clothing or shoes to posters, calendars, and more.  There’s help to get you started too. Since March 1999, Orleans County’s Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP), has helped over 285 people start or expand businesses in Orleans County with a combination of classroom training, mentoring, and low-interest loans. What’s more, the program has produced 151 operational enterprises and has created 200 jobs for Orleans County! For more information, click here.

What’s in a name…

With a name like Holley, how is it that no one has capitalized on our charming village’s name by celebrating Christmas every day of the year? Think about it…Christmas lights, Christmas cookies, Christmas trees, music, ornaments, gifts, collectibles, accessories… all with a Holley motif. Less I get carried away, who would possibly drive through Holley without stopping? I don’t know about you, but the sheer delight of the possibilities for Holley around the Christmas theme has sugarplums dancing in my head.

There’s even help to get the Santa in all of us started too … called the Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP).  Since March 1999, the Orleans County program has helped over 285 people start or expand businesses. With  a combination of classroom training, mentoring, and low-interest loans, the program has produced 151 operational enterprises and has created 200 jobs for Orleans County. Assistance is made possible with Federal funding received through the Community Development Block Grant Program administered through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Governor’s Office for Small Cities (GOSC). For more information, click here.

Trendwatch: Indoor Farmer’s Markets

How would you like to have the feeling of summer all year round? It’s possible. With many equating summer with farmer’s markets and locally produced foods, many communities across Western NY are following a growing trend nationwide of operating local farm markets all year round. One such market in our area is the weekly Highland Park Winter Market, which came together in the parking lot of Highland Park during the winter of 2009-10 then moved indoors this past November after the outdoor markets closed for the season. There are others in the area too. In fact, according to Darrel J. Aubertine, the state’s Acting Agriculture Commissioner, new winter markets are popping up all over Western NY … in fire halls, schools, and community centers.

The reason? According to Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Markets Federation of New York, the demand for fresh produce does not end just because the typical growing season ends in the fall. If anything, an indoor farmer’s market is a natural evolution in finding creative ways to satisfy the customers’ needs for fresh, local foods all year long.

Interested in starting an indoor farmer’s market here in Holley? There’s help available in the form of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). Part of the USDA, they administer grants to help improve and expand domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities, including indoor farmer’s markets. To learn more, check out USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services.

Main Street Programs

Across the country, communities such as our neighbors Medina, Albion, and Brockport are using the Main Street approach to revitalizing their traditional commercial districts. Whether they officially designate Main Street programs or simply incorporate Main Street into existing economic development, historic preservation, city management, or urban and community planning programs, national Main Street networks offer an array of support services to help coordinate Main Street programs at a local level.

The Main Street movement has found success during the past 28 years through hundreds of local, grassroots-based revitalization organizations; state, regional, and citywide coordinating programs that oversee local Main Street organizations; and the National Trust Main Street Center, which has guided the movement nationally. By working together, these organizations have been able to create preservation-based commercial district revitalization. They support each other and the Main Street movement by creating a system that allows them to share information and successes, network professionally, pursue training opportunities, and promote the Main Street approach to revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

Want to know more about how to get a Main Street Movement going in Holley? Check out Preservation Nation.

 

More preservation programs…

When many people think of the National Park Service (NPS), they often equate them with the preservation of national parks. What many do not realize is that the agency’s work actually touches almost every county in the country … regardless of proximity to a national park. In fact, the NPS works with and helps many small communities by providing expertise and grants, reviewing tax credit projects, and making surplus federal land available for parks and recreation facilities – and more!  To support their efforts, the NPS has recently launched a new state-by-state suite of web pages to share the breadth of their services.  So in addition to getting involved here in Holley, I also encourage you to check out New York’s page to learn more about how the preservation programs that the NPS administers can benefit our own community.

Act Now to Save Tax Credits

Your voice can make a difference and save a much needed tax credit at the same time. Last year the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program for commercial properties took a significant step forward by allowing new national investors to invest their equity in New York State projects.s Unfortunately, the NYS Legislature then imposed a deferred payout on the tax credit. Recently, the New York State Senate voted to remove this deferral. Your help is needed in convincing Governor Cuomo and the State Assembly to do the same.

Why does this matter to you? Removing the deferral will spur more rehabilitation projects, create more jobs, and ensure critical re-development projects in small towns such as Holley move forward.

So what do you need to do?

  1. Contact Governor Cuomo online. Ask him to include the language of “Part CC of Senate Bill S.8211B” to restore the integrity of the State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program as an economic and community re-development tool.
  2. Contact  Speaker Silver at the Assembly online. Ask to include the language of “Part CC of Senate Bill S.8211B” to restore the integrity of the State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program as an economic and community re-development tool.
  3. Thank Senate Majority Leader Skelos for including this program in the Senate budget bill online or via phone at: (518) 455-3171

Want to know more?

Together we can make a difference!

Tax Credits Available to Homeowners

Source: The Landmark Society of Rochester

Where can you get funding to help fix up your historic home? While there are very few funding sources available to private homeowners, the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) does administer a rehabilitation tax credit program for owner-occupied residential structures. If you own a house that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is located within a qualifying census tract, you may qualify for the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit for Homeowners. For more information, contact The Landmark Society or contact the friendly staff at the State Historic Preservation Office to learn more about this program and to see if your home might qualify.

Cycling the Erie Canalway

Cycling the Erie Canal, an eight-day, 400-mile, recreational bicycle tour from Buffalo to Albany along the legendary Erie Canal is scheduled for July 10-17, 2011. For a $575 fee, the event includes camping accommodations every evening with showers and toilet facilities, several with pools or lakes for swimming; eight hearty breakfasts and six delicious dinners; two refreshment stops daily stocked with fruit, snacks and beverages; entertainment and historical presentations each evening; guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums, and other attractions; a Cycling the Erie Canal T-shirt and Nalgene water bottle; sag wagon and mobile mechanical support; baggage transport; daily maps and cue sheets; and marked routes. Additional services are available for a fee, including fresh daily towels, gourmet coffee each morning, tent and air mattress rental and setup, and a massage each evening.

For riders with limited time, two weekend ride options are also available, from Buffalo to Pittsford on July 9 to July 11 and Canajoharie to Albany on July 15 to July 17. A shuttle will be available at the beginning of the ride to transport riders and their bicycles to Buffalo. Non-cycling friends and family of riders with their own transportation are welcome. Youths age 18 and under enjoy a special halfprice rate. For more information on Cycling the Erie Canal, e-mail eriecanaltour@ptny.org or visit www.ptny.org/canaltour. For further information on the Great Hudson Valley Pedal, e-mail hudsontour@ptny.org or visit www.ptny.org/hudsontour. Call 518-434-1583 for information.

2011 Heritage Weekend

Source: Western Erie Canal Alliance Newsletter

Spread the word. The 2011 New York Heritage Weekend on May 14 & 15 will showcase the Empire State’s rich history and cultural heritage to residents and visitors alike while helping to kick off the summer tourism season.  From now through May 10th, all historic sites, museums, architecturally significant buildings, local historians and historical societies, battlefields, historic districts, and any other New York State heritage resources are invited to visit HeritageWeekend.organd enter their events and programs. In addition, visitors will be able to search HeritageWeekend.org to by event type or location to discover special events and programs occurring throughout the state.

If we all work together we can have an incredibly successful weekend that will create excitement and bring business and education across New York State! With your help we can make Heritage Weekend a “do not miss” event for your region! We look forward to building a wonderful New York Heritage Weekend with you! Please contact event coordinator Heather Colby with any questions at info@heritageweekend.org.