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Batavia Centennial

December 4, 2015 - 10:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Centennial.

city100dec42015.jpg

Residents gathered in Austin Park this evening for an aerial photo of them forming the number 100 on the ground while they held flashlights. The photo was arranged by the Centennial Committee to help wrap up a year marking the 100th anniversary of Batavia's incorporation as a city. The photo was taken with the assistance of City fire, using the department's ladder truck.

We'll have more photos from Christmas in the City later.

July 2, 2015 - 3:29pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, Batavia Centennial, Vibrant Batavia, time capsule.

Press release:

The City of Batavia is celebrating its 100th anniversary! The Centennial Committee is planning to bury a time capsule in September; and we need the community’s help! 

Take part in the fun by writing a note to your family’s descendants or write a poem for people to read 100 years from now! Centennial notecards with envelopes will be available beginning July 1 at the Genesee Valley PennySaver, 222 E. Main St., Batavia. We encourage you to take part and contribute to the time capsule that will be opened in 2115.  

In addition to the above items, The Batavian will be conducting polls on Tuesdays beginning June 30 into the month of July, on which items will be placed in the Time Capsule. Be sure to visit The Batavian to vote on Time Capsule Tuesday!

 

June 30, 2015 - 11:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Centennial, batavia, downtown, BID.

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Press release:

Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), sponsor of the Centennial Arts, an outdoor arts display that took place on Tuesday, June 16th announces the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

More than 20 artists set up their works of art for display and for sale in Jackson Square. Those who attended the event were able to vote for their favorite artist or display as a People’s Choice Award. The winner of Centennial Arts was Susan Hoak, of Batavia, whose up-cycled furniture was considered “unique and creative” by several customers.

The Centennial Arts event was an effort to celebrate the City’s Centennial year as well as bring about awareness of the talented artists that are within the local region. Most artists were from Genesee County and one was from Warsaw. Pictures of the event can be see on the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District Facebook page.

“Shop Local, Shop Downtown.” Sponsored by: Batavia Business Improvement District.   or more info  contact the B.I.D. Office at 585-344-0900 / visit  us at www.DowntownBataviaNY.com. or  like us on Facebook at DowntownBataviaBusinessImprovementDistrict.

June 16, 2015 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, Batavia Centennial, Jackson Square.

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It turned out to be a beautiful evening for some really fine art in Jackson Square. The Centennial Celebration art and artisan show runs until 8 p.m.

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August 12, 2014 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Vibrant Batavia, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia's Centennial Committee plans to start 2015 off with a bang, but the celebration won't stop there.

The 100th Anniversary of Batavia's incorporation will be marked by events all year long, members of the committee told the City Council on Monday night.

"This event, I believe, is going to spawn something already taking place in our community" said Marty McDonald, a committee member. "It's going to spawn excitement in our community."

A project of Vibrant Batavia, the committee is in the process of raising $100,000 to fund the celebration. So far, sponsors have pledged $63,000, including $20,000 from FreedMaxick and $10,000 from Tompkins Bank of Castile. Other sponsors include Lawley Genesee, Turnbull Heating and Air, Merrill Lynch, Valle Jewelers and Trifthauser & Salmon Orthodonitics.

The opening of the Centennial Celebration is just five months away, New Year's Eve.

The community is planning a "Centennial Plaza" centered on Court Street and stretching down Evans to Falleti Ice Arena. There will be live music (on a train bed car sitting on the tracks at Evans and Mill), vendors, and fun and games.

At midnight, there will be -- just as there was 100 years ago to mark the incorporation of the city -- a fireworks display. 

The committee promises a big one.

The display will be launched behind the fire hall on Evans.

The committee is also offering 200 "Century Club" memberships for $100 per couple, which will include tickets to a "Dress the Decades" party inside City Hall on New Year's Eve. Memberships are available to all residents and are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The committee is also planning the installation of 40 centennial banners throughout the city, a 100-tree planting project, installation of a time capsule in front of City Hall, a historic walking trail and a birthday celebration tied to the July 4 Picnic in the Park.

The committee is planning to apply for a National Grid Community Foundation grant to pay for the 100 trees, which would be planted in the spring, during United Way's Day of Caring, at locations throughout the city, including parks, city right-of-ways and Centennial Park.  

The committee is also planning what it's calling a "Legacy Gift" -- a sculpture or multipurpose remembrance to be installed somewhere in the city and paid for by sponsors. The installation would take place some time in the fall.

The committee is asking for City Council support in the form of attending all events, use of City Hall for the New Year's Eve party, approving street closures for events, and the use of city resources such as the youth bureau, police, fire and maintenance to support Centennial events.

June 9, 2014 - 9:00am
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1, 1915 after having been an incorporated village since 1823. The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914. During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

On this date 100 years ago, June 9, 1914, Batavians went to the polls to vote in a referendum on the proposed charter that would make Batavia a city. Earlier in the year, there had been two different proposals before the State legislature with one providing for a city government run by a city manager and five nonpartisan councilmen elected at large. That proposal failed to gain sufficient support from assemblymen and senators. So, the proposal now before voters in Batavia was a second one which had passed the Assembly and Senate and had been signed by the Governor. This second proposal featured a mayor, six city wards, and a council person from each ward, all with party affiliations.

Earlier in the year, a straw vote had been taken among Batavians on this second proposal, but many questions had been raised about the voting procedure. While the second proposal seemed to have voter support at that time, there was enough doubt about the matter to warrant voting again. Consequently, when the second proposal was passed by the Assembly and Senate, it had been amended to require a referendum on June 9th. If voters failed to again support the proposal at that time, Batavia would not become a city despite approval by the State legislature.

And so, on June 9th, Batavians once more went to the polls. The turnout was not very high, resulting in only a little more than half of the ballots normally cast in village elections. It was not clear what that might signify and it made some supporters of the second proposal a little nervous.

As it turned out, no one needed to worry. One-thousand and seven ballots were cast, with 795 yeas and 212 nays. Thus, after several years of discussion and debate, Batavia was finally going to become a city. All that remained was to elect the new government in upcoming December elections. Who would be elected to serve? In six months, I will let you know.

June 1, 2014 - 4:09pm
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1, 1915 after having been an incorporated village since 1823.  The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914.  During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

On this date 100 years ago, June 9, 1914, Batavians went to the polls to vote in a referendum on the proposed charter that would make Batavia a city.  Earlier in the year, there had been two different proposals before the State legislature with one providing for a city government run by a city manager and five non-partisan councilmen elected at large.  That proposal failed to gain sufficient support from assemblymen and senators.  So, the proposal now before voters in Batavia was a second one which had passed the Assembly and Senate and had been signed by the Governor.  This second proposal featured a mayor, six city wards, and a council person from each ward, all with party affiliations.

Earlier in the year, a straw vote had been taken among Batavians on this second proposal, but many questions had been raised about the voting procedure.  While the second proposal seemed to have voter support at that time, there was enough doubt about the matter to warrant voting again.  Consequently, when the second proposal was passed by the Assembly and Senate, it had been amended to require a referendum on June 9th.  If voters failed to again support the proposal at that time, Batavia would not become a city despite approval by the State legislature.

And so, on June 9th, Batavians once more went to the polls.  The turnout was not very high, resulting in only a little more than half of the ballots normally cast in village elections. It was not clear what that might signify and it made some supporfters of the second proposal a little nervous.

As it turned out, no one needed to worry.  One-thousand and seven ballots were cast, with 795 yeas and 212 nays.  Thus, after several years of discussion and debate, Batavia was finally going to become a city.  All that remained was to elect the new government in upcoming December elections.  Who would be elected to serve?  In six months, I will let you know.

 

 

 

April 3, 2014 - 9:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Vibrant Batavia, Batavia Centennial.

Press release:

The City of Batavia is turning 100! The City of Batavia along with Vibrant Batavia have announced that they are forming the Centennial Celebration Committee to begin with the planning for the 2015 year birthday celebration.

An outline of events has already started to develop. The Centennial Committee will be the primary lead for an opening ceremony December 2014 and closing ceremony December 2015. In between, we will engage a variety of citizen groups to honor the businesses, people and history of Batavia since 1915. The committee has taken that concept and molded it into a yearlong list of ideas looking for partner organizations to assist. A large birthday cake, banners, Century Club New Year’s Eve party, legacy item installation, memorabilia and more are in the making.

Leadership has also been identified for the Centennial. After hours of deliberations, the Vibrant Batavia Committee identified numerous worthy candidates to lead the festivities as the Honorary Chairperson. The group considered women and men that have family lineage within the City, passion for the history of the community, leadership qualities, respect of the residents, school connections, business relationships, commanding presence and more.

Paul Battaglia, a longtime resident of Batavia, was selected. He is currently the managing director of Freed Maxick’s Batavia practice. Battaglia is involved in many different organizations, from Batavia Rotary to UMMC to the Business Education Alliance and thr Genesee County Economic Development Center. In 2005, Battaglia received the Community Builder’s Award from the Council of Community Services of New York State in recognition of exemplary charitable board leadership with nonprofits. Paul and his wife, Mary, were born, raised and have spent their entire lives in Batavia. They graduated from Batavia High School as did their four children. They live on Ellicott Avenue in the City.

“I was surprised by the request and feel privileged to accept this position as Honorary Chairman of the City’s Centennial celebration,” noted Battaglia. “I am flattered and excited to be a part of celebrating old and new traditions. I’m looking forward to lighting the fireworks in December and cutting the City’s birthday cake next summer!”

Krysia Mager, a City of Batavia resident, has been named as the Centennial Committee chairperson. She is a marketing business partner at Tompkins Bank of Castile and is very active in the community. Mager previously served on the Batavia Business Improvement District committees and board of directors. She is also involved with the Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards ceremony. Krysia and her husband, Jonathan, have two daughters, Emersyn and Evelyn.

“I am very honored to represent our community as the Chairperson for this prestigious event,” Mager said. “I am really looking forward to working with the wonderful volunteers in our community to make this Centennial Celebration something to be remembered for another hundred years.”

The Centennial Committee will meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month at City Hall at 8:30 a.m. All interested participants should fill out a City of Batavia Committee/Board Volunteer Application that can be found on the city Web site (http://www.batavianewyork.com/sites/bataviany/files/file/file/committee_...).

Please complete the application and send any ideas, thoughts and or suggestions for this upcoming event to [email protected].

Vibrant Batavia is a community network organized to celebrate the past, build on the present and to create a more vibrant future. The volunteers work side-by-side with the City of Batavia, NeighborWorks® Rochester and the business community to strategically improve the City's neighborhoods and to promote a livable community of choice.

March 13, 2014 - 9:30am
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1, 1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823. The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914. During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

Earlier this week, I reported on a hearing that took place in Albany where competing charter proposals were presented before a joint committee of Senators and Assemblymen. One proposal, offered by a Charter Revision Commission appointed several years earlier by village leaders, was notable in that it proposed a city in which the government would consist of a city manager and five nonpartisan councilmen elected at large. The other proposal, offered by the existing Board of Aldermen who currently governed the village, proposed a city in which the government would consist of a mayor and six councilmen, all with political affiliations. The relative merits of these competing proposals can be judged by what occurred 100 years ago this week.

Under the Village of Batavia charter that existed in 1914, village elections took place in March rather than in the fall as they do now. Going into the election 100 years ago, Republicans were in control of village affairs. However, after the election, a Democrat was the new mayor and the majority of the aldermen were also Democrats. Following the election, a headline in The Daily News read, “Democrats will sweep the deck: Little prospect of Republicans being left in Village positions.”

This was not a surprise to anyone. It was the tradition of patronage politics in Batavia and elsewhere. Because there were political parties involved in our community’s government, whenever the political majority changed, people like the village clerk, treasurer, police justice, village engineer, and even the fire chief traditionally lost their jobs because they belonged to the “wrong” party. The Charter Revision Commission sought to end this practice by establishing a nonpartisan city government.

In two weeks, I’ll let you know how the State Senate and Assembly responded to the competing proposals for Batavia’s future, one continuing the practice of partisan political affiliations and the other designed to establish a city government free of party politics.

March 10, 2014 - 11:47pm
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on Jan. 1, 1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823. The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914. I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence in 1914.

Last month, I reported on how the Village of Batavia Aldermen, the equivalent of today’s City Council, had become unhappy with the work of a Charter Revision Commission appointed several years earlier. As a result, the Aldermen wrote a competing proposal and presented it to the community on Feb. 4, 1914. Then the Aldermen announced that their proposal would be submitted to a straw vote in order to gauge community support. The ballot simply read, “Shall the charter as prepared by the Aldermen be sent to Albany?” When voters cast 488 “yes” votes versus 451 “no” votes, the Aldermen chose to see the results as a ringing endorsement of their proposal and sent it off to the State Senate and Assembly.

It was 100 years ago, March 10, 1914, that a joint committee from the Assembly and Senate met to hear the competing charter proposals. Edward Russell, chair of the Charter Revision Commission, spoke to the gathering. He asserted that: the straw vote on the Aldermen’s proposal had not been taken in a proper or legal manner; that ballots were pre-marked and passed out on the street to any who might wish to go in and vote; that the total vote was a small proportion of the eligible voters; and that persons had voted who were not eligible to do so. Furthermore, Russell said, the Aldermen had used misrepresentation and deceit to persuade “liquor interests” to pay for lobbyists to speak against the proposal of the Charter Revision Commission.

At this point, Batavia’s mayor, Louis Wiard, rose to speak against these charges. But before he could do so, Senator Thomas Cullen, who was chairing the hearing, expressed disbelief that a community like Batavia would conduct an irregular vote and gaveled the session to a close.

In two weeks, I’ll let you know what happened when the Senators and Assemblymen eventually voted on the two charter proposals.

February 26, 2014 - 10:16pm
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1, 1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823.  The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914.  During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

In 1914, there were two competing proposals for how Batavia should function as a city.  One had been prepared by a Charter Revision Commission several years earlier.  The other was a more recent proposal created by the Village Board of Aldermen, the equivalent of today’s City Council.  One hundred years ago, yesterday, the State Assembly voted in favor of an amended version of the Aldermen’s proposal, one that entailed a city government consisting of a mayor elected at large and six councilmen, each elected from a city ward, with all seven individuals having affiliations with a political party.

One of the amendments addressed a provision in the Aldermen’s original proposal that would have doubled Batavia’s representation on the County’s Board of Supervisors.  After hearing objections from the County, led by a supervisor from LeRoy, the Assemblymen returned the level of representation to the then current level.

The other amendment to the Aldermen’s original proposal was made in response to those who challenged a straw vote taken in February.  The amendment added a provision requiring that the Aldermen’s charter proposal be submitted to a referendum vote on June 9th.  This amendment was to satisfy those who argued that the sentiments of Batavia’s residents had never been properly determined.

When the Assembly sent the amended Aldermen’s bill to the Senate, it was feared that there was insufficient time for the Senate to act before the legislature ended its current session.  The Senate was scheduled to end its work within 24 hours.  However, somehow, despite the pressure of business in the closing hours of the Senate’s final meeting, time was found to act on the bill.  At 2 a.m., one hundred years ago, today, the amended Aldermen’s bill was formally reported out by the Senate Cities Committee and its passage immediately followed.

It now remained for the Governor to sign the legislation.  However, that was not a sure thing, either.  It was anticipated that members of the Charter Revision Commission who opposed the Aldermen’s bill would lobby the governor not to sign it.  In three weeks, I will let you know what happened in that regard.

February 26, 2014 - 10:10pm
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1, 1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823.  The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914.  During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

In 1914, there were two competing proposals for how Batavia should function as a city.  One had been prepared by a Charter Revision Commission appointed several years earlier.  The other was a more recent proposal created by the Village Board of Aldermen, the equivalent of today’s City Council.  The Commission’s proposal entailed a city government consisting of a city manager and five non-partisan councilmen elected at large.  The Aldermen’s proposal provided for a city government consisting of a mayor elected at large and six councilmen, each elected from a city ward, with all seven individuals having affiliations with a political party

In order for Batavia to be incorporated as a city within the coming year, one of these proposals or some variation of it, had to be approved by the State legislature and signed by the governor.  A hearing on the two proposals was held on March 10, 1914 by a joint committee composed of senators and assemblymen.  When the competing proposals were later taken up in the Assembly for final action, only the Aldermen’s proposal had sufficient support to gain passage.  Thus, it became clear that if Batavia was soon to become a city, it was going to operate under a traditional arrangement that featured partisan politics, a strong mayor, and councilmen elected from wards.

However, the matter was far from being settled.  One hundred years ago, today, the Assembly was ready to vote.  But, the current legislative session was scheduled to end the next day and it seemed doubtful that the Senate would have enough time to act.  The prospects looked especially bleak when two key senators objected to efforts that were designed to speed passage of the Aldermen’s bill.   It seemed that time had run out and Batavia would not become a city in the next year.

Tomorrow, I will let you know what what happened next.

February 10, 2014 - 2:57pm
posted by Larry Barnes in history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1,1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823. The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914. During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

Early in 1914, Village of Batavia Aldermen, the equivalent of today's City Council, had become unhappy with the work of the Charter Revision Commission appointed several years earlier. The Commission had developed a proposal for Batavia becoming a city that eliminated wards, eliminated political parties, and established a government run by a manager and five councilmen elected at large. As a result, the Aldermen wrote a competing proposal and presented it to the community on February 4, 1914. Then the Aldermen announced that their proposal would be submitted to a straw vote in order to gauge community support. That vote took place 100 years ago, today.

Voters might have anticipated that the ballot would provide an opportunity to indicate which proposal they preferred, the Commission's as described above, or the Aldermen's proposal which retained wards, retained partisan politics, and featured a mayor rather than a city manager. Instead, the ballot simply read, "Shall the charter as prepared by the Aldermen be sent to Albany?"

Since the Commission's proposal was already in Albany, a "yes" vote could only indicate a voter's desire to have both proposals presented before the State legislature. The wording on the ballot did not allow for a clear understanding of how voters assessed the relative merits of the two proposals. However, when voters cast 488 "yes" votes versus 451 "no" votes, the Aldermen chose to see the results as a ringing endorsement of their proposal over that of the Commission.

A month from now, I will provide another news release, this time reporting on what happened when the two competing proposals were presented to a joint committee of Senators and Assemblymen.

February 8, 2014 - 5:49pm
posted by Larry Barnes in history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1,1915, after having been an incorporated village since 1823.  The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914.  During 2014, I will be acknowledging each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

Early in 1914, Village of Batavia Aldermen, the equivalent of today's City Council, had become unhappy with the work of the Charter Revision Commission  appointed several years earlier.  The Commission had developed a proposal for Batavia becoming a city that eliminated wards, eliminated political parties, and established a government run by a manager and five councilmen elected at large.  As a result, the Aldermen wrote a competing proposal and presented it to the community on February 4, 1914.  Then the Aldermen announced that their proposal would be submitted to a straw vote in order to gauge community support.  That vote took place 100 years ago, today.

Voters might have anticipated that the ballot would provide an opportunity to indicate which proposal they preferred, the Commission's as described above, or the Aldermen's proposal which retained wards, retained partisan politics, and featured a mayor rather than a city manager.  Instead, the ballot simply read, "Shall the charter as prepared by the Aldermen be sent to Albany?"

Since the Commission's proposal was already in Albany, a "yes" vote could only indicate a voter's desire to have both proposals presented before the State legislature.  The wording on the ballot did not allow for a clear understanding of how voters assessed the relative merits of the two proposals.  However, when voters cast 488 "yes" votes versus 451 "no" votes, the Aldermen chose to see the results as a ringing endorsement of their proposal over that of the Commission.

A month from now, I will provide another news release, this time reporting on what happened when the two competing proposals were presented to a joint committee of Senators and Assemblymen.

 

February 4, 2014 - 8:00am
posted by Larry Barnes in batavia, history, Batavia Centennial.

Batavia officially became a city on January 1, 1915 after having been an incorporated village since 1823. The transition involved a progression through several steps during 1914. During 2014, I will be recalling each of these events 100 years after their occurrence.

In the early 1900s, village leaders appointed a Charter Review Commission for the purpose of drawing up a city charter proposal. Despite several submissions to the State, the Commission’s proposal consistently failed to gain the necessary State approval. The matter came to a head early in 1914. On this day, 100 years ago, the Village of Batavia aldermen, the equivalent of today’s City Council, unhappy with the Commission’s work, offered a competing proposal.

One reason for the failure of the Commission’s proposal to receive State approval had been lobbying by certain Village aldermen against specific parts of the proposal that caused them displeasure. Those parts included the elimination of wards, the elimination of political parties, the election of councilmen solely at large, and the creation of a city manager position. Political pundits predicted that the Board of Aldermen’s proposal would have none of these features.

The pundits were right. The aldermen’s charter proposal, made public 100 years ago today, not only retained wards, but increased them from five to six. It retained political affiliations, featured a strong mayor, and doubled Batavia’s representation on the County’s Board of Supervisors. It also had a particularly novel feature. Under the aldermen’s proposal, if at least 25 percent of the voters petitioned for enactment of a particular ordinance, the Common Council had to either adopt the ordinance or submit it to a vote by city residents.

In a move surprising some, the aldermen promised to put their proposal to a straw vote of residents just six days hence. Next week, I will provide another news release, this time revealing the outcome of that vote.

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