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December 9, 2017 - 7:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Adam Miller Toys & Bicycles, batavia, news, business, downtown.

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Carter McClellan, 15 months old, wasn't too happy during his first visit with Santa today at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

Santa visited Adam Miller so the store could provide a free visit and a chance to get pictures with Santa for customers who came in the store today.

Penelope Ortiz, 18 months, below, was also a little unsure of the Santa thing, but didn't cry.

Chase McClellan, 7, was quite ready to let Santa know what tops his Christmas wish list.

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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!

December 2, 2017 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas in the City, downtown, batavia, news.

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To purchase prints of photos click here.

December 1, 2017 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Christmas in the City, downtown, batavia, news.

Downtown Batavia will be filled with holiday cheer and family fun tonight as local merchants host Christmas in the City.

Main Street, from Ellicott Street to Liberty Street, will be closed to vehicle traffic starting at 7 p.m. in preparation for the Christmas in the City parade at 8:15 p.m.

The festivities start at 5 p.m. and include horse and buggy rides, music, crafts, food, and other family-oriented activities.

Stop by the WBTA studios at Main and Center for a Christmas Party co-hosted by WBTA and The Batavian. Bring your smartphone or tablet, show the staff of The Batavian our mobile app installed on your device and you can enter a drawing for a $100 prize (no purchase necessary). We’re serving chili and grilled cheese catered by Dibble Family Center. 

Download our app.

November 28, 2017 - 7:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, downtown, Christmas in the City, batavia.

The Batavian and WBTA, local news partners for Genesee County, are hosting a Christmas party Friday evening during Christmas in the City at WBTA's studios at Main and Center.

Stop by between 5 and 9 p.m. and you could get a chance to win $100. Show us The Batavian's mobile app on your smartphone or tablet and you will be eligible to enter the drawing (no purchase necessary).

We will provide snacks catered by the Dibble Family Center.

  • To download The Batavian's app for iOS, click here.
  • To download The Batavian's app for Android, click here.
November 9, 2017 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in dri, downtown, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Local Planning Committee (LPC) will hold a meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at City Hall in the Council Board Room, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia.

The City was awarded a $10 million DRI award from the State of New York to advance downtown revitalization and this is the first LPC meeting to introduce the DRI program, LPC members and next steps.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of State in coordination with the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

The meeting is open to public and persons attending will have an opportunity to speak at the end of the meeting.

October 13, 2017 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ken's Charcoal Pits, batavia, downtown, business, news.

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There's brick-oven pizza in Batavia now, handmade by Ken Mistler.

You might know Mistler's restaurant as City Slickers but that's changed, too. The entire restaurant, not just the front, fast-food counter, is now Ken's Charcoal Pits (new signs have been ordered for the building, but haven't yet been installed).

Mistler added the brick oven to the enclosed (during winter) patio on the west side of the restaurant and started serving pizza two weeks ago.

He makes it himself. He described the pizza as artisanal, Neapolitan-style and wood-fired. The oven cooks the pizza at 750 to 800 degrees, so each pizza cooks in about 90 seconds. It comes out hot, with a crisp crust and a bit of that wood-fired flavor.

There are seven pizza options on the menu and he also offers a vegetarian pizza and all pizzas can be made with gluten-free dough.

The pizza oven is fired up from 5 p.m. 'til closing time on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Ken's Charcoal Pits is located at 59 W. Main St., Batavia.

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October 6, 2017 - 10:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, business, news.

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Batavia didn't win the steak knives.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a crowd gathered at City Centre for the announcement of who won the Finger Lakes region competition for the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative contest that there would be more than one winner this year, and getting second or third place isn't so bad.

"Now everyone likes to win first place," Cuomo said. "I understand it, you know, first is first. But second place, $8 million is a lot of money. And if it wasn't for the fact that we had offered a $10 million first place, people would have been very, very happy with $8 million because it's a big win. $6 million is a big win. We have a fourth-place winner, which gets a set of steak knives. That's not so great. But second place, $8 million is great, really great."

Batavia didn't get the $8 million, either. Nor the $6 million. Batavia received the grand prize, $10 million.

And when Cuomo announced that, more than 100 community members gathered for the announcement burst into a standing ovation.

Empire State Development Director Howard Zemsky said the award was well deserved.

"You did a great job on your plan," Zemsky told the crowd. "You understand downtown revitalization. You understand all of the components that have worked down through the years from historic preservation, the workforce initiative, the innovation initiative. You know exactly where your future lies."

The next step in the process is for the state to form a steering committee that will decide how to allocate the funds. City Manager Jason Molino said based on what he's seen taking place in other regions, the committee will include local people with a diverse set of backgrounds and interests.

"You're going to see folks that touch on all elements, whether it's arts and culture, whether it's business, whether there is small business or larger business," Molino said. "I think the state will, as they have in all the other regions, get a good cross-section of good decision makers that can really process and can take some of the planning and move forward."

Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for Batavia Development Corp., said the goal is to make Downtown Batavia a more livable and vibrant community for residents and business owners.

"The way we believe it should be spent is arts, culture, entertainment and make it a truly livable downtown," Pacatte said. "So, housing, entertainment dining, arts, walkability, all of those things we've talked about for a number of years. They should be able to bring it all together in Downtown."

BDC President Pier Cipollone said the award will also help the agency fulfill its agenda to help small businesses.

"We need to make downtown a destination," Cipollone said. "I'm a big proponent of clustering. We need to get shops, we need to get restaurants, we need to get bars, we need...These things will cause people to come downtown and then walk around and create the foot traffic that all the businesses need."

Molino said the award is a confirmation the city has been on the right track the past few years in trying to turn around the local economic climate.

"The past decade has been an interesting roller coaster for this community," Molino said. "Perseverance comes to mind as to what they've been able to endure and to grow by ... new leaps and bounds. It's a relief to see everyone's hard work come together. We're excited about what this means -- what's the next chapter of the community? What's the next chapter for the city and in our lives?"

In his speech, Cuomo told the story of how his administration has embraced economic development in the state and attempted to turn around decades of economic neglect, from bringing Robert Duffy into the administration to appointing Zemsky as head of ESD.

"For a lot of decades we just ignored it," Cuomo said. "We denied it. Or we didn't care enough about it. And so we said we are actually going to come in and do something about it and turn it around."

But in a way, Cuomo said, Batavia was already ahead of the curve.

"Actually, the first turnaround and recognition was in many ways done in Batavia," Cuomo said. "Johnston Harvester moved out, and that was the big employer back in the '50s. Part of the manufacturing phase-out, right? Buffalo loses steel. And Rochester loses Kodak. And Batavia loses Johnston Harvester. And in the old building, you started a business incubator.

"I don't know if it was called a business incubator there, but the thought was 'We have to change economies. We're no longer manufacturing. We lost this big employer. We have to get to the economy of tomorrow. And it's going to start by bringing in small businesses and feeding them and growing them and helping them incubating them into bigger businesses -- literally in the same building.' That was ahead of its time by 50 years."

The recognition is great for Batavia, Pacatte said.

"I think what we've been doing has been working and it caught the attention of the state government and their ideas seem to be in alignment with where we're at," she said. "It just caught fire. Another ten million dollars really just propels us forward."

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Empire State Development Director​ Howard Zemsky

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The Batavia High School Band and cheerleaders (not pictured) were outside City Hall to welcome the governor to Batavia.

October 6, 2017 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, notify, downtown.

The City of Batavia will receive a $10 million award from the State of New York as a regional winner in the 2017 Downtown Revitalization Initiative Contest.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement moments ago at City Centre.

Batavia is one of 10 regional winners around the state, beating out other applicants in the Finger Lakes region.

MORE T/K

October 5, 2017 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, batavia, downtown, news.

Perhaps the third time is a charm.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after twice before scheduling announcements in Batavia and then quickly canceling the trip, has once again put Batavia on his schedule. 

Cuomo is expected to be at City Hall tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Members of the public who wish to attend are asked to RSVP.

The nature of the announcement has not been released, but Batavia is a candidate for a $10 million economic development grant and Cuomo has been traveling around the state in recent weeks announcing the grants in each of the 10 economic development regions. The winner for the Finger Lakes region has not yet been announced.

July 27, 2017 - 8:54am
posted by Becky LeFevre in farmers market, public market, batavia, downtown, news.

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Biting into a fresh and juicy peach is a reminder that, regardless of gray skies and rain, summer is definitely upon us. This week there is a large selection of fruits and veggies that are just coming into season: field-grown tomatoes, sweet corn, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, and plums. This is also prime time for pickling cucumbers.   Peaches are available, too, but freestone peaches (for canning, where the pit is easily removed) will be ready around Aug. 10th. 

We are all familiar with advertisements from stores announcing the “last chance” to buy something at a low price. My phone has been ringing with the same prerecorded call for the last three years, notifying me of my “last chance” to lower the interest rate on my credit card. I don’t believe it. But here in New York, our time to buy fresh, local food really is limited. Nature doesn’t let us grow berries in January. Now is the time to slice a red (or yellow, or purple) ripe tomato onto your salad this summer. Don’t miss the opportunity. 

Last summer, our local farmers were affected by the drought. But today it’s raining, again. At the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market, I asked Sharon from Schwab Farms in Gasport how the rain has been affecting their crops.

“We prefer it a little drier…but everything looks beautiful,” Sharon said with a smile. 

The Genesee Country Farmer’s Market is located at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place (near JCPenney) in Downtown Batavia, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Fresh produce and baked goods are available every market day, but Friday has a larger variety of vendors and more craft and specialty items. 

July 1, 2017 - 9:54am

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The trio Something Else played Jackson Square yesterday evening as part of the summer concert series downtown. There's live music in Jackson Square each Friday at 7 p.m. through August.

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June 30, 2017 - 11:51am

The Batavia Ramble and Arts Fest is tomorrow in Downtown Batavia.

In the case of rain, performances will take place inside Center Street Smoke House.

Here's the lineups for both stages:

Jackson Square Stage
  • 11 – 11:15 a.m. --  **Opening Ceremony**
  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m. -- Ghost Riders
  • 11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. -- KoKo & The Moon Crickets
  • 12:25 – 12:55 p.m. -- Ryan & Scott
  • 1– 1:30 p.m. -- Gridder
  • 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.  -- Bluesway
  • 2:10 – 2:40 p.m. -- Genesee Ted
  • 2:45 – 3:15 p.m.  -- Me & Red
  • 3:20 – 3:50 p.m.  -- TONK
  • 3:50 – 4:05 p.m.  -- * * * Memorial * * *
  • 4:05 – 4:35 p.m.  -- Sierra
  • 4:40 – 5:10 p.m.  -- PD3 & Co.
  • 5:15 – 5:45 p.m.  -- Rich Lullo Band
  • 5:50 – 6:20 p.m.  -- Lonesome Road
  • 6:25 – 6:55 p.m. -- Loosely Tight
  • 7 – 7:30 p.m. -- Trolls
  • 7:35 – 8:05 p.m.  -- Zero
  • 8:10 – 8:40 p.m. -- Driven
  • 8:45 – 9:15 p.m. -- Noah's Reign 
Center Street Stage
  • 11 – 11:15 a.m. -- **Opening Ceremony**
  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m. --  Steve Kruppner
  • 11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. -- Kruppner Brothers
  • 12:25 – 12:55 p.m. -- Mark Grover
  • 1  – 1:30 p.m.  -- Ryan Consiglio
  • 1:35 – 2:05 p.m. -- Dave Holnbeck
  • 2:10 – 2:40 p.m. -- Kevin Moyles
  • 2:45 – 3:15 p.m. -- Paul Almeter
  • 3:20 – 3:50 p.m. -- Jim Luttrell
  • 3:50 – 4:05 p.m.  --  * * * Memorial * * *
  • 4:05 – 4:35 p.m. -- Red Creek
  • 4:40 – 5:10 p.m.  -- Mitty & The followers
  • 5:15 – 5:45 p.m. -- Rock Soulgers
  • 5:50 – 6:20 p.m.  -- Bad Luck
  • 6:25 – 6:55 p.m.  -- Audibull
  • 7 – 7:30 p.m. -- Rhythm Collision
  • 7:35 – 8:05 p.m.  -- Eagle Creek
  • 8:10 – 8:40 p.m. -- Nichols Brothers Band
  • 8:45 – 9:15 p.m. -- Open Jam
June 9, 2017 - 8:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, public market, batavia, news, business.

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The Batavia Downtown Public Market season has started and the market will be open three days a week this year, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Above, one of the vendors, Charleen Satkowski, of Harper Hill Farm, of Darien.

June 8, 2017 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Foxprowl, downtown, batavia, business, news.

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Saying it's a reality of business these days, Foxprowl Collectibles announced on Facebook that it is closing its downtown store, though the business will continue as an online-only business.

"This is by no means the business ending," Bill Hume said in the statement. "It is simply changing and adapting with the current state of retail (over 50 percent of U.S. retail sales now occur online)."

Hume, who operated the business with his wife, Joy, started Foxprowl as an online-only business and opened a store on Ellicott Street in 2010. They moved the store to Main and Jackson streets less than a year ago, in September 2016.

Foxprowl won the Chamber's "Entrepreneurial Business of the Year" award for 2016.

The store also operates an annual local comic and collectibles convention, Foxprowl Con. Hume said the convention will be on hiatus this year because of the business transition but will return in 2018.

The physical store location closing is effective July 1.

Photo: File photo of Joy and Bill Hume.

May 18, 2017 - 3:57pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in batavia, downtown, news.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, DRI, on Tuesday, investing $100 million into 10 additional downtown neighborhoods across the state.

Batavia’s Economic Development coordinator Julie Pacette said the City of Batavia will be applying for the grant again this year.

“I think this year we will have a stronger application,” Pacette said. “We have had one year to think about it. We have been through the process and have a better understanding of the competition.”

According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, in the first year of the DRI, $100 million was awarded to 10 communities, one in each region of New York State, to identify and implement projects to restore their downtown.

“This new Downtown Revitalization completion will build upon the demonstrated success of round one, allowing even more communities across the state to reach their full potential,” Cuomo said in the press release.

“With this funding, we can provide 10 more forward-thinking communities the opportunity to transform their downtowns into vibrant economic hubs for people to live, work and raise a family.”

Pacette said there is a team meeting within the next week to finalize a plan for the application, but that residents of Batavia should look out for opportunities to offer ideas.

Last year, Pacette organized an event for residents to write and draw on the sidewalks in chalk to show how they would spend the $10 million if Batavia was chosen. Pacette said she will be looking at how to get residents involved this year.

Applications for the second round must be submitted by 4 p.m. on June 14.

One downtown community will be selected by each of the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. Each council will choose from applications for downtowns that are “ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity.”

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said 123 communities applied for the DRI designation last year.

“We look forward to working with the 10 additional communities nominated by the Regional Councils this year to identify strategic investments for their downtowns that will help attract new and growing small businesses, improve the visitor’s experience and attract more residents to downtown,” Rosado said in a press release.

May 3, 2017 - 11:13pm

Are you ready for a resurgence in Batavia? It's coming.

Well, at least Resurgence Brewing Company of Buffalo is coming.

The popular Buffalo-based brewery is going to be part of the revitalized and rebuilt Ellicott Station (the former Della Penna property) on Ellicott Street on the edge of Downtown Batavia.

"We're obviously ecstatic about the project and seeing it come to fruition," said City Manager Jason Molino. "We're incredibly excited about Resurgence, a reputable brewery coming to the community and bringing a new, kind of niche beer, sour beer. I think it's going to help complement what we're trying to do downtown, bringing in more dining and entertainment options for people."

We've known for a long time that Ellicott Station would include a brewery and brew pub. What we didn't learn until today is that the company moving into the space would be a brand that has rapidly grown in popularity in Buffalo.

Resurgence will open a restaurant, a brew pub and beer garden that will serve their full line of beers, and a brewery that will produce sour beer, a kind of beer that has only recently started to reach the East Coast market.

Because its brew process is different and the yeasts involved can't mix with the other brews, Resurgence was looking for a location separate from their current Buffalo location.

In fact, Batavia had been on the map for Resurgence owners Chris and Jeff Ware for a long time, according to developer Sam Savarino. Savarino said he had heard the Wares had been looking at Batavia as a possible location for a brewery if not a restaurant and pub. After his company won the RFP for the Ellicott Station project, he contacted them and a deal came together very quickly, he said.

"They’re good people," Savarino said. "They’re dedicated to their craft and they care about the product they produce. That’s evident to anybody who has bought their products or visited their premises in Buffalo. As far as a brewer or retail tenant, they are a very good bet."

The Resurgence name comes from the founders' own belief in the resurgence and renaissance of Buffalo, which they've been a part of over the past several years.

Jeff Ware, company president, sent over a statement about how pleased the company is to find a location in Batavia.

"Resurgence Brewing Company is excited to announce their new brewing and biergarten location in Batavia," Ware said. "The brewery will anchor Savarino's Ellicott Station Development and help with the revitalization of downtown Batavia. With the help from New York State from Homes and Community Renewal (state pass-through of the Community Block Development Grant money mentioned below), we will be able to move project one step closer to reality."

Savarino got involved in the project after a third party told him about Batavia looking for proposals to redevelop the Della Penna property and that Savarino Companies might be a good fit.

The company has been involved in a number of revitalization projects in Buffalo. They redeveloped several buildings in the Cobblestone District of Buffalo, renovating buildings and developing mixed-use projects. They redeveloped 500 Seneca Street, a large factory converted to mixed use. They also redeveloped River Landing in Buffalo, which was a brownfield project.

Savarino said when he looked at the Della Penna property, he checked off the qualifications: A distressed property with possible environmental contamination; a distressed census tract with 35 percent unemployment; a median income that is 50 percent of the area's median income; on the edge of a downtrodden downtown. 

"I joked with my friends that it had several strikes against it, so it's just the kind of project we like to take on," Savarino said.

The project will be more than just a restaurant and brewery. There will also be office space -- Savarino said he's in negotiations with possible tenants that he can't disclose yet -- and a 47-unit, four-story apartment complex.

The apartments will be especially great for Downtown, Molino said. Not only will tenants be just steps from Resurgence, within a block's walk are dining and drinking options such as City Slickers, Bourbon & Burger Co., O'Lacy's Irish Pub and Center Street Smoke House, Main Street Pizza Co., and T.F. Brown's.

"Those 47 market-rate apartments fit the demand we're seeing for living downtown," Molino said. "People want to live in downtown areas, whether it's Millennials, seniors or empty-nesters. They have overlapping interests."

Much of what we see on the Della Penna property will be demolished, Savarino said. The front of the Della Penna main building is too far gone to save and the garage to the east of the main building isn't structurally sound and is beyond repair. The main production area of the Della Penna will be restored, and that area is a perfect fit for what Resurgence plans to do, both for its size and design characteristics.

"It's important to have some link to the past," Savarino said. "It wouldn't be the same without that link. It makes the site unique to have a little bit of Batavia's past as a part of it."

Resurgence, combined with the new food establishments, brewery, and apartments going into the former Newberry building, he said, hit key redevelopment goals for Batavia.

"It really completes the project of living in a revived downtown," Molino said.

To help move the project along, Genesee County Economic Development Center is using money from the federal CDBG program. The $15 million project will receive $210,000 that will be half loan and half grant if project requirements are met. The restaurant and brewery are expected to create 15 full-time equivalent jobs, three-quarters of which will go to low- and moderate-income residents.

Getting the project to this point has been a long haul, said Julie Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corporation.

"We've been talking about this project for a long time and people have been waiting for some movement," Pacatte said. "I think it just shows how long it takes to get things lined up before we can go public with an announcement."

Financing for the project is coming from several sources, Savarino said, and he expects financing to close in July. Construction should begin by August and Resurgence should open its doors during the first quarter of 2018.

The way the project came together, Molino said, with the involvement of the City School District, GCEDC, the county, BDC, and the City, it's really a model for how revitalization projects can be handled when everybody works together for a common goal.

"It was great work from everybody involved with great support from Resurgence," Molino said. "When you talk about how projects come together, it's really a model for best practices of the collaboration of the different entities involved.

The "heartfelt dedication" local officials had for the project was notable, Savarino said.

"I can’t say enough about working with the City of Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation," Savarino said. "It’s quite unusual to have that level cooperation and to be working on the same side of the table with people like that."

Molino was pleased to hear the praise.

"That's what we're trying to say with the '$100 Million I'm All In' initiative," Molino said. "We want to give people the experience of great service. We want people to say, 'I can't imagine doing business anyplace other than the City of Batavia. His comment just reinforces what we're trying to say and do to make the experience great for people."

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 21, 2017 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia, business, news, freshLAB.

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Demolition has started on the interior of the former Newberry's building in Downtown Batavia. The project will convert the building into a brewery and an incubator for startup restaurant businesses, known as freshLAB. The second and third floors will become apartments.

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