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

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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. 

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Award recipients Gavin Townsend for Volunteer of the Year

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

 

April 10, 2022 - 7:01pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, JC Penney, notify, batavia, downtown, city centre.

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As the former JC Penney’s site, tucked on the northeast side of Batavia City Centre, has rested from its 44-year existence, a West Coast businessman purchased the building in February 2021. 

JC Penney closed its doors locally in the fall of 2020, in an onslaught of closings due to corporate bankruptcy proceedings. Batavia’s site then sat quietly as local shoppers mourned the loss of another department store. 

Meanwhile, Yong Guang Ye of San Jose, Calif., purchased the 38,524 square-foot site. According to Genesee County assessment records, Ye bought the building for $500,000 on Feb. 2, 2021. The property has been assessed at $400,000. 

Ye was contacted Sunday for comment by The Batavian. A representative of Ye’s from California returned the call inquiring if The Batavian was interested in purchasing the property, and it was explained that the call was for comment about the purchase. Ye has a local realtor whose name was to be provided to The Batavian but was not provided by the time of publication. 
 
JC Penney was built in 1978 along Alva Place and remained a strong anchor for the former Genesee Country Mall-turned-Batavia City Centre until its doors were permanently closed in late 2020.

Top photo: File photo of JC Penney during its going-out-of-business sale in late 2020. Photo by Howard Owens.

March 4, 2022 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Yngodess Shop, batavia, downtown, business.

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When Chris Crocker first took over a liquor store location at 73 Main St., Batavia, she had a vision.

She didn't see the nearly bare shelves. She envisioned shelves stocked with some of the best wine and spirits available in the community.

Ten years later, she feels she's achieved that dream, she said, thanks to a great staff and the support of the community.

Crocker and her staff will celebrate The YNGodess Shop's 10th anniversary tomorrow (Saturday) from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow and the public is invited.

"It's been a lot of work a lot, a lot of passion," Crocker said. "I have a great staff. And I've been doing it all for my son, my life. It's not always been easy. We've overcome a lot of challenges and we just keep going. Let's all put our best foot forward and we'll keep being the best that we can be."

Crocker is grateful for the community support and it's always been her goal to give back to the community.  

When the pandemic hit, in those first initial weeks, home delivery of wine and spirits became a big part of the liquor business but rather than pocket those extra profits from home delivery, Crocker set the money aside to give back to the community.

"We just gave $250 to a young lady that lost her daughter," Crocker said. "We've done the lunch thing with different (police and fire) departments around. I donated 911 flags back on 911 with the victims' names on them to the various departments around. We helped buy a motorized wheelchair for a woman in Le Roy.  We figure it has come close to $20,000 that we've raised and put back into the community."

Top photo: Chris Crocker, middle, and staff members Valeria Antonetty and Jodi Fisher.

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The YNGodess Shop is expressing its support for the people of Ukraine with a window display.

March 2, 2022 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ukraine, downtown, batavia, news.

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The front display windows of Charles Men's Shop in Downtown Batavia are now draped and dabbed in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Co-owner Don Brown said the display is about supporting freedom and backing the Ukrainian people. It's not necessarily about supporting the Ukrainian government, he said.

"We're on the side of those willing to fight for their freedom," Brown said.

March 1, 2022 - 10:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in FeBREWary, downtown, batavia, news.

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It was a bit FeBRRRary and a lot FeBREWary in Downtown Batavia on Saturday as throngs of beer lovers descended on local businesses to sample a variety of beers from regional breweries.

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January 31, 2022 - 10:38am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, business, batavia, downtown.

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Peter Hunt, chief executive officer of Hunt Real Estate

A much-coveted piece of downtown property will soon be home to Hunt Real Estate, Chief Executive Officer Peter Hunt says.

The company has purchased 97 Main St., Batavia, at the corner of Main and Jackson streets. Give them a few months, and his blossoming staff  — of about 16 people and growing — will be operating out of the site. 

Company leaders chose to add a branch in Batavia because it provides an integral connection between two of the company's major markets, Hunt said.

“First, it provides a very powerful link for us between Rochester and Buffalo. We've watched the market closely and believe that there's stability there and that there's a seeming energy and a renewed spirit of investment, particularly along Main Street, that we weren't a part of,” he said, addressing the company’s impending move. “We’re very excited about it.”

Peter Hunt lives in Buffalo, and he was pretty familiar with this area as a hockey coach, and that athletic role brought him to Batavia whenever his team played at the ice rink. Hunt Real Estate has been in temporary digs at 5 Jackson St. for the past year. The new space will have room — an estimated couple of thousand square feet on each of three floors — for growth of personnel and offices, and an apartment on each of the second and third floors, he said.

“And also we see the way the real estate market has changed, particularly since the pandemic descended on us. We see that communities like Batavia have a great opportunity for both improvement of the quality of life and also growth because it's becoming increasingly desirable to be in small to midsize cities and communities that have the kind of natural beauty that Batavia has all around it,” he said. “And we think that being part of that renewed excitement about communities like Batavia will be very important to us.”

Hunt followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and joined the family business right out of college. His son Charlie Hunt has done the same, and the chief operating officer has 10 years in at this point. The company has 58 branches from Boston, MA to upstate New York and in Phoenix, AZ. The company deals in mortgage, titles, insurance, residential/commercial sales. It is poised to provide services that no one else offers in Batavia, Peter Hunt said.

“Our vision very simply is ‘always there for you,’ which means that we are an integrated real estate and homeownership services organization, which we are the only one of currently serving Batavia,” he said. “So we're excited about adding value to the relationships that our sales professionals have with our customers and clients.”

With an eye toward growth, another sales professional was recently added to the Batavia branch, and 97 Main will eventually include two apartments to be renovation projects on the upper floors of the building. 

“Which really, I think, are going to be very cool units. You may know that they are in a  beautiful space in terms of high ceilings and beautiful windows, and so it's going to be a great spot,” he said. “We intend to grow; that's always our goal. As far as I'm concerned, growth is the name of the game in any business.”

Real estate sales were at a record high in 2021 — the best in sales during the company’s entire 110-year existence, he said. There’s a balancing act of supply and demand, and Hunt believes “there’s way, way less supply than there is demand,” which will keep pushing the market upward.

“So in order for that market to really cool down, there'd have to be a huge influx of inventory, more homes for sale. Percentage-wise, there has been huge growth, or there'd have to be a huge lessening of demand. Interest rates have moved up just very little over the last two months, and that will move affordability to make things less affordable. And we think that will affect demand a little bit, but not a real lot, because there's still a lot of pent-up demand for a nice house, a decent place to live,” he said. “We are four generations into the business, and while I guess I didn't wake up at age six or seven and say, ‘gee, I want to be in real estate,’ it's always been, obviously, part of our family culture.”

Batavia’s market includes many older homes, as compared to brand new projects, which make for a great product in the eyes of younger homebuyers, he said.

"It's all of Upstate that has had, really, a shortage of brand new housing for a long time. So the existing housing — you say older homes — really remain in high demand,” he said. “Young people, in particular, will see that as an opportunity to get a very nice home for still a very reasonable price compared to other parts of the country, and also the opportunity to improve that house and make it more valuable.”

The timeline is to get moved in and settled at 97 Main St. in the next few months, before focusing on apartment renovations, he said. He expects work to begin on the two apartments at the end of this year or early in 2023. The former Genesee Bank building also housed Thomas & Dwyer shoe store in downtown retail's heydays, and more recently House of K, Foxprowl Collectables, and other varied businesses.

Top and bottom photo by Howard Owens.

Top Photo from front left, Carol Hunt, Branch Manager Michelle Schlossel, Annette Rotondo, Gavin Townsend, Carson Marzolf, and back row left, Stephanie D'Alba, Bob Kwandrans, Marie Scofield, and Office Administrator Lauren Becht. 

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The property at the corner of Main and Jackson streets, Batavia.

 
January 24, 2022 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia, business, news, notify.

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It's been a week and Mark Fanara, owner of High Voltage Tattoo at 110 W. Main St., Batavia, is feeling increasingly frustrated that nobody can park in front of his business because of the massive pile of snow in the very limited space available for parking at his location.

He said he's called the city's maintenance department twice and that his landlord called as well and was told the snow would be removed today.  

Snow removal in front of city businesses is a perennial complaint of local shop owners, especially downtown where businesses often rely on the ability of customers to park along Main and walk into stores.

Dave Howe, Charles Men's Shop, said it is frustrating to have snow piled up or piling up, because it does hurt business, especially when the snowstorm comes on a holiday, as it did a week ago on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

"It's important for retail because bank clerks and school teachers and city workers all have the day off and it can be really busy for us," Howe said. "It's unfortunate because here we are generating tax money for the county, the state, and the city.  But I get it. It's money. It'd budget. It's overtime."

The Batavian spoke with City Manager Racheal Tabelski about the situation at High Voltage Tattoo before checking on the snowbanks downtown.  As for High Voltage, she said, "It's on DPW's list and they will get to it as soon as they can."

She has yet to respond to a text message about the snowbanks along Main Street in the downtown area.

UPDATE 11:15 p.m.: Tabelski said tonight that, yes, snow removal on Main Street in downtown continues to be an issue with every big snow event. "I absolutely sympathize with businesses trying to survive with customer access in the snow.  As you are aware, the crews have been doing the best they can. If it would stop dumping 4-5 inches on us each night, crews could get back to removal and these areas cleaned up sooner. I am hopeful they will get to public parking lanes quickly."

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The snowbanks have been cleared from in front of City Hall.

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Bubba's Landscaping cleared the snow from in front of the YNGodess Shop. Owner Chris Crocker said it took the crew about an hour using a snowblower and shovels.

Crocker said she understands the storm came on a federal holiday, and the city may even be short staff, "but then get on WBTA or The Batavian and explain it," Crocker said. "Tell the community what is going on and the community will come together."

She said her biggest concern is the safety of citizens who are forced to walk in the street to get to not just her business but Alberty's and the bank.  Some of those people are elderly, she noted.

"I don't want anybody to get hurt," she said.

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The snowbank in front of the Masonic Temple building, the location of several businesses, including Charles Men's Shop.

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 21, 2021 - 4:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, news, downtown.

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The former Santy's Tires building on Ellicott Street, which along with the former Soccio & Della Penna building, is part of a redevelopment effort downtown known as Ellicott Station, is nearly gone as construction on the $22 million project continues.

The brownfield redevelopment site has been vacant for many years and has been a challenge to redevelop because of environmental contamination.  Grants and tax abatements, about 15 percent of the project's funding, help offset the cost of environmental clean-up.

Savarino Companies of Buffalo is the project developer. It will include 55 apartments, office space, and a restaurant.

December 8, 2021 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, business, video, My Cut Barbershop.
Video Sponsor

Earlier this year, Zach Watts opened his own barbershop, My Cut, at 202 E Main St, Batavia, and this past week, The Batavian interviewed him at his shop.

December 7, 2021 - 4:39pm
posted by Press Release in Main St. 56 Theater, batavia, news, downtown, Christmas.

Press release:

We're busy gearing up for our 2nd weekend of Our Hometown Christmas at Main St. 56 Theater in Batavia City Centre both Friday, December 10 from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, December 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.! We'll have even MORE great crafters and vendors for your last-minute Christmas shopping: Crafts by Kellie, Tastefully Simple by Rebecca, Whimsy Christine Marie, Crazy Quilts, Chantel's Fun, and Fashionable $5 Jewelry, Build A Buddy, Wells Creations, EverPresent Church Raffle, Autumn's Dream, Cindy's Treasures, Carol's Custom Wreaths, Morning Mist Farms, Color Street by Sarah Wessel, Past, Present & Future Treasures, Laurie Chamberlain, Marlana's Chunky Corner, Serena's Crafts and From the Heart Crafts and Gift Shop, just to name a few!!! Santa will be here for more visits and photos from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec 10, and Mrs. Claus will visit with us Saturday morning for Storytime from 10 a.m. to12:30 p.m.! Lots of great local entertainment both days as well. See you there!

December 1, 2021 - 5:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, Christmas, batavia, news.

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

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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.

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

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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

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September 25, 2021 - 2:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia, news, scarecrows.

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The Batavia Improvement District's annual scarecrows contest is underway with numerous entries lining Main Street in Downtown Batavia.

Each scarecrow is designed and sponsored by a business, organization, or person.

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

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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.

August 11, 2021 - 11:59am
posted by Press Release in batavia, news, downtown, notify, Bank Street.

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Press release:

The City of Batavia has been awarded a Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) 2021 State Economic & Infrastructure Development (SEID) grant.  

The City’s Bank Street water project was awarded $334,000. The NBRC received 156 applications this year for the SEID grant cycle, requesting more than $81M in funding.  This was a 16% increase in requests over 2020. Across the four states, 44 applications from this very competitive field were selected including the City of Batavia.

“The much-needed upgrades to infrastructure will support both public and private development along Bank Street including the progress being made at the City Centre Campus redevelopment and Healthy Living Campus. The new 8” water main will also allow for an additional number of residential and commercial units to be developed in the corridor as planned in the downtown revitalization strategy,” said Eugene Jankowski, Jr. City Council President.

The current Bank street waterline will be updated to an 8” line.  Over 950 linear feet of 8-inch diameter water main will be installed and replace the current 4” and 6” lines that are undersized and aging, 90+-year-old water lines.  The estimated cost of the project is $410,000 and the City will provide a local match to the grant of 20% ($82,000).  

The waterline project is needed to improve water pressure and fire suppression capabilities on Bank Street, as well as enable future development on the City Centre Campus, and the Alva Place parking lot for the Police Station,” said Rachael J. Tabelski, City Manager.  

This project aligns with the strategies laid out by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Investment Plan and New York State Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) as well as being in a federally designated Opportunity Zone. It is also part of a larger corridor plan in which the City is seeking Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant funds, as well for roadwork and streetscape on Bank Street.  

Currently, there is over $50M in public/private development in downtown Batavia, at various stages of planning, permitting, and construction.  This will be a welcomed investment that helps City as a whole, as well as the local business community, community institutions, and quality of life. 

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January 3, 2021 - 1:59pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in nostalgia, batavia, news, history, urban renewal, downtown, main street.

I always have been a follower of Hallmark movies due to their storyline's simplicity and happy endings. What I think that most intrigued me was when the main characters always seemed to go home to save a part of their town, from historic buildings to Main streets.

These stories always take me back to our Downtown. I've written many articles about urban renewal, its history, why it happened, and how it happened.

But it never illustrates the sadness we endured or the memories we cherish.

Watching a Hallmark movie with its predictable ending always makes me think about going home or being home in Batavia.

Many of these movies take me back to the '60s and the daily ritual of walking home from Notre Dame High School. As my best friend and I would cross Union Street to Main Street, our first stop would always be the Red Barn for a little snack. The next stop would be Oliver's for Molly Pops.

It was a simple time, but the memories of walking down Main Street are as vivid today as they were in the '60s.

The big red brick square building on the corner of Court Street and Main Street always intrigued me.

I knew it must have been a hotel, and standing on our tiptoes, looking at the dusty lobby always made me curious about that building.

Many years later, as I was researching the hotel, I returned to that window scene imprinted in my mind, imagining people dancing and eating in that beautiful Richmond Hotel, named after the famous Dean Richmond family.

I think some of my favorite memories were shopping. I love the clothes of the '60s. Favorite places to shop were Alexander’s Clothing Store and C.L. Carr's department store. It was always so much fun to go into the stores and look at the newest styles.

Being a Notre Dame student, we had to wear the ugliest uniforms.

What were they thinking by having the girls wear a bolero? So, the idea of getting new clothes was a big deal.

 Alexander's on the north side of Main Street had a section in the store called The Barn. It was like walking into a teenager’s fashion dream, showcasing all the newest styles.

When I was a freshman, there was a dance called the Christmas Dance, and I remember buying my dress from The Barn.

It was pink, and since this was my first dance (I was 14), and my dad being a dad, he made me add a big black velvet bow to the neckline of the dress. I always thought that was funny since I weighed about 93 pounds.

I also remember in my senior year buying my formal for our senior prom at Alexander's.

I can't forget my other favorite store on the south side of Main Street, C. L. Carr. It was like entering into many little departments that, together, created a building where you could buy almost anything.

I loved their clothes. Somehow, there was a deal with my parents, or I should say with my mom, that I could take home clothes on approval.

That was always exciting because I could pick out my favorite clothes and take them home and show my mom, and hopefully, I could keep one or two of them.

My mother would say, "Don't show your father today; wait a few days, and the day your father asks 'When did you get that new outfit?' you can say, 'Oh, I’ve had it awhile, Dad.' ”

Since we had to wear such attractive uniforms one year, the store sold mohair sweaters that we could thankfully wear over our school uniform. I didn't care that I was allergic to wool. I would wear that sweater, so did my best friend, Cathy. I think she might've had a blue sweater and I had a pink one. I loved that sweater.

I have so many memories of that fantastic store in which you could buy a particular card, vacuum cleaner, a rug, sewing supplies, pots and pans, and have gifts wrapped all year long.

I can remember buying my wedding gown in 1974 with my mom, another memory I will cherish.

It was the way the sales clerk treated you with such kindness and respect that left such a remarkable impression. I picked out our everyday dishes and "good china” at Carr’s.

They also had a travel agency kiosk called Travelore on their first floor where we bought our honeymoon tickets. You really could find everything in that store. 

Years later, I had my first child and couldn't wait to buy baby clothes.

I also would buy gifts for other friends and relatives, and somehow the sales clerks at the store knew if that new baby had already received the gift I had picked out.

When our daughter was in high school, she was one of the Christmas wrappers in the store's basement.  

With their fake snow and predictable storylines, Hallmark movies take me back to my hometown to remember what it was like before it was taken away.

The one thing the wrecking ball couldn't take away are the treasured memories of my hometown Main Street.

PHOTOS:

1) (Top) Demolition of Downtown Batavia in the name of urban renewal, courtesy of Genesee County History Department;

2) Red brick building -- Hotel Richmond, courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum;

3) Hotel Richmond lobby, coustesy of the Genesee County History Department;

4) Notre Dame High School class photo of girls wearing boleros, from a ND yearbook;

5) Anne Marie Peca in her Senior Prom formal from Alexander's clothing store, courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz;

6) Anne Marie Peca wedding photo, courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz;

7) C. L. Carr store drawing, Pat Burr;

​8) (Bottom) Main Street Downtown Batavia, courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum.

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