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December 8, 2008 - 3:04pm

Can a revitalized Harvester Center spark a Batavia renaissance?

posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, Harvester Center.

Last week, we asked readers to consider what one project Batavia should pursue if the funding were in the bag, no strings attached. Batavia's City Council President Charlie Mallow called for the resurrection of the city's old plans for reconstruction of the Masse-Harvester industrial complex downtown. We were curious to hear more of these plans, so we sought further information. Here's what we've found out so far.

Let's start with the graphic, shall we...

This swank boulevard would be the view from the ground in the midst of the "Industrial Powerhouse Square," otherwise known as the "Swan Masse Village" in Batavia's Central Corridor between Harvester and Swann streets downtown.

From the original project proposal:

Overall, the goal in this project area was to rejuvenate the Swan Masse Village, as it once was a renowned downtown industrial hub and “business incubator.” The plan introduces separate structures of mixed-use light industrial, commercial and housing with an urban appeal and vibrancy that consists of lighting, pavement enhancements, pedestrian pathways, open space and streetscape amenities. Central to the development was keeping the powerhouse intact for two important reasons: 1) to keep costs down by retaining the boiler system for the nearby structures that rely upon it, and 2) to strengthen the image as an industrial center as well as maintain the historical integrity and sense of place.

This "downtown hub" of mixed-use structures, tree-lined avenues and "streetscape amenities" would rise from the ashes—or in this case the demolished rubble—of some 40 acres of vacant land and crumbling infrastructure. It would look something like this:

We've been informed that the Genesee County Economic Development Corp. is looking into potential state grants totalling some $2.7 million that would be used for the city's Central Corridor. Other grant opportunities are being researched by the city, as well. Whether or not anything like this plan for the Swan Masse Village would be part of those plans remains to be seen.

What do you think? Would this be a wise way to remake the city's Central Corridor? Would it provide the spark to send Batavia into its renaissance? Do we need more? Less?

Click here to download the plans.

Robert Drewinski
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This would be great it would help Batavia grow new jobs and bring more cash to the city. The only problem I have with it is what about the corner of Ellicott St & Harvester Ave. This area of the street is way to narrow for tractor trailers as it is now. Plus most of the homes are run down or empty, what is the city going to do with them. The city should buy the homes and make the street and intersection wider for trucks turning down Harvester.
Tiffany Barber
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Is there anyway to get a little bigger picture, or maybe one that opens in a new browser. This looks fantastic - but I'd like to be able to see a little more detail.
lazario Ladou
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I've always wondered how 1 thousand plantings ends up being 9 "trees" 4 bushes and 100 flowering bulbs
Richard Gahagan
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Alright I don't live in Batavia anymore but they have been talking about reconstructing the industrial center since I was a little kid. I grew up on Prune Street we used to uh play army yeah that's it, we used to play army in the alleys and vacant buildings of the industrial center (never heard of "Central Corridor" before, kinda like Centre(sp) I guess.) The industrial center has been a dump for over 50 years. The problem is no one has the money or wants to risk the money to reconstruct it and when you go after government funding in WNY you end up with projects like the "Mall". Living in a rural area south of Fort Worth now. I drive by 5 brand new enormous schools, 2 new $20 million high school football stadiums/hs athletic sports centres(sp) . Rangers stadium is 20 minutes away. The new Cowboys stadium is 30 minutes away. They build the new schools first then new rural subdivisions are developed all around them. I still can't believe all the new development projects. Everything is new, well planned and beautifully constructed. The difference between this area and western new york is the Barnett Shale gas exploration is bringing in over $100 billion a year to local communities to fund these projects with limited government involvement.
Ron C Welker
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Change the pool water,
Robert Drewinski
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Dear Rich, you are the smart one for fleeing NYS years ago. Batavia and the unions are sucking the money like crazy out of the taxpayers. Batavia Public schools alone this year need 40 million to operate. You would think there were 10,000 kids in the school system, I think there is only 1600-1800 in the system this year. Another example of sucking us dry are all these empty industrial parks around Genesee County, the spend millions on bad real estate and black topping a road. Then these places sit empty waiting for some poor sap that has not left the state to open up shop. Pembroke, Bergen, Leroy, now Alabama wants to build a hugh empty industrial park to sit empty.
Richard Gahagan
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Don't get me wrong still love WNY the people are the best and I certainly miss hunting and fishing in the fall. But after being away for long periods and coming back home its sad and depressing to look around at the condition of the buildings. Just read that WNY is the 2nd most economically depressed area of the country behind the Detroit area. These webpages show the new high school football stadium I drive by everyday on my way to work, rangers stadium, cowboys stadium, and the new recently constructed shopping centre(sp). http://www.mansfieldisd.org/athleticsweb/misdstadium/misdstadiumhome.htm. http://i.pbase.com/g6/11/782111/2/86224835.EWj4luRF.jpg http://www.dallascowboys.com/images/newstadium_nnw_022008_1024.jpg http://www.metlife.com/WPSAssets/14874295171201536151V1FArlingtonHighlan... The whole area is experiencing and economic boom funded by private developers with little government funding.
lazario Ladou
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I think an open air type of "mall" plaza is what our mall needs to be But we have winter and people want to somehow avoid it I think you have to embrace it Two story and maybe a third in spots to reflect the victorian homes in the area Views of whatever we have to view in downtown Batavia People are lazy and don't want to climb stairs Force em to "Cool" establishments/gym/bars/restaurants second story for younger crowd willing to give something in order to receive common stores down below Even the strip malls in some other states are done with real architecture A strip mall in NY is an elongated pole barn with perhaps a flashy sign or two on some facade Who wants to be a part of blight? If all we can afford to build is blight dump the idea Get some spacious and studio apartments -in- Harvester Not just some new nearby cookie-cutter condo thing with cheap industrial themed facades I'd love to live over there if cleaned up ..even if the rest of the surrounding hood remains relatively unchanged Mixed use real mixed use Huge investment 2.7 million as a start for something you want to call a central corridor sounds like it itself is a mere facade Batavia could be in good shape by 2075 Where are the real plans a drawing hiding "everything" behind mature ornamental trees cartoon monopoly board hotel here hotel there
John Roach
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Some states think that if they let business do what it does best, business will come there. Texas is a great example. NY takes the other approach. With fees, surcharges and taxes, rules and regulations, we tell them to leave NY. You may or may agree all that is necessary, but year after year business votes by leaving the area. In Batavia, the school board even taxes your cell phone. Great way to tell people come here. And now, just when the City of Batavia is starting to get back on its feet, we have Councilman Tim Buckley saying he wants to rehire all the City Hall staff that the public demanded be cut at last years budget. If he gets way, property taxes will be at least 1% higher than they already are going to go up. Drive down Main Street. How are you going to get business to come here when people like Buckley want to add to the size of Government and raise taxes that had already been cut?
Philip Anselmo
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Tiffany: Sorry for the delay. I added a link at the end of the post so you can download the pdf file and make the image as big as you wish.

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