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May 25, 2016 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, downtown, batavia, business, news.

After a City Council meeting where City Manager Jason Molino outlined his recommendations for city oversight of the Business Improvement District, the BID's Executive Director Laurie Oltramari told reporters that the BID is almost out of money because the city hasn't turned over the funds it is contractually obligated to release by May 1.

"Even though we're trying to be friendly, we feel like our funds are being held hostage," Oltramari said.

Reached later in the night, Molino said the only hold up with releasing the funds is a lack of a properly amended budget from BID that complies with the state's General Municipal Law.

"The city fully understands they need those funds to operate and will release those funds once the BID budget can be amended," Molino said. "Once compliance is achieved with the law and the budget is properly amended, then we will release those funds."

Oltramari said the BID can operate for about one more month with current reserves. If funds from the city aren't received by then, it would need to suspend operations until the money is released.

Earlier this year, Molino notified the BID that over the past several years the city's assessment of downtown properties to provide funding to the BID has not been in compliance with the law. Molino said he had previously brought this issue to the attention of the BID before Oltramari became director, and it was never addressed. This year, he's holding up the funds until the budget reflects the law's restrictions.

The law limits the BID assessment from exceeding 20 percent of the total levy for the properties in the district, plus an additional amount for repayment of bonds secured to pay for public improvements in the BID zone.  

There was a bond issued in 1999 for public improvements, such as new street lighting, and as those bonds have been paid off, the annual debt expense for the BID has decreased, but through all that time, the assessment hasn't been reduced to reflect the lower debt payments.

As a result, the BID has a capital improvement account with $216,000.

It would be logistically difficult to return those funds to downtown property owners since the amounts vary annually and many properties have changed hands over the years.

Molino is proposing that the $216,000 be held until the BID's next capital improvement project, which raises another point of contention for Oltramari.

Molino is proposing such a plan be developed with consultants and city officials. Oltramari said the BID should lead any effort to identify and plan for capital improvements using those funds since they were raised on behalf of the BID.

Since 2005, the BID has been receiving a flat $120,000 from the city for debt repayment and operational costs, which Oltramari admits she always found strange because it was always the same without any variance for a cost of living adjustments.

"We have gone above it (the GML limit) in order to continue operations because property values are so low in Batavia," Oltramari said.

Under the terms of the GML, the BID's budget for this year is being reduced to $55,000 for operations and $15,000 for debt service, which is the last debt payment from the 1999 bonds. 

That's a severe cut in operational expenses, Oltramari said. In addition to canceling Summer in the City, Oltramari doubts she will be able to keep her assistant on payroll and the BID is looking for new, lower-cost office space downtown.

The current office is on the second floor of the Masonic Temple building at Main and Center streets.

Molino's recommendations provided to the City Council last night include:

  • Ensuring the BID amends its budget to comply with the General Municipal Law;
  • Identify commingled funds that need to be separated from the BID account, which includes capital improvement funds, operational funds and money generated by BID events;
  • Ensure the City Council adopts the proper local laws each year for governance of the BID;
  • As part of the local law amendments, require that the BID's board of directors comply with the state's open meetings law and freedom of information law;
  • Require the BID to update its district plan in cooperation with residents, businesses within the BID and the city to ensure future budgets and excess capital funds are used in a manner that best represent the business and property owners needs to achieve the organizational mission.

Oltramari thinks there is some overreach by the city in these recommendations.

First, BID board meetings are open to the public, though they're not announced on the BID's Web site, Oltramari said, and approved budgets are available to the public.

The district plan is essentially a business plan and Oltramari contends that's entirely the purview of the BID's board.

"The role of the city is to figure out the assessment and what the BID gets and to assign people to our board, that's about it," Oltramari said. "From there, it is our money to spend, and if we spend it wrong, then it's up to the state comptroller say, 'slap on the hand to you.' "

May 24, 2016 - 9:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Vibrant Batavia, deer management, BID, business.

Rather than a typical Monday night meeting, the Batavia City Council is holding its conference meeting tonight, Tuesday night, and discussions are expected to include what to do about deer, what to do with funds previously earmarked for Vibrant Batavia, what happened with funding for the Business Improvement District.

The city's deer population has been a point of discussion with the council before, and after researching the issue, City Manager Jason Molino is asking the council for direction on what to do next, how much city staff time should be spent on the issue and what approach might the city take on the topic. Council members received, as part of their agenda packet, a 50-page pamphlet on community-based deer management. There are several approaches the city could take, Molino said in his memo to council, and the best approach depends on the situation in the community and what community members will accept as an appropriate response. "There is no right answer," the memo says, based on the recommendations of the pamphlet authors.

Councilman Adam Tabelski requested an item on tonight's agenda regarding the disposition of funds previously earmarked for Vibrant Batavia, which the council decided to defund at its last meeting.  That creates a pool of $97,000 in unallocated funds. Tabelski is suggesting the money be used for the as-yet unfunded Batavia Pathway to Prosperity Capital and Reinvestment Fund. New PILOT agreements with property developers is supposed to generate funds for that program, which is intended to help mitigate clean-up of brownfield sites in the city. That creates a bit of a chicken and egg problem, because funds are needed to clean up brownfields and there's no money in the fund. "Kickstarting the BP2 fund with a significant amount of seed money will help turn an innovative approach to target economic development into reality," Tabelski wrote in his memo.

The council will also discuss changes in the funding formula for the Business Improvement District. The reduction in funding for the BID prompted its board of directors to cancel Summer in the City.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

April 22, 2016 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, downtown, business.

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The Business Improvement District held its annual meeting and awards at the City Church's Generation Center on Center Street, Batavia, this afternoon.

Above, Beth Kemp and Brian Kemp, owners of T-Shirts Etc., accept one of the two Business awards handed out.

BID Director Laurie Oltramari borrowed from the movie "Moneyball" to talk about focusing on our strengths as a business community and not trying to compete with the big companies on their terms.

Felipe Oltramari, Genesee County's director of planning, delivered a keynote speech, pointing out the Batavia's highest value properties are all downtown. One mixed-use property Downtown is worth more than Walmart in tax revenue. He recommended finding ways to add density to Downtown.

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Java Farm Supply, represented by John Bookmiller, also won a BID Business Award.

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Kristen Merriam, who works for Charles Men's Shop, was honored as Volunteer of the Year.

April 19, 2016 - 2:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in BID, news, downtown batavia, business.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is proud to highlight its accomplishments for the 2015-2016 fiscal year at its 17th Annual Luncheon & Awards from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22nd at the City Church Generation Center, 15 Center St., Batavia.

Please join us to meet and hear from Laurie Oltramari, the new executive director of the BID, who holds a master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design from the University at Buffalo and previously worked as the BID assistant director for the three years.

In attendance will also be representatives from the offices of Congressman Chris Collins, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley as well as Genesee County legislators and Batavia City councilpersons. The newly elected board members for 2016-2017 will be announced by Freed Maxick, CPAs. A buffet will be served by Downtown restaurant, T.F. Brown’s.

This year’s guest speaker will be Felipe Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Planning Department, presenting on “The Value of Downtown and Secrets of Urban Design.” Oltramari was the leading voice in introducing Genesee County to the concept of “Beer-Oriented Development (BOD),” which spurred the interest and growth of breweries seeking to come to Downtown. He is also credited with educating municipalities in Genesee County on the idea of form-based codes which is a less restrictive and more intuitive land development regulation that fosters predictable building results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses/zoning types) as the organizing principle for the code.

This year’s recipients of the Batavia Business Improvement District awards includes Java Farm Supply, T-Shirts Etc., and Kristen Merriam. 

Java Farm Supply (45 Center St.)  -- Spirit of Downtown Business Award 

Java Farm Supply first opened its doors in 1951 in the basement of a small tire shop. Its founder, William Bookmiller, wanted to offer customized solutions to help local farmers by providing innovative products, many of which were manufactured right here in Batavia.  

Today, Java Farm Supply remains focused on the same purpose and has expanded its scope to include application, dairy, fruit, turf care and row-crop equipment. Its new location in Batavia compliments an expanded product offering and helps its dedicated associates and mobilized fleets deliver these solutions all over Western New York and beyond.  

Java Farm Supply and its associates are proud members of the community, supporting and participating in many local events and organizations. "We are honored to serve the community that has so graciously welcomed us."  

T-Shirts Etc, Inc., (35-37 Center S.) -- Spirit of Downtown Business Award

T-Shirts Etc. is a family owned and operated local screen-printing company that was established in 1997 and began its operation in the Industrial Building on Harvester Avenue, right here in Batavia. After several moves to accommodate the growing industry, T-Shirts Etc. made its way to Downtown Batavia in January of 2012 and became a permanent resident of Downtown after purchasing the building at 35-37 Center St. in 2015.

T-Shirts Etc. provides quality screen printing, embroidery, artwork and logo design, banners, promotional products and decals. They currently serve more than 2,000 customers within the Genesee County area as well as several customers in other counties and out of state. 

As the company hits its 19th year in business, T-Shirts Etc. currently employs five full-time people and is proud to contribute to several local charities and organizations in our community. 

T-Shirts Etc. is a proud member of the Batavia Business Improvement District, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee County Business Education Alliance, and the Advertising Specialty Institute.

Kristen Merriam -- Spirit of Downtown Volunteer Award

Kristen Merriam graduated from Churchville Chili High School in 1999 and then attended Monroe Community College in 2002. She is the proud mother of three children and an avid gardener. Kristen was nominated for the volunteer award because although she does not serve on any committee, she is the first to volunteer to help for any event including promoting events, volunteering at the Batavia Wine Walk, Beertavia, the BID’s Annual Downtown Clean-up, and even staying nearly all day to help with the BID’s largest festival, Summer in the City.

She works at Charles Men’s Shop and although sometimes volunteers only do so in order to promote their business, Kristen works hard and selflessly because she sees the value of helping the community. She has worked behind the scenes for several years. It is likely that board members or committee members do not know the extent of her help. It is with great honor that we bestow the Volunteer Award to Kristen.

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Contact: Laurie Oltramari

E-mail:   [email protected]

Phone:  (585) 344-0900 office                                                                                                                                    

April 6, 2016 - 4:52am
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia High School, BID, Z-Club, Uganda water walk, news.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is proud to once again sponsor the Third Annual Uganda Water Walk this Friday, April 8th from 3 to 5 p.m. from the Batavia High School to Downtown Batavia.

Individuals, separately or as part of a group, have found or are finding sponsors for walking ($5/mile or a one-time donation).

This fundraiser helps bring safe, clean, accessible water to communities in Uganda. Walkers are encouraged to carry water jugs as a great symbolic act. Proceeds go to the Ugandan Water Project, is sponsored by the Batavia High School Z-Club.

January 19, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in farmers markets, BID, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) would like to announce the merger of the Downtown Batavia Public Market and the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market. The joint venture would consolidate the markets and their vendors into one large farmer’s market located Downtown at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place.

The market would retain the name Downtown Batavia Public Market and would be run by the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market Board, in which Executive Director of the BID, Laurie Oltramari, was named as a board member.

With the City’s approval, the market would increase its operations to be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. After visiting surrounding businesses to get their feedback, the increase of operations was well-received by area businesses who enjoy using the market to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and more.

The markets' merger addresses the City of Batavia’s “highly distressed” census tracts to have access to essential goods for healthy living. The public market is located with the City of Batavia’s BOA plan and with the City in its process of updating its Comprehensive Plan, which is focused on smart growth and sustainable practices, the merger was a well-timed collaboration.

The Downtown area has had a walkability audit to record the needs of both walkers and drivers. Within the immediate vicinity of the downtown public market is senior housing, healthcare facilities, the historic downtown core, and the bordering neighborhoods. With this mix, it lends itself to the greater success of the Downtown Batavia Public Market.

The BID envisions the market growing and it is excited to have the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market ready and able to take on the new venture. The Genesee Country Farmer’s Market enjoyed being at the Batavia Downs parking lot and thanks them for their support through the years, but the new move will reinforce the sustainable model for the farmers and tap into the trending desire to be located in downtowns.

If you would like more information regarding the merger of the markets or the BID in general, please contact Laurie Oltramari at (585) 344-0900 or e-mail[email protected]. If you are interested in volunteering or being a vendor at the Downtown Batavia Public Market, please contact Bob Austen at[email protected].

December 21, 2015 - 2:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, BID, charles men's shop.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) would like to announce the winner of the Downtown Batavia Holiday Window Decorating Contest. It is Charles Men’s Shop, located at 200 E. Main St.

As the winner of the contest, Charles Men’s Shop will receive $200 as the prize for the best window. Second and third place were Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, and Art Ah La Carte, respectively.

The annual contest is a chance for downtown businesses to not only put their best foot forward in decorating their windows, it is also an opportunity for them to encourage people to come downtown and walk around, hence “More Feet Downtown.”

Ten judges, who are senior ladies, were driven by bus, which was provided through the Genesee County Office for the Aging. Anita Dziekan, of Batavia, coordinated the group and provided them with Santa hats and made the experience a very merry morning. The judges walked around the downtown and viewed 16 windows.

Even before the official judging today, Dec. 21, the judges also looked at the windows at night to see the displays lit up. The judges were impressed not only by the display, but also admitted that their window looks wonderful and inviting even at night.

The judges ranked the windows based on certain criteria, such as creativity, attracted a person to want to go inside, or if the content was related to their business, among other criteria. For example, the judges liked that Councilperson Rosemary Christian took the time to decorate one of the Carr’s vacant windows.

“Given the great weather, they were able to walk around a lot more and discuss the windows and what they saw downtown. It was very insightful to hear their comments,” said Laurie Oltramari, BID executive director.

“Walkability is my primary focus for the downtown. If people do not want to walk around, they will not stay or even come. It is a simple answer to a complex set of challenges.”

You can post on the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District Facebook page or contact Laurie Oltramari at (585) 344-0900 or e-mail [email protected] to share pictures or to ask questions about the contest. Please contact David Howe at Charles Men’s Shop at (585) 343-2086 to coordinate a time to take a picture of their windows!

December 5, 2015 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Christmas in the City.

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To purchase prints, click here.

November 18, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, BID, Shop Small Saturday.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is a neighborhood champion for Small Business Saturday, also known as “Shop Small Saturday.”

Shop Small has become a national movement along the lineup of Black Friday & Cyber Monday. This year’s Shop Small event is Saturday, Nov. 28th, and will take place all over the country. The Batavia BID distributed promotional materials for the event to its downtown retail and restaurant businesses and encouraged them to do their own form of promotion as well. The nonprofit organization also invited local business owners, residents, and politicians with postcards to come to specific places to encourage the understanding that downtown Batavia has great places to shop, dine, live and play.
 
The Batavia BID intends to take pictures on Shop Small Saturday and encourages those that shop small that day to share them with the Batavia BID. You can post on the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District Facebook page or contact Laurie Oltramari at (585) 344-0900 or e-mail [email protected] to share pictures or to ask questions about the event.
 
Please join the movement to support your local economy by shopping small not only on Small Business Saturday, but each Saturday!

November 10, 2015 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, BID, batavia, Art Ah La Carte, business.

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Kimberly Yasses Argenta has moved Art Ah La Carte from Harvester Avenue to Downtown Batavia, into a storefront on Jackson Street.

She moved the art studio and classroom space because she needed more space, she said, and she thought the location would give her better exposure.

"Already, people have come in off the street, so that's a good thing," Argenta said.

She also thought it would be beneficial to be part of the Business Improvement District and enjoy those promotional opportunities.

This Friday and Saturday she is hosting "Brush Out Cancer," an event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Friday is an art show, vendors' auctions and a 50/50 raffle. On Saturday, from noon to 1:30 p.m., there is Kids Paint. The cost is $30 and pre-registration is required (call (585) 245-1655). And in the evening, starting at 6, Monet and Merlot, which costs $45 and includes refreshments, though if you want wine, you need to bring your own bottle. There will be a wine tasting. Saturday evening's event also includes auctions and a 50/50 raffle.

The fundraisers are in memory of Argenta's mother, Mickey Yasses, who passed away in December, 2013.

November 10, 2015 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, BID, parking.

Downtown business owners, especially bar owners, want to see a change in the restrictions on overnight parking Downtown, Laurie Oltramari, new executive director of the Business Improvement District, told City Council members during Monday's meeting.

Oltramari spoke during the open public comments portion of the agenda.

She's asking that the city adjusts the parking law, which prohibits on-street parking and parking in public lots from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., during the spring, summer and fall to allow bar patrons to leave their cars overnight if they decide that's the best option.

"The bar owners came to me because they felt their patrons are being penalized for leaving cars after drinking (at the bar)," Oltramari said. "When you have to make that choice between moving your car because you might get a ticket or leaving it when you're intoxicated or a little tipsy, you might make that wrong choice."

City Manager Jason Molino said he became aware of the request for the change for the first time when Oltramarie raised it during the meeting. He said with the city about to embark on a new comprehensive planning process, that process is the appropriate venue for addressing the issue.

"I think there is positives and negatives with it," Molino said. "It does create a maintenance issue at times. I really don't know if the restriction on overnight parking really does or doesn't create a problem. I mean, it's been in existence and I don't think it's prevented anything from happening."

One of the primary reasons for the restriction is to make snow removal easier during the winter, which is why Oltramari is asking for a seasonal adjustment, not a blanket, year-round change.

Oltramari presented a list of other small cities in Upstate New York and their various parking restrictions, many of which have seasonal parking laws, including Fulton, Geneva, Hornell (restricted overnight in the fall for leaf cleanup), North Tonawanda, Norwich, Ogdensburg, Olean (based on snowfall levels) and Rome.

Molino said he's spoken with many of his colleagues throughout the state about the issue and it's not that straightforward.

"They say, 'when you find a solution, let us know,' " Molino said.

As for going through the comprehensive plan process, Oltramari said something should be done sooner rather than later. 

"I think it can be addressed with the comprehensive plan, but that's a long process," Oltramari said. "Why would we want to wait for that when this is the right choice in the meantime?"

October 4, 2015 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BID, business, downtown.

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Nearly 700 tickets were sold to this year's wine walk in Downtown Batavia, with a couple of dozen businesses participating. Rain didn't dampen the good times.

Top photo is the service area for The Batavian in the entryway of the Masonic Temple building. Thanks to Dee Neilans, Lisa Ace and Lucie Ann Griffis for serving the food and wine, and special thanks to Dibble Family Center for catering our food service.

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September 22, 2015 - 6:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, BID, genesee county chamber of commerce, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), Batavia Development Corporation, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will host investors and developers for a luncheon and tour prior to the sixth annual BID Batavia Wine Walk on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Prior to the wine walk, a lunch will be served followed by tours of various sites and commercial spaces in the City of Batavia, including Tompkins Bank of Castile’s new call center. The tour from 1 to 3 p.m. and the wine walk afterward are for any developer, business owner or investor interested in learning about economic development opportunities in the City and the various incentives that are available through the GCEDC.

“This is a great opportunity for developers to see first-hand some of our unique downtown properties and sites,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. “This event is part of our ongoing efforts to inform and educate developers about the many business opportunities that exist in Genesee County, and specifically the City of Batavia.”

“The BID offers a unique and walkable downtown experience that is important to both the baby boomers and the millennium generation,” said Laurie Oltramari, the new executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID). “The needs of these large generations need to be addressed and have great potential for investment. Having a walkable downtown is essential to its success, and we have it. Now we need to show potential investors how eliminating gaps when walking down the street is critical to ‘creating a place.’ ”

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce supports and encourages business development throughout Genesee County,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “With its location between Buffalo and Rochester in the heart of Western New York, no other county can offer the strategic advantages that Genesee County can. As the county seat and the logistical center of the county, the City of Batavia is an ideal spot for developers to grow their business footprint in the Upstate New York market.”

The registration deadline for the luncheon, tour and walk is Sept. 30. Free hotel accommodations are available for out-of-town developers and guests. For more information and to register, please contact Laurie Oltramari at the BID at 585-344-0900 or [email protected].

September 5, 2015 - 12:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, wine walk, BID.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) will once again hosts its 6th annual Batavia Wine Walk from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3rd.

Tickets are now available for purchase at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle (8 Center St.; 343-0584), T-Shirts, Etc. (37 Center St.; 345-1997), Valle Jewelers (21 Jackson St.; 343-3372), and The YNGodess Shop (73 Main St. 343-3170).

Tickets are $20/person which includes wine tastings at local businesses and a commemorative glass. VIP tickets are $30/person and include early admission at 3 p.m., wine tastings at local businesses and a commemorative glass and wine holder tote. Designated driver tickets are $5/person, which includes admission to the event with complimentary drinks and snacks at different participating businesses.

The event is a great way to bring people Downtown, enjoy the fall season, and get to know your local business persons. You must be 21 to participate and show proof of age at registration. Check Facebook for updates, wines, and businesses!

If anyone would like to help decorate the Downtown with fall decorations the weekend before, on Sept. 26th at 8 a.m., please contact Laurie at (585) 344-0900, e-mail [email protected], or LIKE us on Facebook at DowntownBataviaBusinessImprovementDistrict.

August 15, 2015 - 8:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Summer in the City, BID.

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To purchase prints, click here.

August 13, 2015 - 3:00pm

CALLING ARTISTS OF ALL AGES: Enter for a chance to win one of several great prizes, including our top prize of $250 for 1st Place! Right now we have very few adult artists signed up to chalk so your chances of winning big are, well... BIG! We also have a People's Choice category for the public to vote on their favorite with the winner receiving a gift basket from Alex's Place Restaurant!

Teens can walk away with a $75 cash prize and our youth prize is a $75 gift basket from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle! The contest takes place during Summer in the City this Saturday, Aug. 15th. Artists can start at 9 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. Judging and awards will be presented immediately after and announced on stage!  Artists can enjoy food, drinks and entertainment from the Summer in the City festival.  

With every artist's registration, you will receive a goody bag consisting of a box of 24 chalks to get started, an event T-shirt from T-Shirts Etc., and a Snapple beverage from CH Wright!  

If you are an area artist and are a member of GO ART! or Batavia Society of Artists, your registration is discounted by 50 percent!   

This contest is raising money for future art events through GO ART!, and will help fund the youth art program at GO ART!, which helps bring art programs to children all around our county.  

A huge shout out to our platinum city sponsors that have made this event possible: Main Street Pizza Co., Alex's Place, Batavia Business Improvement District, Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, CH Wright and T-Shirts Etc.! And many many more! Register today by click here.

July 30, 2015 - 5:15pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, business, BID.

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Tomorrow is Don Burkel's last day as the executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District.

Burkel just has to tidy up his desk before he passes the torch to incoming director Laurie Oltramari.

Burkel was the first director of the BID and has been leading the not-for-profit organization for almost 17 years. He has witnessed Downtown Batavia undergo many changes.

"When I started as the director, there was a variety of retail businesses in the city," Burkel said. "Now there are fewer businesses and properties are harder to fill with retail."

Although there has been a decline in the number of businesses, Burkel has overseen many positive changes as well. Some of his favorite projects include the transformation of buildings on Main Street and Jackson Street.

"I will miss working with the people of Downtown Batavia and seeing various projects completed," Burkel said.

Burkel believes people should focus on the positive aspects of Downtown Batavia and all of the potential small business opportunities it has to offer. In the future, he foresees development of the old Carr building and the construction of a boutique hotel. He also predicts more pop-up businesses will come to Downtown.

"I want to thank everyone Downtown for supporting me," Burkel said. "I know the BID's Board of Directors and committees will continue to further the vision for Downtown Batavia. I look forward to their accomplishments in the future and as I always say 'Shop Downtown!' "

To kick off his retirement, he is traveling to Maine with his wife to do some kayaking. He also plans to continue his photography and expand his collection.

July 30, 2015 - 2:52pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, BID, Beertavia.

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(Laurie Oltramari, Derick Kane, Stephanie Crean, and Corey Wolcott)

The Ellicottville Brewing Company accepted its Beertavia plaque for its famous Blueberry Wheat Beer at Angotti's Beers of the World this morning.

The brewing company's Blueberry Wheat Beer won "2015 Western New York's Brew of the Year" for the best brew at the Beertavia event held on May 16, hosted by the Batavia Business Improvement District.

"It's fantastic to be receiving the award today," said Stephanie Crean, brewery sales representative. "Ellicottville Brewing Company is celebrating its 20-year anniversary and we have been making the Blueberry Wheat Beer for 15 years. The beer is one of our customers' favorites."

Corey Wolcott, manager at Angotti's Beers of the World, said the Blueberry Wheat Beer is a crowd favorite among the locals as well and sells out fast.

According to Laurie Oltramari, the incoming executive director of the BID, Beertavia was a huge success and she plans to make it an annual event. More than 14 craft brewers attended the event and two breweries are looking at spaces Downtown.

July 21, 2015 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in GO ART!, chalk the walk, Summer in the City, BID, batavia.

Press release:

The Batavia Improvement District’s Summer in the City festival presents GO ART!’s Chalk the Walk. As part of the bash that is Summer in the City, which is sponsored by the Batavia Improvement District, there will be some extra artistry and competition.

GO ART! will be presenting the second annual Chalk the Walk on Aug. 15th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Artists, professional and amateur and young and old, will be able to purchase a square section of concrete by the City Center to decorate with chalk pastels. There will also be a children’s section for fun scribbling. Using materials available, artists will follow the theme “GO ART!...Where does art take YOU?” to create inspired pieces for a crowd of at least 2,000 people.

Prizes will be awarded to those whose pieces are most outstanding. Adult First Prize will be $250. People’s Choice Award will be a $20 Alex’s Place gift card, two T-shirts, and two mugs. The Youth Prize will be a basket of goodies worth more than $50.

A jury will select the winners for Adult First Prize and the Youth Prize. People’s Choice will be chosen by the general public by way of donation voting (ie: the art piece that receives the most donation money will be the People’s Choice winner). All donations collected for the People’s Choice Award will go to funding GO ART! youth programming.

To sign-up for this event, people need to register online at http://www.goart.org/chalk-the-walk/ or register in person at GO ART!, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, from Tuesday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. People can also sign up and pay the day of the event but it is highly encouraged to do so ahead of time. Remember, no one is officially registered until payment is received.

Fees are $20 for adults (18+) and $10 for Youths (17 & under). Every registered artists will receive a box of chalks and a drink to get them started. There will be a chalk swap area where people can trade out their chalks for other colors they need. Artists are encouraged to bring their own chalks as well.

It is important to assure that each artist and their work, as well as the event itself, is respected, so there will be rules and regulations. These are available on the Web site at at http://www.goart.org/chalk-the-walk/.

People can find updates on Chalk the Walk by going to the Web site: http://www.goart.org/chalk-the-walk/ or by following Chalk the Walk on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BataviaStreetPaintingFestival.

Chalk the Walk is currently seeking financial sponsors to make this exciting event happen and those interested should e-mail or call Gena Korn at [email protected] or at (585) 343-9313.

CONTACT PERSON: GENA KORN
PHONE #: 585.343.9313
E-MAIL: [email protected]

July 17, 2015 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson Square, batavia, downtown, BID.

Tonight's Jackson Square concert, featuring Penny Whiskey, is being moved to City Centre because there may be rain.

The show is at 7 p.m.

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