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April 28, 2018 - 6:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, BID, batavia, news, notify, business.

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Pastor Marty Macdonald was an evangelist for Downtown Batavia at the Business Improvement District's annual meeting and awards breakfast in the Generation Center on Friday morning.

Macdonald, pastor of City Church and the keynote speaker Friday, delivered a sermon on the virtues and values of Batavia, his belief in its potential, and his encouragement for Downtown's business owners to remain steadfast in their commitment to growth and community.

“This is the greatest city on the face of the Earth,” Macdonald said. “I really believe that. We as leaders are commissioned to make incredible decisions, not just once in a lifetime but every single day because we are presented with the call to make the future around us great. And not just for five, 10 or 15 years. We are called to change generations yet to come.”

He said he is overjoyed to see the success he sees coming Batavia's way and encouraged business owners not to gripe about the problems they might see but embrace what is going right.

"I’m thankful when I pull into the parking lot next to our building and I can’t find a place to park," Macdonald said. "I remember there was a time you could have thrown a bowling ball in any direction and not hit anything. Now people are upset because they’ve got to walk a little bit. Come on, we need to walk more anyways."

Instead of listening to the few lingering negative voices in the community who badmouth everything they see, Macdonald said we all should aim higher.

"I know I’m not talking to anybody in this room who talks about things that can’t be done," Macdonald said. "I’m talking to people who are can-do people here. Instead of saying what cannot be done or listening to the two or three voices in the community that seem to have the largest megaphone built into their mouths, let’s decide to live at a higher level than we’ve ever lived before. Let’s commit our attitude to be changed in order to go higher and go further than we have ever gone before."

After comparing and contrasting two birds of the desert -- the vulture that feeds only on dead things and the hummingbird that seeks beautiful flowers and spreads life -- Macdonald said, "Can I encourage you today to start thinking like a hummingbird, to start thinking like that one who is looking for life, looking things that are living, instead of focusing on something that is dead. I just want to throw this out here, and I don’t mean to insult anybody, but urban renewal is over. It’s dead. It’s gone. Yes, we learn from yesterday but we can’t stay stuck in yesterday if we are going to move on to a great future."

Adding, "In my church, everyone would say, ‘Amen’ right now."

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Jon Mager, co-owner of the newly established Eli Fish Brewing Company, along with Matt Gray and Matt Boyd, delivered the opening remarks, talking about how the new restaurant, brewery, and restaurant incubator came to be.

"We all grew up in Batavia," Mager said. "We’re all very familiar with the area. We recognize that Downtown has been hurting for quite a few years. Over the years we, unfortunately, saw many restaurants and retail stores leave Downtown or close up completely. We admit we looked other places. We saw places with lower rent, lower operating costs, and lower construction costs over the entire project."

But they picked the former Newberry building for several reasons, including (the fact that) its surrounded by parking; Jackson Square is a hidden gem; there is ample traffic passing past the location; the current Downtown businesses are "awesome," and they are all nostalgic and love old buildings.

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City Council President Eugene Jankowski talked about the benefits of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the process of the city winning the $10 million prize.

He recalled that while making a presentation in Albany, a slideshow of pictures was on a screen behind him when serendipity struck.

"I was talking about how I was walking to school and I remember the smell of those wet, demolished bricks and seeing this once beautiful downtown just rumble down," Jankowski said. "I remember that smell and I was telling the story, and unbeknownst to me, the picture came up of urban renewal and a pile of wet bricks. Jason (Molino) told me that afterward and I thought maybe the timing is right on this one."

Jankowski expressed his appreciation for Downtown's local business owners.

"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for investing your time and your hard-earned money in our Downtown and in our City," Jankowski said. "I know it’s a risk and I know sometimes it’s not always easy, but I as a Batavian really appreciate driving down Main Street and seeing all the traffic."

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Jeff Gillard was named a Volunteer of the Year.

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Derek Kane was named a Volunteer of the Year.

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The Genesee Valley PennySaver, celebrating its 70th year in business, was named a Business of the Year. Pictured are Manual Karem, PennySaver ad manager, owner Steve Harrison, BID Director Beth Kemp, BID Board President Steve Krna, and Beth Walker, a sales associate with the PennySaver.

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Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, celebrating its 100th anniversary, was a Business of the Year. Pictured are Buzz Masse, Mark Masse, Joyce Masse, Cathy Roche, Michael Mugler, John Roche, and Krna and Kemp from the BID.

April 9, 2018 - 4:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia, news, BID.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District will hold its Annual Meeting & Awards Breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 27th at City Church Generation Center, 15 Center St., Batavia. Registration opens at 8 a.m.

There will be an overview of this year’s goals, announcement of newly elected board members, and presentation of “Spirit of Downtown” Awards.

Cost is $20 to attend. All BID Members are invited. RSVP by Monday, April 16th to the Downtown Batavia BID office at 200 E. Main St., Suite 12, Batavia, NY 14020 or at www.DowntownBataviaNY.com.

This Year’s Spirit of Downtown Business Award winners are Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle and Genesee Valley PennySaver. Spirit of Downtown Volunteer Award winners are Jeff Gillard and Derik Kane.

For further information contact Beth Kemp at 585-344-0900 or [email protected].

March 30, 2018 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in BID, batavia, Jackson Square, music.

The lineup has just been released for the 2018 Downtown Batavia Concert Series in Jackson Square, according to the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District.

Live music will be featured on Friday evenings from 7 to 9 in the square, located between Center and Jackson streets, bring your own chair. Admission is free thanks to the generosity of sponsors for the concert series.

Here's the lineup:

  • June 22 -- Red Creek (Party Rock)
  • June 29 -- Don Newcomb Band (Country)
  • July 6 -- Old Hippies (Acoustic & Original)
  • July 13 -- The Josie Waverly Band (Contemporary Country)
  • July 20 -- The Grove Street Band (Classic Rock / R & B)
  • July 27 -- The Ohms Band (Classic Rock)
  • Aug. 3 -- Mitty & The Followers (Motown)
  • Aug. 10 -- Ghost Riders (Hardcore Country)
  • Aug. 17 -- Something Else ('80s / '90s Pop Rock)
  • Aug. 24 -- Bluesway Band (Blues)
December 6, 2017 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sonny's Restaurant, batavia, downtown, BID, news.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) Christmas in the City Committee would like to announce the winner of the annual Holiday Window Decorating Contest & The Holiday Parade.

The window contest was judged by seven community members, during the day, that were escorted by RTS Bussing arranged through the Genesee County Office for the Aging, as well as five members of our local Zonta organization of Genesee County during the evening. The groups scored 18 windows of local businesses located within the Downtown BID. 

We would like to congratulate Sunny’s Restaurant, located at 12 Batavia City Centre, as this year’s winner of the contest. The winner receives $200 cash prize, as well as $100 advertising credit at The Batavian and $100 advertising credit at Genesee Valley PennySaver.

The Holiday Parade this year brought out 30 different groups, agencies, organizations and businesses. Four local parade judges were tasked with voting for “Best Float” overall. The winner of this year’s Holiday Parade goes to Rosicki, Rosicki, & Associates, located at 26 Harvester Ave. Congratulations to Rosicki, Rosicki, & Associates and "Thank You" to all that participated in this year’s Christmas in the City!

August 12, 2017 - 8:37pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, BID, genesee, BEER FESTIVAL, news.

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Beertavia was this afternoon and it was a funtavia festivia in the suntavia. Sorry for going too far with the puntavias.

Batavia BID (Business Improvement District) hosted a beer tasting with more than 24 craft brews and ciders.

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What is normally a blacktop parking lot on Bank Street in Downtown Batavia was transformed into a lawn-covered oasis, with a giant white tent for the nearly 700 people in attendance.

While patrons were tasting the unlimited beer and cider, Ohm’s Band performed a few sets to help keep the atmosphere upbeat.

Batavia Turf donated the grass for the parking lot that had quite a few lawn games as wall as picnic table seating and Adirondack lawn chairs.

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The reputation and size of Beertavia is growing every year. So much so, this couple flew up from Chattanooga, Tenn., just for this event. They read about it on beerfests.com and decided it was for the right festival for them. (Picture below.)

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Black Creek Cidery won the People's Choice Award for the best drink in the tasting.

Angotti Beverage Corp. helped bring this group of brews together and we are fairly certain all are available locally, if you wan to try some of what was inside the tent or buy some of your favorites to enjoy at home.

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August 9, 2017 - 6:30pm


This year’s third Annual Beertavia promises to be better than ever. With more than 20 local breweries, this year’s attendees will be greeted with over 50 tastings of local craft brew, cider and mead. Along with delicious beverages, the event will host several food and specialty vendors.

As the Headline Sponsor this year, Alex’s Place will be on site serving up their amazing menu. We are pleased to have with us also this year Batavia’s Original Pizzeria, Yancey’s Fancy, Cheesed and Confused Food truck, Buffalo Brew Fab, The Bavarian Nut Factory, Santiago Cigar Factory, and more!

Tickets are still available at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, Angotti Beverage and Batavia Bootery until Friday at 5 p.m., and then available at the event. Get your tickets today for Beertavia this Saturday!

The OHMS Band will be performing live and there will be some great raffles! Click here to purchase your tickets now.

April 21, 2017 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, downtown, batavia, news.

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The Business Improvement District held its annual meeting and awards breakfast this morning at City Church's Generations Hall on Cedar Street, Batavia.

Above, Director Beth Kemp delivers opening remarks.

The Spirit of Downtown Award was given this year to Steve Hawley and his downtown business, The Insurance Center.  Hawley was out of town, so not available to accept the award.

Photos below: Amy Worthington, owner of Amy's Fluffy Friends, and a tireless volunteer for the BID, received one of two volunteer of the year awards. The other went to Corey Wolcott, bottom photo, manager of Angotti's Beverage, for his volunteer work on Beertavia, which is now heading into its third year as a local annual event.

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April 4, 2017 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, downtown, business.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District will hold its Annual Meeting & Awards Breakfast on Friday, April 21st
from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. (registration at 8 a.m.). At City Church Generation Center, 15 Center St., Batavia.

Overview of this year’s goals, announcement of newly elected board members, and presentation of “Spirit of Downtown” Awards. It costs $10 to attend. All BID members are invited.

RSVP by Monday, April 17th to the Downtown Batavia BID office at 200 E. Main St., Suite 12, Batavia, NY 14020. For further information contact Beth Kemp at 585-344-0900 or [email protected].

February 24, 2017 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, chamber of commerce, batavia, business.

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The Business After Hours gathering for the Chamber of Commerce yesterday was also a celebration of the arrival of a news director for Business Improvement District.

Beth Kemp moved into the BID office more than a month ago and she and her husband, Brian, co-owners of T-Shirts Etc. and both artists, went right to work redecorating the space, so for many of the people attending the event were seeing the bright and attractive revamped space for the first time.

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December 3, 2016 - 10:03am

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Hundreds of people lined Main Street in Downtown Batavia on Friday night for the Christmas parade that was the highlight of a successful Christmas in the City for 2016.

Many businesses opened their doors for activities and food to celebrate the annual event.

To view photos and purchase prints click here:  steveognibenephotography.com

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One of the many floats in the annual parade.

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Bradley Winslow, local musician.

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10-year-old Ryan Cox getting his face painted sponsored by T-Shirts Etc.

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Batavia Concert Band

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Students and staff from Batavia City School District singing carols at the Holland Land Office Museum.

November 30, 2016 - 6:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Kemp, BID, batavia, downtown, business, news.

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Beth Kemp, who has been active in the Downtown business community since she and her husband, Brian Kemp, moved their business, T-Shirts Etc., to East Main Street in 2012, has been named the new executive director of the Business Improvement District.

Kemp replaces Laurie Oltramari, who resigned about two months ago, following a recruitment search by the board of directors that brought in potential job candidates from throughout the region.

Kemp thinks the board recognized her passion and commitment to Downtown.

"I feel there is a lot of potential for our Downtown and I would love the opportunity to bring it to the vision that I see," Kemp said. " I feel the board of directors is moving in the right direction. I think I’m able to collaborate nicely with all the organizations and the city. I have great relationships already established to move things forward."

In order to take the job, Kemp resigned from her director position with the Business Education Alliance.

The move seemed like a natural extension of her longtime involvement with the BID, she said.

"I've actually been in love with our downtown since we moved our small business down here," Kemp said. "I jumped on any opportunity I could take to get on all the committees to help with events to help other small business owners, so it just seemed like a perfect fit for me.  It’s everything that I love to do."

Since moving Downtown, T-Shirt's Etc., which started in the Harvester Center, them moved to the former WBTA building at Main and Harvester, before moving to East Main, has continued to grow and is now located on Center Street.

There's been some tension the past year or two between City Hall and the BID, but Kemp things will be smooth sailing going forward.

"For me personally, I’ve never had any tension or problem dealing with the City on any level," Kemp said. "They’ve always been very willing to help me with any event that we’re coordinating. Any committee I’ve been on, we’ve had great relationships. I don’t see that as being an issue at all."

November 28, 2016 - 3:00pm

  • There will be horse and buggy rides again this year. Purchase tickets at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle. 
  • Home Depot is hosting "Santa's Workshop" at 109 Main St. (The Newberry Building). Stop into the Hillside Children's Center for a craft, cookies and cocoa. 
  • T-Shirts Etc. will be hosting a T-shirt coloring contest. The cost is $3 each with all the proceeds going to Don Carroll Toys for Kids. 
  • Amy's Fluffy Friends is offering professional Photos with your pets, family and kids, with all proceeds going to charity. 
  • Catch a bus to visit the Holland Land Office Museum’s Wonderland of Trees. The bus departs from the Save-A-Lot parking lot. 
  • Pollyanna and Dot along with The Hidden Door will be offering a Christmas themed activity for children. They are also offering 15 percent off all full-priced items. 
  • Warm up at the YNGodess with an adult only tasting and in store specials. 
  • Stop into Art Ah La Carte to make a Christmas Ornament. For $2, children can make an angel ornament. All proceeds will benefit Josh Harloff to help pay medical bills due to battling leukemia.
  • The First Presbyterian Church at 300 E. Main St. will be putting together a nativity walk during Christmas in the City. Walk through and view a variety of scenes from around the world and close to home. 
  • The Batavia Concert Band will be playing in the mall concourse from 6 to 6:45. 
  • Game-On will be having an open play in their new gaming lounge called the Warp Zone. They will have different games set up for kids to play, along with refreshments. 
  • GO ART! is hosting the "Celtic Christmas in the City" with the Tullamore Celtic Band, Irish dancers, carolers and refreshments. 
  • Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle will be offering Buy 1, Get 1 FREE on bicycle tune –up gift cards! They will also be serving their famous chili. 
  • Mane Attraction is offering hair Tinsel at Christmas in the City! $5/ strand... get your holiday hair on!
  • Stop in to Charles Men's Shop during Christmas in the City and check out their amazing new styles and holiday specials! 
  • Bahama Bay Salon and Spa will be having a basket raffle. Enter to win a basket valued at more than $200, with gift certificates, clothing and more. 
  • The Spa at Artemis is offering a special discount for Christmas in the City. Their $80 "Touch of Artemis" package is marked down to $65! 
September 3, 2016 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, business, news.

Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the Batavia Improvement District, turned in her letter of resignation this week.

BID president Victor Gautieri confirmed the resignation and said the board would meet in the coming week to decide what to do next. 

Oltramari led the organization for a year. 

Gautieri declined further comment.

July 2, 2016 - 11:31am

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The 2016 summer season of concerts in Jackson Square kicked off Friday night with performances by St. Joe's of Batavia Brass Ensemble (its 85th Reunion) and the Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Corps (with an interlude covering the history of the bugle, featuring members of the ensemble).

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June 28, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, downtown, batavia, news, business.

Officials are being coy with details, but the city and the Business Improvement District are apparently close to a negotiated agreement that will end a bit of a dispute over some operational issues. 

The turning point apparently came at a meeting Friday involving City Manager Jason Molino, City Attorney George Van Nest and an attorney for the BID who, up to this point, hadn't been involved in the situation.

Laurence Rubin, of Kavinoky & Cook, LLP, in Buffalo, was at Monday's City Council meeting, where Molino informed council members that progress had been made and an agreement should be forthcoming.

A public hearing on a proposed change to local law that would have affected the BID's district plan as well as required the BID board to abide by the State's Open Meeting Law and Freedom of Information Law was held, but there were no speakers.

Both Molino and Rubin sidestepped questions about the sunshine law requirements.

"We have an agreement in principle on the substantive issues," Rubin said. "I don’t want to get into the details and give you a long law school lecture, which I’m sure you don’t want to get into now, but in terms of the principles of transparency and timelines, I think there’s agreement."

Molino said, "I think both the City and the BID board are interested in the issues of transparency and that the public having access to board decisions and board meetings as well as how decisions are being made."

Rubin said he is an expert in the area of special districts and business improvement districts and General Municipal Law (GML).  

Asked if he was aware of any districts that were required to abide specifically by the sunshine laws, he said he didn't know of any, but that such districts and boards are generally open and transparent.

"I think government and the public and taxpayers do want to see transparency and I think there is a common theme about that," Rubin said. "Again, I don’t want to get into a law school lecture. The Freedom of Information Law or the Open Meetings Law, per se, is not really the issue. The issue is should there be transparency and there is absolute agreement on both sides that there should be."

At no point, has there been any specific allegation that the BID or the BID board has been anything less than transparent, but Molino raised the idea few weeks ago that to ensure transparency, the city should require the BID to abide by the sunshine laws.

In a memo to BID members last week -- property and business owners within the downtown district -- Executive Director Laurie Oltramari said the BID board objected to the sunshine law requirement not because the BID isn't transparent, but as a matter of legal precedent and principle. 

"The BID board is opposed to the City of Batavia adopting a local law imposing such as it conflicts with state law and our meetings are already open to the BID membership," Oltramari said. "For the City to implement such is creating new law for the City of Batavia, setting new precedent within NY State and discriminating against a not-for-profit corporation."

The dust-up between the city and the BID began a few weeks ago when Molino required the BID board to cut its budget to better comply with General Municipal Law, which Molino said the BID's budget had skirted for the past few years.

The BID's assessment, which is the basis for the BID's budget, is set by the city and while Molino said he has raised the issue with the BID in previous years, this year he said the city would correct the assessment to comply with GML.

Rubin repeatedly said that in his role as legal counsel for the BID on this issue, he didn't want to look back and concentrate on past history.

"We had a very positive discussion with the city administrator and the city attorney," Rubin said. "We talked about substantive issues. We set aside the history and whatever conversations may have been and we just talked about the statute and the proposed revisions to the local law. It was very constructive. I can’t really speak to what happened in the past, but going forward seems to be very constructive and very productive."

June 27, 2016 - 5:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in downtown, BID, jackson square concerts, batavia, news.

Press release:

Starting this Friday, July 1st, the Jackson Square Concert Series is set to begin with St. Joe’s of Batavia Brass Ensemble as a celebration of their 85th Reunion. Concerts are in Jackson Square every Friday through August from 7-9 p.m. If you’d like to attend, be sure to bring a chair to relax or bring your dancing feet for some great fun Downtown.

Bands are booked by the BID Executive Director Laurie Oltramari. Many people ask how bands are chosen. Price and sponsorship are always factors. However, last year, the new director had a table at every concert to ask people what bands they like and if they wanted any new. She asked on the radio, walked around to several businesses, asked her board members, and asked on Facebook. And of course, bands contact her at the beginning of the year to see who will be chosen. Bands were booked based on price, availability, genre, and returning bands vs. new bands.

“I tried to mix it up, and of course, you cannot please everyone," she said. "We are especially grateful for M&T Bank as always being the title sponsor to bring such a wonderful event Downtown.” 

The lineup for this year:

Friday, July 1st -- St. Joe's of Batavia Brass Ensemble (85th Reunion)
Friday, July 8th -- Fat City (Soft Rock)
Friday, July 15th -- Ghost Riders (Country)
Friday, July 22nd -- Universal Mind (Rock)
Friday, July 29th -- The Fibs (Rock/Reggae/Funk)
Friday, Aug. 5th -- Stone Row (Celtic Rock)
Friday, Aug.12th -- Midnight Cruisers (Rock)
Friday, Aug. 19th -- It's My Party ('50s and '60s)
Friday, Aug. 26th -- Josie Waverly Band (Country)

For any questions or concerns, please contact Laurie Oltramari at (585) 344-0900 or email [email protected].

June 23, 2016 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, news, downtown, business.

Members of the Batavia Improvement District were informed yesterday in a memo from Executive Director Laurie Oltramari, that the BID Board of Directors has voted to oppose a plan to change the rules for how the BID operates.

City Manager Jason Molino has proposed to City Council that the city adopt a district plan for the BID, which in the past has been drafted by the BID board and then approved by the council, and require that BID comply with the state's Freedom of Information Law and Open Meetings Law.

Oltramari said the BID has already turned in a budget for 2016 that is compliant with the state's General Municipal Law.  

The whole issue of the BID's budget is what precipitated the city's recent actions, but Oltramari told BID members that it was the responsibility of the city manager to ensure property owners in the Downtown tax district were charged the appropriate tax rate, not the BID's.

"The City wants to implement compliance of the debt limits within the General Municipal Law, something that has been known to the City Manager for several years," Oltramari said in her memo to members. "In addition, the City levied the 2016 assessment knowing that there was a compliance issue, collected the BID assessment, and is retained the funds without any authority to withhold funds that are due and owing to the BID."

BID members are people who either own property in the Downtown district or operate businesses in the district.

Oltramari invited BID members to visit her office at 200 E. Main St., Batavia, on Monday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to discuss these issues, or to make an appointment with her for a conversation.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the city's proposed changes at 7 p.m., Monday.

The proposal would also require the BID to comply with the state's open government law, but Oltramari said director's meetings are already transparent and open for its members.

"The BID board is opposed to the City of Batavia adopting a local law imposing such as it conflicts with state law and our meetings are already open to the BID membership," Oltramari said. "For the City to implement such is creating new law for the City of Batavia, setting new precedent within NY State and discriminating against a not-for-profit corporation."

June 18, 2016 - 10:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beertavia, batavia, downtown, BID, news.

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Beer, sun and fun at Beertavia today.

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June 10, 2016 - 7:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, public market, farmers market, business, news.

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The new public market -- a merger of the Business Improvement District's public market and the Genesee County Farmers' Market -- opened at Bank Street and Alva Place today.

A new vendor this year is Big Bossman's BBQ, run by Anthony Person, of Lockport.

Person said his family has a long tradition in the food business, and after his mother died recently, he wanted to keep the tradition going.

Fighting back tears, Pearson told WBTA's Alex Feig that he was president of his mother's company, Mrs. Ribs, but after she died, he didn't want to trade on her name, so he bought his own truck and called it Big Bossman's, a name his parents used for their first restaurant, which they ran out of their home.

The recipes have been handed down generation after generation in his family, from mother to mother to mother, going back to the family's days as slaves in the South. 

He was pleased to get invited to be a vendor in Batavia, he said.

"I’m a small businessman just trying to make an honest living just like anybody else, always looking for a way to expand my market, sell my product in new areas, and Batavia, I’ve always wanted to come this way and the Farmers' Market offered me a chance to showcase my cuisine," he said.

The market will be open for business from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and will run through Oct. 28, weather permitting.

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