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Batavia Community Garden

Batavia Community Garden plots available for the 2024 season

By Press Release

Press Release:

Would you love to grow nutritious, great-tasting vegetables but don’t have space for a garden? The Batavia Community Garden can help! Come join our Batavia Community Garden in 2024 and enjoy the benefits of growing and eating your own fresh produce. Bed rentals also make the perfect Christmas gift for your favorite gardener. Join a community of gardeners.

Garden plots are offered in three sizes: 4’ x 4’ ($20), 4’ x 8’ ($30), and 2’ x 10’ ($25) trough plots for gardeners with limited range of motion. All plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Plot rentals are available to anyone living in Genesee County. Currently managed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, the garden is located next to 12 MacArthur Drive. The garden generally opens for planting in mid-May and closes in late October.

New gardeners (with little or no gardening experience) can rent one 4’ x 4’ plot. Gardeners with gardening experience can rent up to two 4’ x 4’ plots or one 4’ x 8’ plot. Elevated trough beds (for adaptive gardening needs) are limited to one bed per gardener if available. Potential gardeners should review the Batavia Community Garden Rules and Information before applying. 

Plot fees include access to a raised bed filled with a growing soil mix, access to water source with hose, watering wand, and watering cans; use of provided hand tools; use of compost bin, and other resources at the garden.

Plot requests are filled according to the order in which applications are received. A check or money order must be included with the application. Payments of cash can be made at the CCE Genesee office during business hours at 420 E Main St, Batavia. All fees are non-refundable. 

For more information please contact Laura G. at CCE Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 101, stop by the CCE office at 420 East Main Street in Batavia or visit the website

Making a difference at Batavia Community Garden

By Joanne Beck
BHS at community garden
A Batavia High School senior turns over the soil at the Batavia Community Garden this week during Make a Difference Day activities. Photo submitted by Irene Hickey.

Batavia Community Garden committee members welcomed nine Batavia High School seniors Friday to help with various landscaping tasks as part of this year's 24th annual Make a Difference Day.

Tracy Grover of the high school College Career Center led the group of students for their community service project, garden helper and photographer Irene Hickey said.

BHS at community garden 2

Students were on hand to help garden members with end of the season work. A laundry list of tasks was led and coordinated by RaeAnn Engler, Garden Committee chairperson, at the garden on MacArthur Drive alongside the high school. 

Those chores included turning over the soil in the beds, putting the art panels into storage for the winter, relocating the compost within the garden, caging apple trees cutting back milkweed and thorny black raspberries (ouch!), and general weeding.

BHS student digging at garden
BHS taking a break at garden

This enthusiastic crew worked from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., breaking at noon for a quick lunch under the tent. 

"The morning was cool and damp with on and off drizzle. Luckily the rain held off until the bulk of the work was done," Hickey said. "Many, Many thanks to our work crew from the High School. The garden community
appreciates your willingness to lend a hand and your spirit of service. We couldn’t have done it without you!"

Photos by Irene Hickey

BHS girls at garden
BHS students at garden 3
Student at garden
Adult at garden

City posts job descriptions for assistant manager, Department of Public Works director

By Mike Pettinella

Batavia City Manager Rachael Tabelski hasn’t found time to completely move into her new office, but she has wasted little time acting to fill two key administrative positions.

Tabelski, following tonight’s City Council Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, said job descriptions for an assistant city manager and director of the Department of Public Works are up on the city’s website and other social media sites and have been sent to municipal and trade associations.

When asked how her first two weeks as the permanent city manager have gone, Tabelski said it has been business as usual except for the task of transferring her workload and possessions to the city manager’s office.

“Well, it doesn’t really feel different. I started moving my office today – I finally got a break .. and this morning I took about 20 minutes to start moving things,” she said. “But I think that the most exciting thing that we have is that we just announced the posting for the assistant city manager job and the director of DPW.”

The city has been without an assistant city manager since June of last year when Tabelski moved up from that role to replace Martin Moore. Just recently, she appointed Ray Tourt to replace Matt Worth (who retired) as DPW director but Tourt has decided to return to his former position of superintendent of the Bureau of Maintenance.

“So, that certainly is progress in terms the first two weeks as the official manager,” Tabelski said. “And that will certainly help with the workload that the managers’ currently have (by) filling those positions and getting projects moving.

“We just released a job description and advertisement on Friday afternoon and started posting on social media. We will be advertising with our local partners as well as with associations across the state to find the qualified candidate that wants to come in and do a lot of project work, actually.”

Tabelski said the assistant manager position is going to be “very project based.”

“This person should have a degree in Business or a business-related field or Public Administration, and with years’ experience and be very comfortable in a top executive role with our city,” she said.

The actual job description indicates the assistant will execute projects “in a timely and professional manner with a focus on financial tracking and compliance … (and) provide … accurate and timely information to support decision-making and policy direction …”

Some of the many “typical work activities” listed include assisting with collective bargaining, operating and capital budgets, and evaluation of the city’s fiscal position in relation to the budget. The assistant manager also will oversee the creation of an administrative services budget to include the clerk/treasurer, youth, information technology, assessor and human resources.

The salary range for the assistant city manager is $82,946 to $100,604, and the selected individual will have to move into the city within six months of the appointment.

No salary range is listed for the DPW director, who is responsible for the management of the Bureau of Engineering and Inspection, Bureau of Water and Wastewater, and the Bureau of Maintenance.

In other developments:

  • As first reported on The Batavian, the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market is looking to move across Alva Place into the former JC Penney parking lot this summer (actually beginning on June 4).

Council members seemed to be pleased with the move, especially after Tabelski said that there would be plenty of parking available even if another store moved into the empty building.

Council Member Rose Mary Christian noted that alcohol will be served and questioned whether farmers’ market officials had the appropriate permits or licenses. During a brief back and forth, she asked several times for City Attorney George Van Nest to check into it.

The application submitted by Sharon Brant, farmers’ market treasurer, indicates that the organization has a special permit through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYS Liquor Authority for tasting only, and that vendors can sell alcoholic beverages in approved sealed containers.

The market is scheduled to run on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 29.

Tabelski mentioned that she has been meeting with farmers' market officials on a regular basis and is planning a downtown "walk-through" to look at potential permanent sites for the operation.

  • Council moved two resolutions to its Business Meeting on April 12.

One was to create a temporary position of superintendent of water and wastewater as a result of current Superintendent Bill Davis’ intention to retire within the next eight to 12 months.

Tabelski encouraged Council to “fill the position in advance to avoid a large knowledge gap,” adding that similar action was taken in the case of police officer retirements.

She said she expects to advertise for the Civil Service position soon, with an eye on filling it by the end of May.

Council Member John Canale asked if the city’s hiring freeze pertaining to this position.

Tabelski said the freeze was for jobs in the general fund, while this is being paid for by the water and wastewater funds.

The other resolution was to authorize the Community Garden board to apply for an AARP Community Challenge Grant of up to $10,000 to improve the garden on MacArthur Drive.

Tourt said proposed enhancements would be for materials to construct a hardscaped patio with a pergola (outdoor garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars) and to add more planting beds.

Deadline to submit the grant is April 14.

City seeks to 'weed out' issues surrounding employee residency requirement amendment

By Mike Pettinella

The chair of the Batavia Community Garden advisory board called into question City Council's policy decisions in light of a proposed amendment to the Batavia Municipal Code pertaining to residency requirements for new municipal employees.

Speaking during a public hearing at Monday night's City Council meeting at City Hall Council Chambers, Deborah Kerr-Rosenbeck spoke of a double-standard as she compared the rules that govern advisory board membership with the proposal to relax residency requirements for those who work for the City.

“It seems like talking out of both sides of our faces,” she said. “The Community Garden (at 12 MacArthur Drive, next to the Batavia Youth Bureau) was started by people who don’t live in the City. You need to be consistent in your policies.”

Kerr-Rosenbeck was referring to the fact that a couple members of the Community Garden advisory board had to give up their positions after it was discovered by City Manager Martin Moore that they were not City residents, which is in violation of the City Charter.

One of those members is Robert Gray, a Batavia native who moved to Stafford in 1996. He was a cofounder of the Community Garden in 2011 and has been instrumental in its success.

Gray, speaking after Kerr-Rosenbeck, said he was offended by his removal (he and Carol Boshart, of Corfu, since have been allowed to continue as nonvoting "advisory" members).

“I have put in over 100 hours per year as a volunteer and now I can’t be on the committee,” he said. “Really? Really?”

He pointed out that the group was unable to conduct official business on a couple occasions because it didn’t have a quorum (of voting members) and requested that City Council review its policy as it is “detrimental” to the City.

The public hearing was necessary since City Council wishes to amend the City Municipal Code pertaining to the residency of new municipal employees. Changes focus on expanding the geographical area around the city where new employees may live to include any adjacent town to Genesee County within six months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City.

The employee also would be required to live within these areas for the duration of his or her employment.

City Attorney George Van Nest pointed out that City Council has the power to amend the Municipal Code, which governs employees, but has no authority when it comes to amending the City Charter, which covers volunteer boards.

Council President Eugene Jankowski noted that a Charter review is a separate, more extensive process, but it could be “something we might want to consider” as it is his hope to rectify the situation with the Community Garden advisory board.

Council Member Patti Pacino said she understood that the rules of the City Charter were drawn up by City residents, but disagreed with the outcome.

“I don’t like it,” she said.

(As an FYI, John Roach, of Batavia, who once served on the City Charter Commission, said that residency requirements were instituted for advisory boards because “we didn’t want people from Cheektowaga, for example, serving on our Zoning, Planning, Housing or Audit advisory boards. The Community Garden is a casualty of this.”)

Council Member John Canale said he was concerned over how the decision to remove Gray and Boshart was communicated to them, which prompted a response from Jocelyn Sikorski, Youth Bureau director and Community Garden coordinator.

“When Marty realized that two members lived outside of the City, we had a meeting with them to explain the circumstances, and made them both advisory members, liaisons,” she said. “This left two vacancies and changed their roles.”

Sikorski said both have been “key players” and noted that “we call Bob ‘the Almighty’ when it comes to the committee.”

The conversion then turned back to the proposed amendment to the City Municipal Code with Council Member Rose Mary Christian stating that employees should have a vested interest in the community and should live in the City or in Genesee County.

“In case we need them, if an emergency, they’re not so far away,” she said.

Jankowski said the amendment allowing for employees to live a few minutes outside the county is “kind of a compromise … which the department heads took into consideration.”

Public Works Director Matt Worth confirmed Jankowski’s view, noting that one employee lives in Attica – “the edge of where we are comfortable (to have employees live).”

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