Corfu residents and planning board members mull the future of the village
What should Corfu become? That was the question hanging over a village planning board meeting Tuesday evening when an agenda item about rezoning evolved into a discussion about how to boost business and get more people to visit.
The conversation was partly spurred by resident Tsabelle Cyra raising concerns about Dollar General looking for a store location in the village.
"It's ugly," Cyra said. "Did you see the facade of this place. It's not only ugly outside, it's ugly inside. It would do nothing for the esthetics of this village. On weekends, it's just packed with kids and indigent people. Is that what we want image-wise for Corfu?"
Trustee Art Ianni quickly turned the discussion to what it would take to get people to stop in Corfu.
He said one problem in Corfu is the village itself is ugly.
"I'm going to raise my hand and say it's ugly," Ianni said. "Yes, it's ugly."
He had a copy of a 2007 study that offered suggestions for improving the esthetics of Corfu, such as applying design standards, putting in sidewalks, street lighting, landscaping and attractive crosswalks, among other things.
"These are the recommendations of 2007 and nobody's moved on it," Ianni said. "Nobody's touched it and some of it is simple."
Several residents and board members agreed that what Corfu needs is a small grocery store.
"Right now, you have to go 26 miles round trip to get groceries," Dave Stehlar said.
Stehlar thinks a five-acre parcel on the east side of the village would be a good location for a new grocery store and bring people into the village and down Main Street.
The problem is, the owner wants top dollar and won't sell the property in divided parcels.
Cyra said when she worked in one of the state prisons years ago, all of the employees would drive out of their way to come to Corfu because they could get great meat at the grocery store. That kind of quality grocery store is needed again, she said.
The other problem, David Saleh said, based on his discussions with previous grocery store owners, is that the stores always did great in the summer, but business would come to a crawl in the winter. That makes it very hard to stay profitable, Saleh said.
Stehlar pointed out that there are about 10,000 people living in a 10-square mile area around Corfu. Those are a lot of potential customers for Corfu businesses if more of them could be enticed into the village.
One of the problems Corfu faces, Cyra noted, is the perception that it's a speed trap, so people avoid the village.
"Would you go on the record with that?" Ianni asked.
Ianni also raised the idea of exploring historical designation opportunities and maybe the village should bring in somebody to talk with them about that process.
Stehlar pointed out that the now vacant Union Hotel has a lot of redevelopment potential.
Ianni mentioned an article he'd seen about all the success with old building redevelopment in Perry, so maybe Rick Hauser should be asked to share his knowledge on the subject.
Whatever the village residents want to do, Saleh noted, it's going to take more support than the handful of people at Tuesday's planning board meeting.
"All of these things take a commitment of time and effort," Saleh said.
mr. ianni, I will go on record as I have in the past, I avoid Corfu at all costs due to the revenue raising police state that it has become...last time I attempted to go through Corfu, I came upon a police road block, I turned around (legallly) and got chased down. first thing police say "I smell marijuana". I don't smoke it, however he wanted me to prove it by allowing him to search my vehicle....I will continue to avoid Corfu, mr. ianni .......BTW people of Corfu, don't hammer on me, i'm just letting you know how a non-resident feels about your village, it is what it is, nothing personal.
I've been to many Dollar General stores and never found them to be packed with kids and indigent people on weekends. Why would kids hang out at Dollar General? And indigents? Are they going to come to Corfu on weekends to hang out at Dollar General?
Im very saddened to see the "Closing Sale Every Thing Must Go" sign at The Market today. This village has had a very long history of not wanting to grow. Not enough support from local people. I feel guilty that I didn't go there as much as I should have. I have always lived here, my parents were business owners here. When my future wife asked me were we should live, I said "Corfu were else would I live". Art is right it is kinda ugly here. I drive through other towns and I tell my self,,Wouldn't it be nice or look nice if Corfu had that? I don't want to see another empty building. The Union Hotel gives me nightmares now. When I was a kid the Village had Christmas Decorations put up and paid for by the Village Businessmen's Association. The Boy Scout Troop used to clean them and replace the bulbs every fall before they got put back up. They finally wore out and were not replaced. Through the 1980's & 90's people moved away or died off. Alot has changed. I wanted to attend last nights meeting but I had other obligations. This sleepy little bedroom community as its called is at a crossroads. Times and people have changed a lot in the last 20 plus years. There has to be more people in the community willing to get involved with the community. Simple enough, right? Yeah, right! Every one is very busy, down time is a rarity. With the way kids lives are (need?) to be structured parents may not be willing to get involved in another project or group. It was a place were every one knew everybody. I have great neighbors and they get a good laugh that I can tell them who lived in all the houses back when I was a kid. Now I am guilty of not knowing two of the people quoted in Howard's story above. As far as a speed trap? maybe, but then maybe, if you didn't drive like and ass you would not get stopped in the first place.
attractive crosswalks? How about 'effective' crosswalks? That would seem to be a much more important attribute.
And how about the land owner that wants top dollar for his 5 acres? Shame on you, mister. C'mon, take a hit in the wallet for the good of all! Boy, the nerve of some people.
(All the above said in jest, of course)
For a town that has thousands of people going thru it on the way to Darien lake you would think they could get some to stop and shop...Im with Dave on it being a speed trap...This seems to be the only way they finance their system of government.
Yes corfu is a speed trap, with the amount of traffic that comes thru corfu is overwhelming most of the time. My take is if you are a law abiding citizen you should have no problem. There is not one city or village that I avoid cause of the police.
The best way to avoid a traffic citation in Corfu isn't to route around it. It's to not break any traffic laws.
About Mr Iannis comment about 2007 report. Its not that no one touched as he says, the fact was that grant money is out there but it takes property owners to pitch in sometimes 50% to get the money. Not an easy sale! As far as Corfu being a speed trap, I went into the Village office and asked the Court Clerk what the average speeding ticket was. She told me 47mph. That's 12mph over the limit! Ill bet you get a ticket in any village in the state going that fast. The thing is we have thousands of cars a day come thru here so it seems like a lot of tickets are being given.
Brian, why does the Union Hotel give you nightmares? Is it because, like some people think, it's haunted?