Laurie Oltramari, new Batavia Business Improvement District director, has a passion for urban design and architecture.
Oltramari is currently the assistant BID director and has worked with the organization for three and a half years. She will replace Don Burkel, director of the BID, who is retiring, and take over as the new director at the end of July.
She was offered the director position after submitting her application and being reviewed by the BID hiring committee. The committee was formed to give more than 50 applicants a fair shot at the job. The committee included members of the BID board and community members.
As the new director, one task she would like to accomplish is to reach out to the public for their input and let Burkel's contacts know her door is always open. According to Oltramari, you need community involvement for a city to be successful.
"I want to continue on the legacy that Don has left and what's been done and what has worked," Oltramari said. "Just like when you do a business you need to reevaluate every year so that's what I plan to do."
Another component she thinks is important for Batavia is the BID's ability to manage and balance event planning, help business development, and foster "placemaking," which is a quiet movement that is inspiring people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Placemaking is a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces that capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well being.
"You have to create a place where people want to be and you can't just flap down some papers and put on your facade and your good to go," OItramari said. "It comes down to details and that is where her urban design background comes into play."
Oltramari was born in Hornell and grew up in Belmont. Her father owned an excavating and construction company, which is the reason she has always loved architecture and design. She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo in 1999 and master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design in 2003.
Oltramari has lived in Batavia for nine years with her husband, Felipe Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Planning Department, and their two daughters. Batavia is very different from the small town that she grew up in.
"I like Batavia because it's very family friendly and safe," Oltramari said. "It has all the amenities of a big city without being a big city. There is a real level of comfort here and it's big enough that you don't run into everybody you know but when you do it's really special."
For the future of small business in Batavia, she thinks businesses have to bring out the community in people like they used to. Face-to-face interactions and personal customer service gives small businesses an advantage against Internet businesses.
"I think the biggest competition is the Internet and it's back to TV again," Oltramari said. "People are doing the binge watching of Netflix so they will stay in and have food at home instead of going to a restaurant like people usually do for entertainment."
Upcoming BID events include the Jackson Square Concert Series, Downtown Batavia Public Market and the Centennial Arts Fest.