Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

BID

May 11, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, downtown, BID, music, notify.

shannon_maute.jpeg

geib_and_roche.jpeg

There’s so much happening in downtown Batavia, Shannon Maute says, that she needs to start her own podcast to discuss it all.

Maute, the Business Improvement District’s executive director, is eager to share ideas she and the BID Promotions Committee have been kicking around lately. She wants to provide a venue for them to mull suggestions and figure some things out for downtown’s ongoing success.

“We hope to have it ready to go by mid-June. We are open to anyone coming on. We want to hear from everyone who has an idea, or a thought, and I’ll even take suggestions,” she said to The Batavian. “We will discuss our events, our plans for downtown and promote businesses as well as individuals. We want to have fun with it and get Batavia involved. If we can solve some issues along the way that would be fantastic.”

She teased that the group has some ideas “ready to go,” but you will have to “listen to find out what they are.” Maute plans to promote the podcast in the near future.

Extra nights of music ...
One idea will be implemented beginning in July. Since concerts on Friday nights have had such a positive result, BID members have decided to bring on some Thursday nights as well.  Concerts on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. are scheduled for June 30, July 28 and August 25 at Jackson Square. Musical groups are yet to be announced for those.

The Downtown Batavia Friday Night Concert Series is to kick off with Old Hippies on July 1, Skycats on July 8, Don Newcomb Band on July 15, Ohmes Band July 22, Creek Bend July 29, Ghost Riders on Aug. 5, The Bluesway Band on August 12 and capped off with Mitty and The Followers on Aug. 26. These concerts are all free and are set for 7 to 9 p.m.

An inaugural Italian Fest has been scheduled for August 6, complete with a strolling accordion player, pasta, cannoli and other Italian treats, decorations and a Mediterranean vibe, Maute said.

New faces on BID board ...
She is excited about a resurgence in community gatherings and about some new faces on the BID Board. Derek Geib has been elected president of the board, with fellow businessman John Roche as vice president; and Carrie Lawrence and Shelly Wolanske are new board members.

Maute recently shared how the intrusion of COVID-19 changed her priorities.

“Two years to reflect is a long time, but I learned what is important, and what is important to me is my family, friends and my community,” she said during the annual BID breakfast. “I am so proud to live in this cute little city with a very big heart.”

Awards were given to “the amazing” Gavin Townsend for Volunteer of the Year, and Business of the Year went to “the outstanding Islands Hawaiian Grill.”

“They earned those awards with all their hard work, commitment, and positive attitude, as well as their great love for our community,” Maute said.

Special awards were given to Beth Kemp and Leanna DiRisio for Volunteer of the Decade.

With incoming president Derek Geib, former president Don Brown was acknowledged for his sage and consistent advice and for being a great help to Maute, she said.

“I am pretty lucky to work with such a great board. Each and every one of them brings something great to the table,” she said.

Top photos: Shannon Maute, executive director of Batavia Business Improvement District; and new BID President Derek Geib, left, and Vice President John Roche.

Photos by Howard Owens. 

gavin_pic.jpeg

Award recipients Gavin Townsend for Volunteer of the Year

islands_pic.jpeg

Kourtney Kunichika, owner of Islands Hawaiian Grill for Business of the Year.

 

April 11, 2022 - 4:26pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, business, notify, downtown batavia, BID, chamber of commerce.

img_1007jcpenney.jpg

If Yong Guang Ye gets his wish, the California businessman will more than double his investment at 40 Batavia City Centre.

Better known as the former JC Penney store in downtown Batavia, the property was purchased by Ye in February 2021. The price tag was $500,000. He has asked his realtor, Jonathan Maurer of Pyramid Brokerage Co. in Fairport, to list the site for sale at a cool $1.3 million.

Maurer has spoken with Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Eric Fix and Business Improvement District Executive Director Shannon Maute about prospects for the site.

“I’m trying to understand what the community would want,” Maurer said Monday to The Batavian. “A hotel would be amazing … we’re pursuing a hotel; we don’t have any strong leads yet, it’s too soon to tell. The priority is to find the best use for the space.”

The selling price is not out of range given the open floor space, “which I think is a value, given the size of the building,” he said, plus a roof repair in progress.

The buyer is a commercial real estate developer, and does not own any other property in New York State, Maurer said.

Based on his talks with the county and downtown representatives, the first goal would be to renovate it for an event space, with the second goal being a downtown hotel. It has been “difficult to find the right user” so far, he said, due to the site’s limited visibility and entrance/exit set-up.

BID Executive Director Shannon Maute said she could easily see a boutiquey micro-hotel situated within the 38,584 square-foot building. This area is lacking a venue for conferences and special events, she said, and the property is zoned for all of that, including building on two additional floors.

It has often been said that Batavia is a perfect location for being in between Buffalo and Rochester, and Maute would like to capitalize on that. "If you had family in Buffalo and Rochester, Batavia would be the perfect place to have a wedding or an event," she said.

“There definitely is a need for that,” she said Monday. “We’re still open to any ideas, but the goal is for (Maurer) to have an idea of what the need is. We try to work closely together, and Eric agreed on what should and should not go in there. The city would have to weigh in on an idea.”

She would not elaborate on what they felt should not go into the site.

Fix was not available for comment. 

Previously: Vacant Penney building purchased by West Coast businessman

Photo by Howard Owens

March 22, 2022 - 4:22pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, business, notify, BID.

8dda971c-91f0-433c-8dbe-ac53a9b7d98f.jpeg

Not only has interim director Shannon Maute been hired for the full-time permanent position of Batavia’s Business Improvement District, but she also plans to hit the ground running with a new event this year.

Get ready for a strolling accordion player, sweet and savory Mediterranean cuisine and lots of fun, Maute says.

“We’re looking at mid to late summer; it will be an outdoor event with a ‘Welcome to Italy’ sign, lights strung along the streets, and vendors at stands on the side of the road,” she said to The Batavian Tuesday. “So you’ll feel like you’re in New York City for an Italian fest … with pasta and meatballs, pastries, cannolis … and I see kids doing three-legged races and sack races in the parking lot, playing the games that we used to play as kids. I’m just looking to go back to a time when the community and families did everything together.”

Maute was appointed as interim director on Dec. 14, 2021, to fill the spot left vacant by former Director Beth Kemp. She was approved Tuesday during a BID board meeting. Board members and Maute opted to give the interim position a trial run before making it official.  

"It just happened," Maute said. “We both took our time, and we were both happy and so we went for it."

She also presented her vision of an Italian fest to replace the former BID Summer in the City event. It was an idea she came up with a few years ago, before COVID-19 hit and closed down most everything. The board really liked the idea, and a posting on Facebook reaped “a fantastic reaction,” she said, so she has formed a Promotions Committee to pursue it.

Her vision includes a large horseshoe-shaped layout of downtown that will be filled with food vendors, live music, children’s games and contests in an authentic display of Italian heritage similar to that of Octoberfest with its German flair, she said.

Maute and her husband Jay Steinbrenner are frequent visitors of New York City’s Italian fest, and she would like to bring that excitement and family-friendly activities to Batavia. With each of the couple being half-Italian and half-German, it has been a natural fit to be involved with Batavia's Octoberfest and now an Italian celebration. Her favorite Italian items are juicy meatballs and cannolis, though ravioli and manicotti also make the list, she said. There's also the potential economic impact of introducing the community to a vast amount of merchants, she said. 

“I would really like it to be where all businesses would benefit,” she said. “Any business in Batavia would participate so (the public) could enjoy the restaurants and stores we have here.”

Hardly a newcomer, Maute, a Batavia native and resident, has been involved in local events for years. She led the way with FeBREWary, BID’s first event of 2022, which sold 467 tickets. She saw “everyone was smiling and walking down Main Street,” and hopes to replicate that kind of positive happening later this year, she said.

Anyone interested in being on the Promotions Committee or attending a BID meeting is welcome to do so, she said. For more information, go to: http://Downtownbataviany.com

File Photo of Shannon Maute from February 2022 by Howard Owens.

December 28, 2021 - 2:41pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, BID.

50c2bd38-2df1-48e8-bdfc-0f7f8ff05c9a.jpeg
As one in a long line of stalled events due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Business Improvement District’s beer fest is to return in 2022.

 Led by BID Interim Director Shannon Maute, FeBREWary is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 26 in downtown Batavia.

“We’re hoping to have a lot more people participating and will want to get out and go downtown,” Maute said during an interview Tuesday. “We’re still accepting applications … and tickets are only being sold at Eventbrite.”

Run in a similar fashion to BID’s popular wine walk, FeBREWary will take place at 20 downtown businesses and focuses on tasting the brew. There will also be hard cider for those that don’t like beer as much, Maute said. Folks will have three hours to walk, sample from New York State craft breweries, and check out the downtown merchant goods. 

Maute’s name may seem new, but she has served on BID committees for quite a while now, she said. A former event coordinator and office manager for Eli Fish, the Batavia native worked on FeBREWary, Christmas in the City, and wine walk events. BID members recently began seeking applications for the BID director position after Beth Kemp announced she was leaving earlier this month. Maute was hired as interim director to fill the gap. 

The organization has received some applications, including one from Maute, she said. As someone who has “helped with a lot of events,” she would like an opportunity to fulfill the director’s duties, she said.

“I find it very exciting; it’s an amazing opportunity to get business downtown,” Maute said. “Beth has done a great job, and I would like to continue that. Whether or not I get the position, I will be driving FeBREWary."

A total of 600 tickets will be sold, and can only be purchased online. General admission is $25, and all participants will receive a commemorative beer glass. VIP tickets are $35 and will allow participants entry an hour earlier at 4 p.m., plus exclusive specials, raffle tickets, and a commemorative gift. Tickets for $5 will also be available for designated drivers.

For more information, call (585) 344-0900. To buy tickets, go to: https://downtownbataviany.com/index.php/febrewary/

Top photo: Interim BID Director Shannon Maute shows the poster and glass for the next FeBREWary set for Feb. 26 downtown Batavia. Photo by Howard Owens.

December 27, 2021 - 3:59pm
posted by Press Release in BID, downtown, FeBREWary, news, batavia.

Press release:

The B.I.D. FeBREWary Committee announces this year’s event which will be held on Saturday, February 26th.

Only 600 tickets are available for this year’s event. Tickets may be purchased online. General Admission tickets are $25, VIP $35 and DD tickets for $5. All VIP ticket holders get into event 1 hour early at 4 PM, a special gift, raffle tickets and more! All ticket holders will enjoy a tasting of several NYS Craft Beer and at over 20 local businesses throughout our Downtown.

For more information contact the Batavia Business Improvement District at 585-344-0900 or Shannon Maute at [email protected].

December 3, 2021 - 12:44pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, BID, Christmas in the City, parade.
img_0204bethkemp2.jpg

Beth Kemp
(2016 file photo)

This year’s Christmas in the City parade is a special one to Beth Kemp, executive director of Batavia Business Improvement District.

It will resume the years-old holiday event after the pandemic shut down, and close out a chapter on Kemp’s career path. She is leaving the role for a position in marketing and accounting with Council Rock Wealth Advisory Group in Batavia.

“December 10 will be my last day. This is my last big parade; the parade is kind of my baby, I love it,” she said to The Batavian Friday morning. “It’s like a well-oiled machine at this point, and I hope it will continue.”

Thirty-four participants have signed up for the parade, set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday outside of Wendy’s restaurant on Main Street, Batavia. Floats, costumed characters, and music will follow a route that leads toward Summit Street. 

Christmas in the City was originally dubbed Taste of the Holidays, which is when Kemp first became involved with it. She was on an event committee and was integral to the creation of a festive parade as part of the renamed event. Meant to be a family-friendly, fun downtown happening, Christmas in the City runs from 2 to 6 p.m., ending with the parade. 

A train ride, several vendors, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, professional carolers and an elf, the Muckdogs mascot, and a GO-ART! building-turned-Whoville will be part of the excitement. There will also be hidden gnomes at downtown businesses for kids to find and take photos of for a contest boasting prizes of Muckdogs tickets, a basket full of board games, and more. 
 

November 4, 2021 - 2:22pm
posted by Press Release in news, notify, BID, Christmas in the City.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District is hosting its annual Christmas in the City event from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 4 with a holiday parade down Main Street to follow at 6 p.m.

The BID is inviting any business, organization or group to walk, ride or enter a float for the parade which runs from Jefferson Avenue to Summit Street. Downtown businesses are encouraged to host an activity or offer store specials during the event. Vendors are welcome.

This year’s event includes train rides, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, crafts, and a Downtown Scavenger hunt with chances to win some great prizes.

The BID also is hosting its second annual Wreath Contest for Downtown Batavia.  Again, any business, group, organization or family are invited to enter the contest.

For $20, each participant is provided with a 16-inch plain wreath to decorate. Participants can pick up their wreaths on Sat., Nov, 20 and will have a week to decorate it before dropping the wreath off to the BID for community volunteers to put them up downtown.

Voting for most creative will take place from Dec. 4-24. First place winner receives $100 cash prize, second place $75 and third place $50.

To participate in Christmas in the City or the Wreath Contest, contact Beth Kemp at [email protected] or find all forms online at DowntownBataviaNY.com.

November 2, 2021 - 11:34am
posted by Press Release in BID, downtown, batavia.

solider1.jpg

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District hosted its fourth annual Scarecrow Contest for Downtown Batavia. As a creative way to add some more fall flavor to downtown decorating, the BID invited any business, organization or family to enter the contest. For $20 each business was provided basic supplies of straw, a post, and zip ties along with their pole assignment. Each business could then get creative in creating its scarecrow. All voting for favorite scarecrow ended Sunday, October 31st.

The First Place Winner for 2021 is Veterans Services! Shout out to Verna and everyone over at Veterans Services for the amazing job. They will be donating their winnings to WNY Heroes. (top photo)

Second Place Winner is Charles Mens Shop. They would like to thank the Notre Dame Art Club, Maia Zerillo and Jasmine Wessel for their assistance with the scarecrow this year. (second photo)

Third Place Winner is Eli Fish Brewing Co. (third photo)

First place winner receives $100 cash prize, second place $75, and third place $50. The BID would like to thank Home Depot for sponsoring the scarecrows and to our City of Batavia Fire Department for assembling the posts.

art.jpg

eli.jpg

October 7, 2021 - 6:14pm
posted by Press Release in electric vehicles, BID, batavia, downtown, news.

img_5318.jpg

Press  release:

City of Batavia officials and community leaders were joined by leaders from National Grid to commemorate the installation of four new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The stations were made possible through National Grid’s Make-Ready Electric Vehicle program, which funds electricity infrastructure costs associated with new EV charging stations for its upstate electric business customers.

For the Batavia stations – two located at Mancuso Bowling Center, 214 East Main St. and two at The City Church, 210 E. Main St. – National Grid’s program covered more than 90 percent of the infrastructure costs to install the stations.

“The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District Board of Directors was excited to pursue this project and are thrilled to see four EV charging locations within our downtown,” said Beth Kemp, executive director, Batavia Business Improvement District (BID). “We would not have been able to move forward with these progressive additions to our downtown without the assistance of National Grid, NYSERDA, Rick Mancuso, and Marty Macdonald. Thank you to all partners involved.”

“Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise in New York State, and EV charging stations are a great way to attract employees, and also a great way to attract and retain new customers,” said Paul Gister, customer and community engagement manager, National Grid, who added that the stations have become more popular among landlords seeking to attract and retain tenants, as well as helping New York State achieve its energy targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

National Grid’s EV charging program is available for businesses, multi-unit residential buildings and retail stores, as well as parks and vacation destinations.  The company also offers a program for companies looking to electrify their fleets, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and meet the de-carbonization goals of the states where the utility operates.

“These programs include incentives for customers who have an eye on the future, who support clean energy initiatives, and are providing a necessity for the vehicles that will take us there,” Gister said. “Initiatives like these are at the heart of how we collaborate with customers and significantly impact our communities and community partners. These kinds of collaborations are central to our Project C initiative, which was created to inspire change and create a more equitable future for our customers and communities.”

Added Rick Mancuso, owner of Mancuso Bowling Center and TF Brown’s Restaurant, “We were presented with an opportunity to provide EV charging stations through programs offered by National Grid and NYSERDA through the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District. We believe that with the increase of electric car sales there will be a need for stations and at the same time, these stations will drive traffic to the downtown area as well as the surrounding businesses. We’d like to thank Beth Kemp and the BID for their support of not only this project but also, all that the organization does for the Batavia Business Improvement District.”

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is proud to promote, support, and connect our local business and tourism communities. We believe passionately in collaborations that enhance our abilities to live, work and play in Genesee County,” said Erik Fix, president, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful for our partnership with National Grid and the BID and appreciate them working together to bring EV Car Charging Stations to downtown Batavia. Congratulations to both organizations and thank you to National Grid for continuing to invest in our community!”

Photos by Howard Owens

img_5323.jpg

img_5311.jpg

September 11, 2021 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, downtown, batavia, news.

halloweenscawcrowsdowntown2020-2.jpg

Businesses, agencies, organizations, and families are invited to participate in the Downtown Business Improvement District's annual Scarecrow Contest.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place.

All participants will be provided with straw, twine and an assigned pole in  Downtown Batavia where the entrants can mount their scarecrows.

The contest runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31.

Register online at www.downttownbataviany.com or email [email protected].  There is a $20 entry fee.

Photo: File photo from 2020

September 2, 2021 - 8:46am
posted by Press Release in BID, wine walk, downtown, batavia, news.

Press release:

The B.I.D. Wine Walk Committee announces this year’s event which will be held on Saturday, October 2nd. 

Only 600 tickets are available for this year’s event. Tickets may be purchased online at DowntownBataviaNY.com or at Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle and The Yngodess Shop. General Admission tickets are $25, VIP $35 and DD tickets for $5. All VIP ticket holders get into event 1 hour early at 4 PM, a special gift, raffle tickets, and more! All ticket holders will enjoy a tasting of several NYS wines and some ciders at over 20 local businesses throughout our Downtown. 

This year’s theme is Prom. Participants are encouraged to dress for any prom genre they wish. Prizes will be given for the best-dressed individuals and couples.

Thank you to our generous 2021 Wine Walk Sponsors: Freed Maxick, Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle, Dan’s Tire & Auto, and Family First Federal Credit Union.

June 25, 2021 - 11:15pm

a76y7852.bt_.jpg

Penny Whiskey kicked off this summer’s Friday Night Jackson Square concert series. The band features a mix of Celtic, folk, rock and bluegrass all rolled into a hilarious show. Members play a variety of instruments like banjo, bodhran, whistles, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and flute.

Penny Whiskey offers the best in music from both Ireland and Scotland along with homegrown bluegrass, folk and rock influences and that touch of crunchy electric guitar that gets you on your feet.

Executive Director for the Batavia BID, Beth Kemp said, “The Batavia Business Improvement District is so thrilled to be able to host Jackson Square Summer Concert Series this summer! It has been a tough last year for our businesses and community and we are happy to be providing events and opportunities for people to come together again in our Downtown!”

For a complete list of Friday night concerts in the square, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene Photography.

a76y7855.1.jpg

a76y7853.bt_.jpg

a76y7857.bt_.jpg

a76y7856.bt_.jpg

May 20, 2021 - 4:47pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, BID.

banners_.jpg

Calling it “a huge collaborative effort,” the executive director of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District said she is proud to announce that the agency has put up new banners on the light poles on Main Street and a couple of side streets.

Beth Kemp today said 111 banners were attached to the poles last week by City of Batavia Department of Public Works crews.

“Our design committee has been working probably over a year now on updating the banner designs that you’ll see throughout the Downtown,” she said. “So, this is the finalized design that we got approved at the board level. We had them printed locally, at Hodgins Printing, and just put up by DPW.”

Purchasing updated banners for the summer – and also banners and decorations for the holidays – was part of the BID’s plan to utilize some of its capital funds.

“It was a huge collaborative effort and I’m glad to see the design come to fruition and then the banners be up in the community,” Kemp added.

On another front, she said that the BID is negotiating with Empire Access on making Wi-Fi accessible Downtown.

“We changed companies from Spectrum to Empire Access, and we’re hoping by the end of the summer to have Wi-Fi Downtown,” she said. “After that is activated, we will be looking at a speaker system that best aligns with the network to provide music.”

As previously reported on The Batavian, other projects planned for this year include snowflakes to go on light poles that are showing their age, hanging baskets and flowers for baskets, and fall decorations, such as cornstalks, pumpkins and hay bales.

Photo: New banners that feature a picture of downtown Batavia with the wording EST. 1997 BATAVIA DOWNTOWN. Photo by Howard Owens.

May 19, 2021 - 4:53pm

Submitted images and press release:

After public input and multiple stakeholder engagement sessions for the reconfiguration of Jackson Square, and with the preliminary design finished, the final design will now advance to full engineering, permitting and construction in the next few months. The project is expected to be completed next spring.

On Oct. 6, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced eight transformational projects for Downtown Batavia as part of $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Enhancing Jackson Square was one of the eight projects chosen to receive a strategic investment grant of $750,000 to transform public space in a public plaza. 

“The upgraded public plaza will become a lively hub and common space for community interaction, and provide connections to multiple businesses through its unique configuration," said Eugene Jankowski Jr., City of Batavia Council president and DRI cochair.

"As we continue to recover from the pandemic, I am happy to see the City complete this project and be able to offer citizens and visitors a unique experience in Downtown Batavia."

Jackson Square, a public gathering space bordered by historic buildings in the heart of Downtown, will be transformed with decorative pavement upgrades, a professional multipurpose stage, seating, lighting and decorative signage. 

“Jackson Square is a hidden gem in the City of Batavia, currently hosting lively concerts and urban events," said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center and cochair of the Batavia DRI. "After the project is complete the Square will bring in more opportunities for the community to gather creating a downtown neighborhood."

Architectural Resources is the architectural firm selected to design the reconfiguration project, which is on schedule will go out to bid this winter.

“We received feedback from the residents, the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), Batavia Development Corporation (BDC), adjoining building owners, and users of the square," said City Manager Rachael Tabelski. "The pavement and lighting elements will give a square a historical feel in a unique urban setting."

The concept integrates many historical layers of Batavia including the Great Bend -- changing the trajectory of the Tonawanda Creek, the Ancient Seneca Footpaths, and the history of “old” downtown Batavia.

“The BID was engaged throughout the entire process including selecting the design firm, reviewing and refining the project," said Beth Kemp, executive director of the BID. "The adjacent building owners were consulted, as well as the multiple users of the square to advance the project. Jackson Square will continue to drive community events and business to Downtown Batavia."

Input received at each of the two public meeting informed the design of Jackson Square. The design of the stage and canopy was revised based on suggestions that were made during the second public meeting.

“I am excited to have been a part of the design committee to advance this project on behalf of the City," said Andrew Maguire, executive director of the BDC. "The BDC intends to seek additional funding for the project by applying for a National Grid Urban Corridor Grant. That funding could provide for furniture and more lighting elements in the Square."

Enhancements of Jackson Square will continue to advance the City of Batavia’s efforts to create a lively and prosperous Downtown. It will provide a gathering space and performance venue for the community and open up new opportunities.

In combination with other DRI projects advancing in the City, Batavia continues to find, new ways revitalize existing buildings and spaces.

January 26, 2021 - 2:35pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, BID.

Going on for nearly a year now, COVID-19 has created a dilemma for downtown business traffic in Batavia. But better days are ahead, according to Beth Kemp, executive director of the city’s Business Improvement District.

Kemp, speaking at Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting, reported that one of the BID’s biggest projects is nearing completion.

“We continue to work with Spectrum Charter on bringing free Wi-Fi to the entire BID area,” Kemp said. “We have had several stakeholder meetings over the last year, bringing all of the property owners that will be working with Spectrum on essentially allowing them access to their buildings.”

Kemp said the BID has moved to the implementation phase of installing and connecting of all the nodes in the downtown area to activate the Wi-Fi.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 that has been put on hold until the end of February. Several engineers come from out of state so we have a tentative date to move forward on that,” she said.

Kemp explained that the new Wi-Fi network will feature multiple channel controls – actually five per the agreement with Spectrum.

“One of those channels is designated for the free Wi-Fi downtown and we will have time restrictions,” she said. “So, each will have a maximum of four hours per day to use the Wi-Fi. Certainly, a perk for all residents and visitors here.”

She said that additional channels could be utilized by the City of Batavia Police Department or emergency personnel.

“The BID is also interested in using one of those dedicated channels for possible music downtown,” Kemp said, adding that officials are looking at wireless speaker systems to attach to the light poles. “(Music) would bring a positive vibe.”

Other projects planned for 2021 include:

  • Updated banners and signage, including those that go on the downtown light poles;
  • Snowflakes to go on light poles that are showing their age;
  • Hanging baskets and flowers for baskets;
  • Fall decorations such as cornstalks, pumpkins and hay bales as well as garland options for light poles around the holidays.

Kemp said the BID’s marketing plan will include free advertising opportunities for small businesses, commercials, print advertising, social media assistance and radio opportunities – either at a discounted rate or free to small businesses.

She said that the agency looks to promote Tasty Tuesdays once again to support restaurant takeout orders, and the Downtown Bingo initiative featuring giveaways for participants who complete their boards.

On the events side, she said the BID seeks to continue the scarecrow and wreath contests, and Shop Small Saturday following Thanksgiving.

January 23, 2021 - 9:17am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, City Schools, BID.

Update: Jan,. 25, 2 p.m.

Please be advised that Batavia City Council will be holding the 2021/22 budget work sessions on the following dates:

Monday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. -- Conference Council Meeting, Special Business Meeting &  Budget Work Session (Department of Public Works)

Monday, Feb.  1, 6 p.m. -- Budget Work Session (General Gov’t, General Admin Services, Fire & Police)

Wed., Feb. 3, 7 p.m. --If needed – 3rdBudget Work Session

Monday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m. --- Business meeting, introduce budget ordinance

Monday, Feb 22, 7 p.m. -- Conference Meeting, (Last opportunity to make budget amendments)

Monday, Mar 8, 7 p.m. -- Adopt Budget and Related Resolutions.

-----------------

The process of achieving a 2021-22 spending plan for the City of Batavia is expected to move forward on Monday night with the introduction of resolutions to schedule public hearings on the budget ordinance and establishment of new water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees.

City Council is scheduled to meet in Conference and Business sessions at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the City Hall Council Board Room.

In a memo to City Council dated Jan. 14, Interim Manager Rachael Tabelski indicated that public hearings are necessary prior to any execution.

Tabelski is proposing that the budget and water rates resolutions, along with a third resolution dealing with amendments to the Business Improvement District Plan, be considered at Council’s Feb. 8 Business Meeting and that public hearings be set for 7 p.m. Feb. 22 – the date of Council’s next Conference Meeting.

Earlier this month, Tabelski proposed a 2021-22 tentative budget – a $27.7 million all-funds spending plan – that calls for a 1.38-percent increase in the property tax rate (from $9.59 to $9.73 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value). According to a resolution on the table for 2021-22, the amount to be raised by taxes is $5,864,597.

Tabelski has said that a combination of revenue losses due to COVID-19 and decreased sales tax and state aid have resulted in a $1.2 million gap compared to the previous fiscal year.

In the area of water and meter fees, the resolution introduces a local law to establish new rates, with water rates and quarterly meter service fees going up by 3.5 percent and quarterly capital improvement fees increasing by 10 percent.

Changes to the BID Plan, outlined in red in Council’s packet of information, indicated that the BID has about $260,000 in its capital infrastructure fund to be used for capital projects. Three such projects earmarked for 2021-22 are downtown marketing banners ($9,000), downtown music equipment ($30,000) and downtown Christmas decorations ($38,000).

Other amendments show that the BID’s district assessment charge (a revenue source) – excluding debt service – can’t exceed 20 percent of the total general municipal taxes levied in a year against the taxable property in the BID. Thus, it is currently estimated that that figure is $58,000, and the BID’s assessment is estimated at $1.810873 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Other items of note on this Monday’s Conference Meeting agenda:

Tabelski is suggesting that Council look over the plan and issue it for public comment, and then move it forward to the March 8 Business Meeting where she and Police Chief Shawn Heubusch will review the public comments with Council, prior to the board adopting the plan and sending a certified copy to the New York State Office of Management and Budget.

  • A request by the City of Batavia School District for the City to support the district’s application for funding that the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, a NYS Education grant program.

In a memo dated Jan. 22, Tabelski wrote that the partnership is designed “to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color.”

The memo indicates that the City will support the program, provide “parent engagement and education, mentorship, college and career pathways, and other evidence-based strategies,” provide display space on bulletin boards and brochure racks, provide ADA-accessible public meeting room space, provide mentors at the City’s Liberty Center for Youth afterschool program, and provide homework assistance at the Liberty Center for Youth.

  • A resolution to schedule a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 8 to apply for a 2020 New York State Community Development Block Grant through the state Office of Homes and Community Renewal. Applications are due by March 5 for public infrastructure, public facilities and planning.

In a memo dated Jan. 22, Tabelski explained that proposals must meet at least one of two national objectives – at least 51 percent of the persons who would benefit from implementation of the plan are low- or moderate-income persons or the plan addresses a slum or blighted area in the community.

She wrote that the City is reviewing possible projects that align with its strategic plan, primarily infrastructure ventures related to water, wastewater and facilities.

Tabelski is suggesting that both the My Brother’s Keeper and the CDBG resolutions be moved to the Business Meeting this Monday night due to timing issues.

November 16, 2020 - 11:50am

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District Board of Directors regretfully announces cancellation of Christmas in the City and the Holiday Parade.

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and our concern for the health of the community, vendors, volunteers and attendees, we have decided to cancel this event for 2020. 

We encourage our community to continue to shop small and support our small businesses that need us now more than ever.  

For more information on B.I.D. and Downtown events please visit our website at www.downtownbataviany.com.

November 9, 2020 - 5:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, BID, Genesee Country Farmers' Market.

publicmarketjun82018.jpg

The treasurer of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, which recently concluded its 46th season providing locally grown produce and other food items, today said that Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. has reached out to her to set up a meeting in the near future.

“That’s a start,” said Sharon Brent, speaking by telephone from her Middleport home. “Mr. Jankowski said that (Interim City Manager) Rachael (Tabelski) would be contacting me.”

Brent is owner of Schwab Farm Market in Gasport and has been involved with the farmers’ market since its inception.

The future location of the public market is unclear in light of the fact that the city is looking at the Alva Place parking lot as the desired site for a new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department.

The farmers’ market has operated at that location since 2016, when it entered into an agreement with the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District to have one large market at one location – instead of two or more sites in and around the city.

Prior to that, the market was located at the Kmart parking lot for about a decade before moving to a lot at Batavia Downs from 2006 through 2015.

Previous reports that the market moved 11 times in 15 years referred to its early years, not recently, Brent said.

“We originally started in front of Super Duper, where the (Tonawanda Valley Federal) credit union is now and we used to be right where Wendy’s is, in the Angotti’s (Beverage Corp.) parking lot and way behind the (former) Engine House Restaurant – near a skating place on some gravel,” Brent said. “That was the reason we left the city and went out to Kmart and the Downs, because we wanted a stable location.”

Brent said the only reason the market returned to the city is because the BID requested a consolidation – with the stipulation that there would be just one market at one location.

“The BID used to run the farmers’ market that was on Thursday at Angotti’s and then they moved to Alva Place, and it was run by volunteers,” Brent recalled. “(Former BID Director) Don Burkel approached us and proposed Downtown Batavia Public Market in one location. He said we can’t be at the Downs and at Alva Place.”

So, the area vendors hit the road to Batavia on three days (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) instead of the two they spent at Batavia Downs, Brent said.

She said that after a couple years, BID officials asked the GCFM to “run all aspects of the farmers’ market as it was getting difficult to find volunteers.”

“Of all the locations over the 40 some years, that (Alva Place) still has been the best place as far as ability for people to get to,” she said. “It has anything that you as a business owner would like in a location and it fit all of those things.”

Brent said that five years ago, there never was a discussion about a police station going there.

“That was never brought up,” she said.

Things have changed since then, however, as the city has enlisted Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville, to conduct a feasibility study into the construction of a new police facility on the lot north of Alva Place and west of Bank Street.

Brent said the GCFM board of directors is “definitely open to other options” and welcomes the opportunity to provide input to city officials.

“It is what it is. I’ve done well. I run a good business and have done well no matter where I’ve been,” she said. “But, as far as the residents of the city, to me they should have a voice in what they would want.”

Business Improvement District representatives said their organization continues to support the farmers’ market and they understand why Brent and her colleagues wish to stay at the Alva Place lot.

“We see the value in it and we support the public market,” BID President Don Brown said. “To us, it is an event Downtown that brings people Downtown, but it’s not a BID event. They’re their own entity.”

Brown called the Alva Place site “a fabulous location and they’d be crazy not to want that.”

“My perception of the situation is that this has been a long-term plan for the police station – it has been going on for several years here," he said. "They’ve had all kinds of studies and votes, and all kinds of ideas of where to put it and why to put it.

"The public market was never going to be there permanently from what I recall, unless they were going to build a building …if they got the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) money and the BID wanted to bond something like that.”

Brown said the BID spent $25,000 on a feasibility study in an unsuccessful application for a DRI award.

“We didn’t get it; so, the BID definitely decided that they didn’t want to bond it," he said. "It was too much and they couldn’t tell us how much traffic the market was going to bring or whether the market was going to quadruple. So, why create another tax for something that we’re unsure of. That was the long side of that.”

BID Executive Director Beth Kemp, who sits on the GCFM board, noted that her agency is not as involved as it was in the past, but “we definitely support them as with any event that happens in the downtown.”

“We understand the vitality that a public market brings to the Downtown, and we’re here to assist in any way,” she said. “We don’t want to see the public market go away from Downtown, and we’re eager to come up with other options if that’s the way it has to go. I know that our board has tried to generate a couple of alternative ideas, but so far nothing substantial.”

Kemp said the consensus of GCFM directors is that they wish they could stay put.

“Yes, ideally they love that location, they love the demographics that they serve which has increased since they’ve been there and the walkability,” she said. “Out of all their locations, that is the most ideal; that is the one they love the most.”

File photo of Genesee Country Farmers' Market by Howard Owens.

November 6, 2020 - 5:29pm

Don’t go grouping Genesee County with five other rural counties outside of the heavy-populated hubs of Erie and Niagara when it comes to private-sector job losses over the past five years.

That’s one of the themes emanating from a Nov. 4 story in Buffalo Business First that reveals the findings of a federal report, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, pertaining to the Western New York business climate prior to the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the BBF article, Genesee County “is an exception to the generally gloomy news about the six outlying counties” – the others being Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Orleans and Wyoming.

Genesee County, per the QCEW, created an additional 718 private-sector jobs between 2015 and March 2020, a period that culminated before the adverse effects of COVID-19 took hold. That represents a 4.4-percent increase.

Citing the BBF story, “The six outlying counties (including Genesee) collectively lost 4.1 percent of their jobs during the 2015-20 span, a period in which the national economy was prospering. A total of 4,303 private-sector positions vanished” from the six counties.

The number jumps to a 5.7-percent decline in employment for those other five counties when removing Genesee’s performance.

Steve Hyde, president and chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, contacted today said he’s not surprised by the report’s favorable news.

“In Genesee County, the continued collaboration among the various levels of government with our strong private sector is resulting in economic growth through capital investment and jobs,” he said. “The results shared since 2015 are visible at Genesee County’s eight shovel-ready business parks and the sustained growth of many Genesee County companies.”

Hyde contributed the growth to investments made by the county’s major employers as well as smaller businesses that have expanded their operations.

Some of those major employers include HP Hood, O-At-Ka Milk Products, Liberty Pumps, Wright Beverage and Tompkins Bank/Insurance.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said the QCEW report validates that Genesee County “is indeed a great place to work and live.”

“We are fortunate to have excellent companies in our backyard that are growing and investing right here in Genesee County,” Landers said today. “The combined efforts of the GCEDC, Batavia Development Corporation, Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District, and Chamber of Commerce have helped to attract and retain many of these private-sector jobs, and have us positioned for continued growth for years to come.”

The BBF story called Genesee County “the one exception” to a downturn in job growth in the rural counties when compared to increases in the number of private-sector businesses in Erie and Niagara counties, per the QCEW study.

“A total of 4,303 private-sector positions vanished from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties … while at the same time Erie and Niagara counties were adding 11,845 private-sector jobs, representing an increase of 2.7 percent,” according to the BBF article.

The story also pointed out that Orleans and Wyoming counties "essentially broke even" during the five-year span.

November 2, 2020 - 2:15pm
posted by Press Release in Scarecrow Contest, BID, business.

Submitted images and press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District hosted its third annual Scarecrow Contest for Downtown Batavia. As a creative way to add some more fall flavor to Downtown decorating, the BID invited any business, organization or family to enter the contest.

For $20 each business was provided basic supplies of straw, a post and zip ties along with their pole assignment. Each business could then get creative in creating their scarecrow. All voting for favorite scarecrow ended Friday, Oct. 30th. 

  • First-place Winner for 2020 is Eli Fish Brewing Company
  • Second-place Winner is Islands Hawaiian Grill
  • Third-place Winner is The Moskal Family

First-place winner receives $100 cash prize, second-place winner $75, and third-place winner gets $50.

For more information on B.I.D. and Downtown events please visit our website at www.downtownbataviany.com.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button

News Break