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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 27, 2018 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, downtown, batavia.

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Staff from the Genesee County Economic Development Center hosted staff from Invest Buffalo Niagara and other interested local officials on a walking tour of Downtown Batavia yesterday afternoon.

Rachel Tabelski, marketing director for GCEDC, said Invest Buffalo Niagara is the marketing partner for GCEDC for all of its shovel-ready development sites.

"The tour helps make them more aware of the assets we have in our city," Tabelski said.

The tour started at Eli Fish Brewing Company, which Invest Buffalo Niagara visited last year just as construction was beginning. They then walked to the Old Courthouse for a proclamation ceremony. Next, they visited two of the potential DRI projects, the Masonic Temple and GO ART!.

The Invest Buffalo Niagara staff will use the information they gathered and the pictures they took to create digital media content that will be used to help market Batavia to businesses looking for site locations.

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April 23, 2018 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in EDEN, news, batavia, downtown, business, freshLAB, Eli Fish Brewing Company.

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Eden, the new vegan food booth inside the Eli Fish Brewing Company restaurant at 111 E. Main St., Batavia, held a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting Sunday afternoon.

Eden is one of two new food establishments opening inside Eli Fish, as part of an initiative sponsored by the Batavia Development Corp. called FreshLAB. 

Owner Judy Hysek cuts with the ribbon Jim Turcer, left, the first paid customer, Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull, Chris Hysek, Judy's husband, Tracy Burgio, representing FreshLAB, and David Balonek, Judy's father.

April 20, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in batavia, downtown, business, tourism, chamber of commerce, restaurants, Vegan.

This Earth Day, the very first 100-percent vegan restaurant in Genesee County is opening up to share a different kind of delicious food with locals and visitors alike. Yep, you read that right! One-hundred-percent vegan food will be served up at Eden Café & Bakeshop!

Located inside Eli Fish Brewing Company, at 109 Main St., Batavia, there is a glimpse of the garden, with generous plant-based meals, fresh juices, and even treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Join Eden Café & Bakeshop for their grand opening THIS SUNDAY, April 22nd, starting at 12 p.m.

There will be lots going on including a Cutco knife giveaway, raffles, and branded tumblers will be available for purchase. Be one of the first to experience a new kind of cuisine after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. 

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What began as a thought of opening a zero-waste store, slowly turned into Eden Café & Bakeshop. Owner, Judy Hysek, is bringing some seriously tasty and animal-free food choices to all in and around Genesee County!

Hysek has been vegan for three years, which just so happens to be enough time to experiment with plant-based foods and create some delicious concoctions to share with you!

“I’m hoping to open the community up to a new way of eating," she said. "I want to make it easier for people who don’t know how to eat without meat and dairy… I would have gone vegan a lot sooner if there was more support, education, and availability... I’m just trying to add to the awareness and make it more accessible."

Now, let’s get down to business. Let’s talk about the food!

Carrot Dogs: You may have heard of these soon-to-be-famous “dogs” already, especially if you follow Eden Café & Bakeshop’s Facebook Page.

Imagine a carrot, in the shape of a traditional hot dog, which has been infused with deliciousness and then topped with more deliciousness of your choice. You’ll have to try it for yourself the next time you're in Eli Fish.

Word on the street is that even omnivores can't tell the difference between a carrot dog and a traditional hot dog. We dare you to give it a try and test your taste buds to see if you can tell the difference. Try your first carrot dog on a roll or wrapped in a pretzel and baked until golden brown! 

Cauliflower Wings: Where have these been all our lives? Since Western New York is the home of Buffalo Wings, it only makes sense to have “wings” on the menu at Eden.

You can have your wings tossed in Buffalo sauce or topped with the sweet mustard sauce. You can’t go wrong with either sauce -- so good! The breaded and baked florets are served with carrots and celery sticks with a house-made dip. The cauliflower wings can also be made gluten free and they're just as tasty!

Loaded Nachos: What goes better with a cold brew from Eli Fish than a pile of nachos? What about a pile of nachos smothered in a vegan beer cheese? There is nothing more satisfying!

Speaking of cheese…

Eden will have a variety of house made vegan, artisan cheeses including almond feta and cashew mozzarella, which will come on the poutine. (Poutine is a dish originating from the Canadian province of Quebec consisting of French fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy.) Where else can you get poutine in Batavia, let alone a vegan poutine?!

Other menu items include desserts like cashew cheesecake, cookies, brownies and more. Desserts will rotate to give everyone the opportunity to try something new and yummy!

Last but definitely not least -- fresh juices, smoothies, lemonades and kombucha! This week I was lucky enough to try a fresh juice made of apples, strawberries and raspberries. (Please make this a rotating juice, it was so good!)

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Did you know?

Veganism is on a climb throughout the world. In the United States, a recent report by Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017, says “6 percent of U.S. consumers now claim to be vegan, up from just 1 percent in 2014.”

Eden is here to satisfy some taste buds and open some minds to the benefits of eating healthy, saving animals, and the planet. Everyone should rejoice and get involved in the efforts to sustain our planet and you can start right at home, or at Eden.

Oh, and by the way -- Eden is donating all gratuities to a nonprofit right here in Genesee County. Mockingbird Farm Sanctuary in Byron provides a home and lifetime care to animals regardless of their condition or past. Their goal is to improve the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the animals who live on the farm. Eden is already showing love to others trying to make a difference right here at home!

For more information on Eden Cafe and other hotspots in Genesee County, visit: https://visitgeneseeny.com/

April 8, 2018 - 6:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eli Fish Brewing Company, downtown, batavia.

A reader tipped me to this video. It's an informative profile of Eli Fish Brewing Company.

March 29, 2018 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, Batavia CTE, downtown, batavia, T-Shirts Etc., art canvas, news, notify.

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About a year ago, after Brooks Hawley moved into a family home in the Town of Batavia, with the help of Brian Kemp, Kemp asked if there was anything on the old farm that might be suitable as bike racks for Downtown Batavia.

Two weeks later, Hawley showed up at Kemp's shop with four hog farrowing pens in his pickup truck.

Kemp, co-owner of T-Shirts Etc., is an artist who specializes in turning found objects into art and he thought the pens just might work.

Kemp started talking to anybody he could about helping out with the project. He knew he needed people who could work with metal and weld and had the equipment to do it.

"As with all of my projects, mention it to enough people and sure enough, someone will bite," Kemp said.

One day, Tim Gleba, a machine shop instructor at Batavia CTE (BOCES) came into Kemp's shop to pick monogrammed shirts and Kemp told him about the bike rack project.

Gleba immediately saw the potential for the school to get involved, so for the past several weeks, students in four different programs have been converting the pens into bike racks to be placed around downtown Batavia.

The project brings together students from the machine shop, welding, auto body, and conservation.

James Roggow, a student from Byron-Bergen, designed and fabricated finials to cap the bench arms, and other students are fabricating other parts for the racks and bench, including filigree end pieces for the bench (only one of the racks will have a park bench attached); welding is putting the pieces together; auto body students will paint the metal; and the conservation students logged a tree and made planks from it for the bench seat and back.

Auto body instructor Jeff Fronk saw the project as a perfect community contribution for his students.

"I thought it was cool," Fronk said. "These are going to be around the city for a long time. When these guys become young adults and have families of their own they can say, you know what, I did that. We did that in our class."

Fronk said he's really into color and what colors mean. He said he's always associated the color blue with Batavia, so the benches, he said, will be painted in a metallic blue that fades into a metallic orange.  Blue, because it symbolizes peace, harmony and unity, and orange because it symbolizes balance and warmth.

Kemp said he's looking forward to seeing the bike racks installed Downtown.

"I’m excited to see the progress of this project, along with the amount of collaboration it has taken to pull this together," Kemp said. "We are blessed to live in a community like this."

Graham Manufacturing is also assisting with the project.

Top photo: Three of the machine shop students who worked on the project with the first bench that is near completion, Arden Schadt, left, Evan Bartz, and James Roggow.

Below, one of the finials for the bench and a picture of the design on a computer.

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This is what the pen looked like when it arrived at the machine shop (photo courtesy Tim Gleba).

March 24, 2018 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eli Fish Brewing Company, downtown, batavia, news, business.

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There was another large crowd at Eli Fish Brewing Company today as Batavia's first brewery in decades -- named after a brewery of a prior century -- held its grand opening.

Previously: Eli Fish Brewing Company ready for grand opening tomorrow

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March 18, 2018 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Patrick's Day, downtown, batavia, news.

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For St. Patrick's Day, we stopped by Center Street Smokehouse, O'Lacy's, Eli Fish Brewing, Ken's Pits, Bourbon & Burger Co., and T.F. Browns.

To purchase prints of pictures, click here.

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March 16, 2018 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Downtown Revitalization Initiative, dri, downtown, batavia, news, notify.

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After looking over the final $15 million in grant-request projects Batavia will submit to the state for its Downtown Revitalization Initiative prize, Councilman Al McGinnis said he was pleased and excited about the prospect for the future of the city.

"I think we’re lucky enough to be around here in five or six years, it will be a revitalized Batavia that we won’t recognize and we will wish we had it earlier," McGinnis said. "It’s only going to impact us in a positive way. It’s just too bad it didn’t happen 20 years ago."

Looking specifically at the public market and at Batavia Players' plans for a downtown location for what is now Theater 56, McGinnis said that one project is just a single example of how all of these ideas have a chance at making downtown a better place for residents and businesses.

"This is great stuff," McGinnis said. "I mean, we don’t have the money for this. If the state can give us this money and we can do most of these things, there’s no downside to this. There is none. It’s all positive. I just wish the State could give us $5 million more."

The state's prize is to award $10 million worth of local projects. A local committee of community members made the first cut -- $15 million worth of projects -- from the batch of applicants, but the state gets the final say in whittling down the choices to $10 million in grants.

The local committee's final choices were presented to the public Thursday night during an open house at City Hall.

Interim City Manager Matt Worth said he liked what he saw.

"Some of the discussions have been about downtown being a real neighborhood and I think some of the projects lend themselves to that," Worth said. "It’s really encouraging seeing some of the momentum the City has. There’s more interest in what’s going on downtown than I’ve seen in an awfully long time, so that’s very positive."

Victor Gautieri has the dual perspective of a longtime downtown leader as president of the Business Improvement District and as an applicant for a grant for his project on Ellicott Street (the Save-A-Lot building).

 He's hoping the state will prioritize projects that might not otherwise be viable without the assistance.

"There are a lot of very nice projects that are here," he said. "I think some are more appropriate than others. I am a believer that the grant money should be going to those that really need it in the private sector.

"We’re very hopeful we’re going to be able to get our grant because that is what is going to make the project," he added. "That’s the only way we will ever able to do what we want to do with that property."

Looking at the projects as a whole, Gautieri thinks we won't even recognize Batavia in a few years.

"If several of these projects get the green light and are awarded a grant, it’s going to transform downtown," Gautieri said. "It’s going to look like it never has before, especially on the Southside, the Ellicott Street side. That is where we need, I think, the most help."

Here's a summary of the projects being submitted to the State:

  • Build Ellicott Station: Savarino Companies, 40-52, 56-70 Ellicott St.; project cost, $23 million; DRI funding, $425,000;  
  • Build Newberry Place Lofts: AGRV Properties, 109-111 Main St.; project cost, $350,000; DRI funding, $175,000;
  • Revitalize Carr's and Genesee Bank Building: Kenneth and Andrew Mistler, 97, 101-103 and 105-107 Main St.; project cost, $5.3 million; DRI funding, $1.2 million;
  • Develop Ellicott Place: V.J. Gautieri Constructors, 45-47 Ellicott St.; project cost, $2.5 million; DRI funding, $1.15 million;
  • Develop Healthy Living Campus: Genesee YMCA/UMMC, 207-213 E. Main St.; project cost, $22.5 million; DRI funding, $5 million.
  • Activate Batavia Innovation Zones: Batavia Development Corp; project cost, $400,000; DRI funding, $200,000;
  • Construction Theater 56: Batavia Players and City of Batavia, 35 City Centre; project cost, $901,750; DRI funding, $701,750;
  • Construct Downtown Public Market: BID and City of Batavia, Alva Place parking lot; project cost, $2.5 million; DRI funding, $1.5 million;
  • Create a Building Improvement Fund: BDC; project cost, $800,000; DRI funding, $600,000;
  • Upgrade City Center: City of Batavia; project cost, $1.5 million; DRI funding, $1 million;
  • Renovate 206 E. Main St.: Just Chez Realty, 206 E. Main St.; project cost: $675,000; DRI funding, $405,000;
  • Enhance Jackson Square: City of Batavia; project cost, $750,000; DRI funding, $750,000;
  • Upgrade Masonic Temple: David E. Howe, 200 E. Main St.; project cost, $750,000; DRI funding, $500,000;
  • Develop Branding, Place Making and Wayfinding: Business Improvement District; project cost, $250,000; DRI funding, $200,000;
  • Enhance GO ART! Arts and Culture Center: GO ART!, 201 E. Main St.; project cost, $1.3 million; DRI funding, $1.225 million.

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February 9, 2018 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Downtown Revitalization Initiative, dri, downtown, batavia, news.

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One of the five criteria for members of the Local Planning Committee to consider in selecting which projects to forward to the state as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is "community input." 

About 30 members of the public turned out Thursday night at City Hall for their chance to weigh in on the projects they think most deserving of a portion of the $10 million DRI prize the state awarded to Batavia in October.

Each participant received a strip of stickers, two red for their top priorities, and one each of green, blue and yellow.

A new marquee and new seats for Batavia Showtime Theaters was the crowd favorite with a total of 17 little round stickers on its project board.

The theater is owned by local businessman Ken Mistler. His other DRI project, Carr's Reborn, was also popular, getting 15 stickers, and 12 of those were red, the most of any project. 

The Healthy Living Campus received 16 stickers, with nine red.

The public market also got 16, with six red.

The Batavia Player's project, Theater 56, received 14 stickers, and six of those were red.

The complete street project for Ellicott Street received 11 stickers, four red.

Ellicott Place received 10 stickers, four red.

GO ART! rounds out the other favorites, among the 25 total projects, with eight stickers, five red.

The other four criteria for the LPC to consider are the readiness of the project, the project's consistency with establishing planning documents, the catalytic potential of the project (can it drive more development), and the ratio of grant request vs. the amount of money being put in by the project developer.

The LPC has two more meetings before sending its recommendations to the state. The next meeting will be a report from consultants who will answer questions raised about projects during the process. At the final meeting, the committee will whittle down the 25 projects to those with no more than $15 million in funding requests.

The state will take that recommended list and select projects with requests of no more than $10 million.

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February 2, 2018 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Downtown Revitalization Initiative, downtown, batavia, news, notify.

The planning committee for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative will ask project leaders from seven project applications to make a presentation about their project at a future committee meeting, committee members decided during a meeting at City Hall this morning.

The projects are: 

  • Carr's Reborn
  • Ellicott Place
  • Theater 56
  • Healthy Living Corridor
  • Healthy Living Center
  • BID marketing/branding
  • Public Market
  • GO Art!

The committee is either looking for more information, to clarify other funding sources, to ask if the amount of DRI funding for the project could be reduced, or just to better understand the projects.

The DRI is a $10 million prize received by the City of Batavia from the state to help fund a variety of downtown projects intended to increase traffic and business in the city's primary business and cultural center.

Several other projects, the committee felt, were complete applications already and no additional information is required, such as Ellicott Station, Newberry Place, Jackson Square, renovations to the second floor of 206 E. Main St., and the Masonic Temple Building.

Six other projects were selected for a group submission; however, the applicants will need to go through a process similar to the state's Main Street Program, which provides funding at 75 percent of the project's total cost. Those projects include building renovation to 39-43 Ellicott St., Borrell Gym, facade work for 214 and 216 E. Main St., and Batavia Showtime.

This morning's conversation included some concern about some of the projects under consideration. 

Committee Co-Chairman Eugene Jankowski said he's hearing objections from local residents to using DRI prize money for the Healthy Living Center, which is a nonprofit, tax-exempt project. He said people felt the project backers, UMMC and the YMCA, being nonprofits, have other funding avenues not open to local business owners competing for DRI money. City Church Pastor Marty Macdonald shared the same concern and it was his perception that the project was well underway before the DRI award was made to the city.

Co-Chairman Steve Hyde said he was part of the project in its early stages -- he resigned after being selected for the DRI committee -- and he said organizers knew the city was applying for the DRI prize and that the potential of the grant was always part of the potential financing plan for the center.

There is also concern that the project is seeking $5 million, or half of the $10 million pie.  

Similar concerns were raised about the $3 million for the mall and $5 million for renovations to Ellicott Street (a median, plus pedestrian and bike paths).

Committee member John Riter expressed concern that both of these projects aren't far enough along and aren't able to provide the committee with enough information.

Hyde said the Genesee County Economic Development Center is taking a lead role in the revitalization of the mall and suggested that perhaps the mall should be included with a $1 million request to provide some start-up funds for the potential $30 million project. He said there is a developer interested but there needs to be some preliminary work done.

The committee appeared willing to consider that request.

The committee will present a list of projects totaling $15 million in requested funding and state officials will select the final winning projects for a total prize of $10 million. The current list is at $16,187,000.

January 10, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Downtown Revitalization Initiative, downtown, batavia, news, notify.

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The 25 projects vying for a piece of the $10 million prize awarded by the state to Batavia as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative are full of ideas for dining, entertainment and downtown living and this just what the committee considering the proposals should concentrate on, Steve Hyde said near the end of last night's review of the projects.

Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is co-chair of the Local Planning Committee for the DRI.

Quoting from a book he's reading on planning, he said, " 'If a place lacks attractive shopping, dining, and entertainment options, it may struggle to attract and retain workers and employers as a result.'

"Keep that in mind as another piece of this," he added. "It really is embodied in our goals and strategies. Shopping, dining and entertainment are very important considerations as we try to move from that millennials' complex of Blahtavia."

The projects range from $39,000 to expand downtown's art canvas to $5 million for the Ellicott Street Corridor or $5 million for proposed Healthy Living Center.

Altogether, the 25 projects total more than $24 million in requested DRI funding.

The committee will need to whittle down the requests to $15 million total and state officials will make the final decision on which projects get funded for how much, to a total of $10 million.

Here's a summary of the projects:

  • Theater 56:
    • Total project cost, $701,750. Funding request, $546,000. Location, in City Center at the former location of Dent Neurological. Proposed by Batavia Players. It would create a theater, offices and storage. 
  • BOA/BP2 Strategic Site Advancement
    • Total project cost $30 million. Funding request, $3 million. This project involves rehabilitation and new development at the mall, including extending Jackson Street.
  • BOA/BP2 Strategic Site Advancement
    • Total project costs, $15 million. Funding request, $1 million. This funding would assist construction of the Health Living Center proposed by the YMCA and UMMC.
  • BOA/BP2 Strategic Site Advancement
    • Total project costs, $15 million. Funding request, $1 million. This is for construction of new residential apartments off Evans Street and by the Tonawanda Creek. There is reportedly a developer with ties to Genesee County who has experience with large BOA projects in cities such as Corning who is interested in this project.
  • Batavia Innovation Zones
    • Project cost, $400,000. Funding request, $200,000. This is a request by the BDC to create more business incubator space similar to the current construction of freshLab in the former Newberry's building. The new incubators would be planned for the Carr's buidling, the public market, and GO Art!
  • Newberry Place Lofts
    • Project cost, $350,000. Funding request, $150,000. This is to assist with the existing project, which includes completion of three market-rate apartments in the building and the addition of a beer garden in Jackson Square.
  • Ellicott Place
    • Project cost, $2.5 million. Funding request, $1.15 million. This project would create retail spaces on the Ellicott Street side of the current Sav-A-Lot building (currently vacant space in the building), the addition of apartments on the second floor, and the creation of interior parking for new apartments.
  • Healthy Living Campus
    • Project cost, $22.5 million. Funding request, $5 million. This is a joint project of the YMCA and UMMC for new construction on the site of the current Y, the Cary Building and the vacant lot once occupied by the Elks Lodge. It would be an 85,000-square-foot building with more than 140 full-time equivilant employees. 
  • Downtown Public Market
    • Project cost, $2 million to $3 million. Funding request, $1 million. This would create a permanent structure for the public market at Bank Street and Alva Place.
  • 214 & 216 E. Main St.
    • Project cost, $150,000. Funding request, $90,000. This project would restore the facade to its vintage look of 216 E. Main, the former Montgomery Ward and upgrade the facade of 214 E. Main St.
  •  Jackson Square
    • Project cost, $750,000. Funding request, $500,000. This would complete the Jackson Square project started in 2004 by removing the concrete in Jackson Square and replacing it with brick, including the entryways off Jackson and Center streets.
  • GO Art! Arts & Cultural Center
    • Project cost, $2.2 million. Funding request, $1.98 million. This project would include upkeep and upgrades to Seymore Place at Main and Bank, including the addition of an elevator and performance space on the second floor.
  • Ellicott Station
    • Project cost, $23 million. Funding request, $425,000. The money is requested to cover an unexpected environmental remediation expense -- the removal of an old drainage canal under the property.
  • Ellicott Street Corridor
    • Project cost, $5 million. Funding request, $5 million. To help tie together two sections of the Ellicott Trail and to make Ellicott Street more attractive and safer for pedestrians and bike riders, this would add a median to the street and create a barrier between bike lanes and vehicle traffic.
  • Batavia City Art Canvas
    • Project cost, $39,000. Funding requests, $39,000. A project championed by local artist Brian Kemp that is already underway, the money would be used to buy supplies for artists to create more murals downtown and create material for a walking tour of Downtown Batavia's outdoor art.
  • Downtown Marketing/Branding
    • Project cost, $250,000. Funding request, $200,000. A request by the Business Improvement District for new marketing material and branding approach for Downtown.
  • Carr's Reborn
    • Project cost, $7.1 million. Funding request, $1.5 million. A request to complete restoration of the Carr's building and the former Genesee Bank. These would be mixed-use developments with retail, a cafe and apartments.
  • Batavia Showtime
    • Project cost, $250,000. Funding request, $250,000. The proposal is for a new marquee on the theater, lounge seating, and a 3D-movie system.
  • Historic Masonic Temple 
    • Project cost, $750,000. Funding request, $290,000. This project includes adding an elevator to make the third and fourth floors more accessible. The owner, Dave Howe, could then potentially convert those floors to apartments.
  • 206 E. Main St.
    • Project cost, $674,000. Funding request, $404,000. Rehabilitation of the second floor of the building, adding a banquet facility and bar for Main St. Pizza Company, and market-rate apartments.
  • 315 and 327 Ellicott St.
    • Project cost, $120,000. Funding request, $80,000. Improvements to commercial and residential units.
  • Waggoner Building
    • Project cost, $77,000. Funding request, $38,500. Renovations to second-floor office space. Location is School and Jackson streets.
  • Game On
    • Project cost, $150,000. Funding request, $150,000. Owner is requesting funding for new equipment, marketing and working capital.
  • Borrell's Gym
    • Project cost, $100,000. Funding request, $80,000. Improvements to the gym.
  • Vance Group
    • Project cost $70,000. Funding request, $40,000. Improvements to the facade and residential units at corner of Liberty and Ellicott streets.

There were also requests for projects outside the DRI boundary, including upgrades to Faletti Ice Arena, two buildings on South Swan, and improvements to Austin Park. The committee seemed to not favor considering these projects.

Consultant Ed Flynn will need to work with some of the projects to get more details for the proposal and the committee will try to pick several of the most viable projects and perhaps ask the owners or project leaders to make a presentation to the committee.

Top photo: Consultant Ed Flynn.

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Eric Fix and Craig Yunker

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Tom Turnbull

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Marianne Clattenburg, Susie Ott, Tammy Hathaway

December 15, 2017 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, Downtown Revitalization Initiative, batavia, news.

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Local community members met in City Council Chambers last night to discuss and map out their ideas on how to improve Downtown Batavia.

The public meeting is part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $10 million state prize won by Batavia, to help make improvements to downtown.

Community members discussed options to help establish priorities for how the $10 million might be spent.

This was the first of three public meetings. The public will also be invited to offer their opinions through online surveys.

The meeting was facilitated by Edward Flynn, planning division director for Labella Associations in Rochester.

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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.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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