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August 17, 2022 - 4:25pm
posted by Press Release in farmers market, Office for the Aging, news.

Press release:

It’s Not Too Late! Genesee County Office for the Aging ordered more Farmers Market Coupons. They are available at: 2 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm

Anyone 60 or older in your household can have a coupon booklet. You must still be income eligible.

For any questions, please call (585) 343-1611

** 2022 Income Guidelines **
Household of 1 = $ 2096/mo.
Household of 2 = $ 2823/mo.
Household of 3 = $ 3551/mo.

July 26, 2022 - 9:39pm
posted by Press Release in farmers market, Office for the Aging, news.

Press release:

Office for the Aging has received the rest of the Farmers Market Coupons. 

The delay was caused by something beyond our control, and we thank everyone for being patient and understanding.

Starting today, Tuesday, the booklets will be available at our location, 2 Bank Street, Batavia from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Our staff will also be at The Goose in Oakfield, Wednesday, July 27 from 9 to 10 a.m., 400 Towers, Thursday, July 28 from 9 to 11 a.m., Washington Towers, Thursday, July 28 from 2 to 4 p.m., the Genesee Country Farmers Market on Friday, July 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the Le Roy Farmers Market on Saturday, July 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 pm.   

As a reminder, income-eligible seniors are allowed only one booklet per season.  The 2022 Income Guidelines:  Household of 1 -- $2,096/month, Household of 2 -- $2,823/month, Household of 3 -- $3,551/month.

July 22, 2022 - 1:15pm
posted by Press Release in Office for the Aging, farmers market, news.

Press release:

There will be another brief delay with Farmers’ Market Coupon distribution, due to printing and shipping issues.  We will post updates on our website, https://www.co.genesee.ny.us.  Click on “departments” and select Office for the Aging.  Please look on our Facebook page as well.  We apologize for any inconvenience. https://www.facebook.com/GCOfficeFortheAging.

June 30, 2022 - 2:24pm
posted by Press Release in farmers market, Office for the Aging, news.

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging does not yet have the Farmers Market Coupons, due to a delay with the shipment.

At this time we will not be able to distribute coupons until after July 5.  We will post updates as we get them.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

June 28, 2022 - 10:18am
posted by Press Release in Office for the Aging, farmers market, news.

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging will be handing out Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons throughout the county, beginning July 1, 2022. 

The first location will be the Genesee Country Farmers Market, Alva Place, Batavia, every Friday in July from 10 a.m. to noon.

Next at the LeRoy Farmers Market, Trigon Park, LeRoy, Saturday, July 2, 23, and 30 during market hours.

We will also be handing them out at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, 2 Bank St., Batavia, every Tuesday in July from 10 a.m. to noon at our outside patio and in our Community Room if it is raining.

If you live in senior housing, a flyer will be posted in your building announcing when our staff will be there with coupons.

March 14, 2022 - 9:01pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city council, farmers market.

zinni_farmers_market_1.jpgJust in case the Batavia City Council was having second thoughts about supporting the Genesee Country Farmers Market, the president of the organization and one of the downtown market’s best customers touted its benefits at tonight’s Business Meeting.

Jan Goodenbury of Oakfield, in her second term as the GCFM president, encouraged council members to “support the market and make a timely decision to approve our application” at the board’s next meeting on March 28.

A former Batavian, Goodenbury emphasized the market’s value to the community, with locally-grown produce fresher than what is available in supermarkets and by keeping money in the GLOW region, which helps the local economy.

A flower, vegetable and chicken farmer, herself, she said the current location at the former JC Penney parking lot is ideal for customers, many who have to walk or ride their bicycle.

“With the Healthy Living (campus coming), it ties all in,” she said.

Goodenbury said the sooner the application to operate is approved, the better, because “vendor applications need to go out and go before the GCFM board for review.”

Pending City Council backing, the market will run three days a week for the seventh consecutive year on city-owned property in downtown Batavia. In 2021, it was open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 4 through Oct. 29.

City resident Christine Zinni followed Goodenbury to the podium, stating that the market is important “because I've been the recipient of some of the wonderful food that is offered at this market, and I teach food and culture classes at the State University of New York at Brockport.”

“So, I talk to a lot of young people about what that means and about healthful produce – to be out in the open air and be able to connect with others on a face-to-face basis,” she said. “And it’s helped me to have that resource so close; to be able to walk or bike and get the healthy benefits of fresh food.”

Drawing a chuckle, she said, “What I usually say to my students, well look what’s happened (to me) -- I’m 110 years old.”

Zinni proposed that the Batavia market take a page from what is happening at similar venues in Clarence, Le Roy and Rochester by adding music, for example.

“I don’t know what’s currently on the table – (but) more of an investment in the farmer’s market. It would definitely help the image – Batavia’s image; the kind of image that I think would be beneficial to the city,” she said.

Her suggestions prompted Council member John Canale to urge GCFM officials to partner with the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council to line up artists in various genres.

“Artists, music artists, fine artists – incorporate some of that (into the market), Canale said, noting that GO Art! is right across the street (at the corner of Bank and Main).

Canale also put in a plug for his favorite pastry.

“If you offer donuts from Sweet Ally’s donut shop in Oakfield, which are phenomenal, I will be there every week,” he said. “This is coming from a guy who knows donuts.”

Council member Patti Pacino assured Goodenbury and Zinni that the market is “well appreciated.” Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. agreed.

“We understand. It brings a lot of people downtown,” he said. “But we have an aging (police) building that we have to replace (a reference to the new station that will be going up on the GCFM’s former location on the other side of Alva Place). I don’t see any problem. We usually welcome the application.”

Photo: Christine Zinni speaks to City Council about the benefits of the Genesee Country Farmers Market. Jan Goodenbury is in the background. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

August 4, 2021 - 8:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, news, farmers market.


The Corfu Farmer's Market is every Monday in the village from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There will be no market on Labor Day but otherwise, farmers and vendors will gather each week until Oct. 4.

Dadio's offers free music (no cover charge) on its back patio at 6 p.m.




June 16, 2021 - 1:20pm
posted by Lisa Ace in corfu, farmers market.
Event Date and Time: 
July 5, 2021 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Join us every Monday from 4pm-7pm at the Corfu Farmer's Market! Located in the Corfu Presbyterian Church parking lot at 63 Alleghany Road (Rt. 77) in Corfu, the Market features fresh produce, packaged food, crafts, food trucks and live music! Check us out at https://www.instagram.com/corfufarmersmarket/

June 7, 2021 - 8:51am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, farmers market, city of batavia.

A favorite in the quest for a permanent site for the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market has emerged, according to the treasurer of Downtown Batavia’s three-days-a-week venture.

Sharon Brent on Sunday said that market officials have been working with City Manager Rachael Tabelski to find a fixed location after having to move to the other side Alva Place to the former JC Penney parking lot this year.

“It looks as though the Angotti Beverage parking lot (south of School Street) is a possibility,” Brent said. “We’ve discussed other sites but for one reason or another, they’re not big enough or just won’t work.”

Brent said Austin Park also was considered but the parking lot isn’t suitable.

The market opened for the season last Friday and will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through Oct. 29.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The market offers fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and crafts, as well as beer and wine tastings, and food vending trucks.

Brent said 30 vendors are participating on Friday and that she is no longer taking applications for that day.

“We’re sold out on Friday,” she said. “Space is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Currently, three vendors are signed up for Tuesday, eight from 9-4 p.m. on Thursday, and 11 from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, she said.

Food trucks will be on site from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. on all three days, and picnic tables are available.


congoli_2.jpg“Eat fresh, buy local.”

That’s the mantra of Kathryn Cringoli, (photo at right), a resident of Batavia for the past 18 months, who was hired last month as the market’s new manager.

The Hilton native said she is eager to promote and expand the market to attract as many vendors and customers as possible, noting her passion for all things agriculture and fresh, locally grown products.

Cringoli has extensive education and experience in agriculture as she has a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Sociology from San Diego State University and has worked as a caterer, bed & breakfast operator and at a hydroponic greenhouse in Hilton.

She also worked many years for the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field, and currently works part time at Tops Friendly Market in Batavia.

Cringoli said she moved to Batavia because her boyfriend is a student at the University of Buffalo Law School.

She said that 2020 was a very tough year for everyone, especially for farmers.

“A lot of them couldn’t unload their produce to the wholesalers or to the restaurants … so a lot of produce went to waste,” she said.

Cringoli said she hopes to get 4-H members and culinary students at Genesee Valley BOCES to participate at the market this summer, and emphasized that people getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits are eligible to buy fruits and vegetables there.

“I'm delighted for this new opportunity,” she said. “Eat fresh, buy local is what I am striving to instill into this community.”

March 22, 2021 - 8:45pm

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.

March 19, 2021 - 1:07pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city council, farmers market.

The Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, pending approval from the Batavia City Council, is moving across Alva Place this year.

The event summary for this Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting includes an application submitted by Sharon Brant, farmer’s market treasurer, to conduct business beginning June 4 and running through Oct. 29.

The proposed location is in the former JC Penney parking lot across the street, just south of where the market has operated for the past five years.

Brant said tents and tables will be set up “more towards the corner that goes up to the Bank of America drive-through from what I understand from the pictures (renderings).”

She said this year’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The market offers fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and crafts, as well as beer and wine tastings, and a food vending truck.

Brant said she is working with potential vendors and plans to issue a press release once all of those applications have been received and approved.

Asked about a location beyond this year -- due to the city looking to build a new police station at the previous Alva/Bank site, Brant said she been communicating with City Manager Rachael Tabelski on a monthly basis.

“There’s nothing definite yet, but we are talking,” she said.

In other developments:

  • The Batavia Concert Band has applied to the city for permission to offer seven performances at Centennial Park.

The first one is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 19. The others will take place at 7 p.m. on consecutive Wednesdays, starting June 30.

  • Tabelski will be asking Council to create a temporary position of superintendent of water & wastewater in light of current Superintendent Bill Davis’ wish to retire within the next eight to 12 months.

“The goal in creating the temporary position is to ensure that the knowledge, skills and abilities of the current superintendent … are transferred to a successor,” Tabelski wrote in a memo dated March 16.

She also indicated the job is a Civil Service competitive position, and requires someone with specialized training and experience in water plant operations, wastewater and water treatment distribution systems.

Per the memo, the temporary job’s $76,000 non-union salary to be split equally between the water and wastewater funds. When Davis does retire, the temporary appointment would move into the permanent position.


Monday’s meeting in the Council Board Room on the second floor of the Batavia City Centre is scheduled for 7 p.m. It is open to the public with appropriate facemasks, social distancing and temperature screening upon arrival.

It will be streamed live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bataviany/ and also can be viewed on Spectrum Channel 1301 at 9 a.m. March 24 and 8 p.m. March 26.

March 17, 2021 - 2:28pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in farmers market, news.

LE ROY – The Le Roy Farmers’ Market has been special to Scott and Mary Margaret Ripley for more than a decade.

But now, due to circumstances beyond their control, the market may be shut down, unless others step up to help the Ripleys run it.

The Le Roy Market was started 15 years ago by a handful of friends who belonged to a book club. After reading a book titled "Vegetable, Animal, Miracle" by Sandy Kingsolver, the friends Sandy Brady, Pat Fussell, Lynn Soloman, Linda Ruck and Donna Call decided to start a farmers’ market.

The market had a board of directors and was subsequently run by a second and third generation of individuals, until the third generation couldn’t do it anymore and was forced to give it up. 

Then the board was disbanded and all the members left, Mary Margaret said. 

“There was just me and Scott left,” she said. “We took over for the vendors and we’ve run it for five seasons. We knew they needed it and the community wanted it.”

The Ripleys had attended the market for eight years as a vendor with goods from their bakery.

Heart Attack Changes Everything

Then, a week ago, Scott had a serious heart attack. Fortunately, he is recovering and was released from the hospital on Friday, but Mary Margaret fears running the market will now be too much stress for both of them, and she is seeking help.

In addition to running the market, Scott is announcer for Le Roy Little League and is involved as a board member for the Le Roy Historical Society. Mary Margaret said it was undoubtedly stress, which caused his heart attack, and he has to slow down.

The Ripleys would like to re-establish a board in an effort to assure the market keeps going.

“We are asking people to volunteer to become members of the market’s new board,” Mary Margaret said. 

They feel one person is needed to handle each of these different tasks:

  • Posting / updating social media;
  • Serving as liaison to the village and work with vendor development;
  • Booking weekly entertainment;
  • Booking the community booth weekly;
  • Handling New York State Nutrition requirements;
  • Organizing weekly volunteers.

Market -- 'One of the Most Successful in the Area'

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the market had weekly entertainment. Mary Margaret said the Le Roy Market is one of the most successful in the area.

“People come from all over to our market,” she said. “Last year we had people from the cities who came here because our market was smaller and they were looking for a smaller crowd during the pandemic. Vendors also tell us they do better at our market than in others in the county.”

Mary Margaret said in addition to being of value to the vendors, the Le Roy Farmer’s Market attracts up to 400 people weekly. 

“It’s wonderful to see the community members come out,” Mary Margaret said. “These vendors are our friends and we want to see them be successful. We love the market, we love the vendors and we love our community.

"But we cannot continue to give up 15 weeks of our lives each summer without help. As we have experienced this week, life is very precious.”

The Le Roy Farmers' Market meets at Trigon Park from June 17 to Oct. 2 and is open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday. 

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with the market can email the Ripleys at:  [email protected], or text or call Mary Margaret at (585) 297-2441.

Photo from the Le Roy Farmers' Market Facebook page.

February 8, 2021 - 11:32pm

Between the interim city manager’s report and public comments, the Batavia City Council tonight heard about and touched upon several topics beyond the nuts and bolts of scheduling public hearings for the 2021-22 budget, water rates and amendments to the Downtown Business Improvement District Plan.

The Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, which lasted only 25 minutes by the way, included:

  • Discussion of the City of Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group, which is wrapping up its tasks as required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 on community policing reform;
  • Staffing of the Department of Public Works, and the police and fire departments in light of the city’s fiscal constraints;
  • Budgeted funds for improvements at Falleti Ice Arena, which are sorely needed, according to a longtime “hockey mom”;
  • And, barely, an update on the search for a permanent city manager, a process that was prompted by the departure of Martin Moore almost eight months ago.

Furthermore, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski’s report provided some insight on the police station feasibility study (and its effect on the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market), Community Garden on MacArthur Drive, Jackson Square improvement project, and the City Centre feasibility study.

City resident John Roach, a frequent contributor to Council meetings, posed questions regarding the future of the police stakeholder group, city manager search and essential services’ staffing.

Police Advisory Stakeholders Group

On the police advisory group, Roach applauded the city’s intention to continue meeting after the final report is submitted to New York State by April 1, but wanted assurances that any committees would include only city residents.

“I don’t want anyone else outside the city telling us how to run our local police department,” he said.

Tabelski’s response indicated that a “subcommittee” or “focus group” has planned to meet on its own with Chief Shawn Heubusch and the Batavia City School District as needed, so she didn’t think the recommendation would be “to keep that as a standing committee on behalf of the city.”

She and Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. agreed that a concerted effort would be made to make sure city residents only would participate on any ongoing “community engagement committee.”

Professional Search for a Manager

Roach then asked about the status of the manager search, noting the amount of time that has elapsed.

His specific questions: “Have we got any updates on the search headhunter group? Did they find any candidates yet? And while the search is supposed to be free, there are always costs. Have we incurred any costs yet related to the search for the city manager?”

Council Member John Canale, part of the search/screening committee, offered very little in return, continuing an exercise that has been kept away from the public eye. Previously, The Batavian reached out to Canale for a few more details about the search but he did not respond to a telephone call or email.

“In regards to the manager’s search, I will not comment on specifics, but just to let you know that we are engaged with the recruitment company (The Novak Consulting Group of Cincinnati, Ohio) and we’re moving forward with our national search and we’re in that process right now,” Canale said in response to Roach. “There will be more to come.”

The search/screening committee advertised in national publications prior to a Dec. 30 deadline – about six weeks ago -- for candidates to submit their resumes.

Moore and the city mutually agreed to part ways on June 20. At that point, Tabelski, who was the assistant city manager, moved into the top spot until a permanent manager was found. She has since revealed that she has applied for the job.

Moore’s leaving prior to serving two full years also triggered a provision in its contract with Novak to obtain a “free search” for his replacement. Nonetheless, the city is anticipating some expense, including the cost of placing job vacancy notices.

Public Works, Police, Fire Staffing

On DPW, police and fire staffing, Roach said he wanted to know the number of employees and vacancies in each department, and asked, “If there are future vacancies, do you intend to fill them or just keep letting the numbers drop because of the budget?”

Tabelski replied that there are four vacancies in the fire department, with one to be filled and three to remain vacant “to achieve our budget number.”

She said the police department is down two employees.

“Contractually one of the vacancies will stay frozen for three years through a retirement incentive and the other, if and when there is funding to fill that, we’ll look forward to doing so,” she said.

DPW Superintendent Ray Tourt said there are 16 employees in his department – down one position (which is frozen this year) at the Bureau of Maintenance. He added that DPW has 14 primary pieces of equipment with one in the process of being repaired.

“One is kind of part-time,” he said. “That’s the old girl that broke down this weekend, but we’re putting her back together for the next one.”

Funding Improvements at the Ice Rink

Council heard from two city residents who wrote letters of support in favor of implementing budgeted capital improvement funds for upgrades at the Falleti Ice Arena on Evans Street.

One was from Mary Ellen Reardon, a “hockey mom” who noted that she has seen no improvements in many years and called the facility “the most poorly maintained rink in the Western New York region.”

She wrote that she has worked at the rink, her husband played in the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association as a youth and then in the Batavia Men’s Hockey League, and their three sons currently play hockey at various levels.

Other topics covered during Monday night's meeting:

  • Police station feasibility study -- Tabelski said Heubusch has provided much information and is prepared to work on preliminary items that “may require us to be on that site (Alva Place parking lot) over the summertime, leading into the meetings that I’ve had with the Public (Farmers’) Market Treasurer Sharon Brant.”

The Farmers’ Market has operated at the Alva Place parking lot for the past five years.

Tabelski said she hopes the market will be able to find a site downtown this summer and a long-term location downtown as well, but they need to identify the appropriate place.

“At the end of the day, it is their choice where they operate,” she said. “If there are only one or two city locations and they are not – they don’t see those as valuable – they may not be in the downtown, but I hope that we can find a way to make it work.”

  • Community garden on MacArthur Drive -- She said the project is going forward this year, adding that Tourt and the DPW are coordinating communications with the garden board.
  • Jackson Square DRI project -- Tabelski said a public engagement meeting for the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative project at Jackson Square, located between Jackson and Center streets, is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 18 via Zoom videoconferencing.

“It’s an opportunity for citizens to hear about the project and help shape what that project would look like. It’s probably one of the best community spaces we have and we want to use it more often with more events,” she said.

In December, Council voted in favor of a $114,720 contract with Architectural Resources of Buffalo for engineering services to renovate and enhance the Jackson Square entertainment venue.

  • City Centre feasibility study -- “The City Centre feasibility study is being finalized and will be posted on the city website very soon, and we will be submitting for reimbursement for that grant,” Tabelski advised. “That will help inform us on how to move forward with the City Centre DRI $1 million project.”


As expected, Council scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 22 on the budget, a $16.79 million general fund budget spending plan that currently calls for a 1.38-percent increase in the property tax rate. The annual property tax increase on a home assessed at $100,000 will be about $13.

Public hearings to establish new water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees, and to amend the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District Plan also were scheduled for Feb. 22 at the same time.

A public hearing about the Community Development Block Grant, a program of the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal, took place tonight, but no one from the public or Council commented. The city seeks to obtain a CDBG grant to fund infrastructure projects.

November 10, 2020 - 8:42am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city council, JC Penney, farmers market.

Batavia City Council members vigorously defended themselves Monday night after a city resident called them out for not communicating effectively with their constituents.

Sammy DiSalvo, speaking during the public comments portion of the Business Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, said he was there to “talk about a larger issue that seems to be facing Council and city government as a whole – the lack of communication from city officials and from Council.”

“Elected officials are meant to represent and listen to citizens, not to ignore what citizens say," DiSalvo said. "Elected officials are meant to represent and listen to citizens, not to pursue personal interests. Elected officials are meant to represent and listen to citizens. This lack of communication from our City government is not acceptable.”

DiSalvo ran against incumbent Council Member Jeremy Karas last week for the unexpired term for Councilman-at-Large, but is trailing by 636 votes pending the counting of absentee ballots.

He gave examples of what he called Council’s “persistent refusal to listen to and communicate with residents” and said it was a “disgrace” that no Council member responded to a woman’s concerns when she spoke a couple weeks ago.

DiSalvo mentioned the problems with the deer committee over the summer and with the City Youth Board.

“These are two committees that Council has put together – both committees that Council decided not to inform of things happening until after decisions were made,” he said. “What’s the point of having a committee if you’re going to make decisions without them?”

He also criticized city leaders for their role in turning the farmers’ market situation “into a media and Facebook fight.”

“There’s also a lack of listening to the community over the construction of where the (new) police station should be and there is a lack of listening to the community over what to do with the mall when the entire community says, ‘Get that thing out of the city’s hands and stop investing money in it,’ and you all want to double-down on it,” he said. “People did not want that mall when it replaced beautiful Main Street back in the late '60s  and early '70s and they don’t want it in 2020.”

DiSalvo said residents have complained to him that no Council members have social media to share their real-time thoughts on Batavia.

“To which I have no response, other than it is much easier to be a mouse and hide than it is to speak out and risk being burned,” he said, before crediting the city for increasing its frequency of posts on its social media site.

Council members, in their responses, rejected DiSalvo’s scathing assessment.

-- John Canale: “I take offense to that Mr. DiSalvo. I listen to my city residents. I listen to the ones who contact me. I don’t go by what I’m reading on social media because I don’t believe most of what I read on social media. My constituents call me, as I am sure they do my colleagues, when they have concerns – or they send me an email or they show up at my front door, my front steps, and believe me that has happened quite often. So, the people that call me, I respond to. If I get an email, I immediately forward it to her to look into it for me and as soon as she gets an answer, she responds back to me and I forward that to my constituent.”

On the police station issue, Canale said Council took the task force’s recommendations and tried to purchase its first choice, but when that fell through, went with another one of its suggested sites (Alva Place parking lot). As far as responding to public speakers, he said he will respond if he has an adequate answer and, if not, will look into the matter further.

-- Paul Viele: “I have to agree with John, With the farmers’ market, we own the property. Why would we buy another piece of land and put the police station on there? That’s common sense. I coach hockey and I coach baseball, I’m all for the youth. When John said we’re not going to cut the youth (programs), we would never do that. And I also take offense to being called a mouse because I’m not on social media. Mr. DiSalvo, you have not a clue of what we do in here. What you do and what you see, when you sit back there, so I take offense to that.”

-- Kathleen Briggs: “I really take offense that I don’t listen to my constituents. I have a lot of problems in my (Fifth) Ward, and I’m telling you that my constituents, they know. They call me Monday through Sunday, anytime, I’ve gotten calls at 8 in the morning, and if I’m not home, I have a machine and they leave a message on my machine and I get back to them immediately and I listen to their concerns, I go to the proper department and I get back to them as soon as I can. I really take offense to the fact that we have someone saying that I don’t listen to my constituents. That’s appalling to me.”

-- Robert Bialkowski: “As far as not responding, I spent three hours on the phone yesterday discussing issues with various people … and today I spent two hours on the phone. Topics of conversation were about the youth bureau. The way it works, citizens are on top of the pyramid. Period. End of story. The individual citizens here, they call the shots. … We’re policy makers. We don’t run the city day-to-day. When it comes to the youth bureau, that’s policy … that’s up to us. And if we make the wrong decisions, then I guess some of us won’t be here in the future.”

He did acknowledge DiSalvo’s concerns about the deer committee, saying it “turned out to be a nightmare for everybody involved, and I apologize for that. It shouldn’t have happened.”

“My bigger concern is that when we use committees and we use boards, let’s treat them fairly and include them into the decision-making process. I don’t like making a decision and then telling the board about it after the fact. My concern is why would anybody even want to serve on boards?”

-- Al McGinnis: “I spent two hours over tea at my house with (Genesee Country Farmers’ Market Manager) Betty Carr talking about the farmers’ market, and Alva Place and the police (station). What a lot of people don’t realize or refuse to realize is that every single member of this Council spends an inordinate amount of time with their constituents in private – either a personal visit or a phone call. We don’t have to speak up in public; a lot of people would like to talk to you privately … which we do on our own time as part of the job.”

-- Patti Pacino: “Here’s what you need to know – I’m not offended in the least. You have the right to say what you have to say, so there you are. I learned from a great person, Mary Pat Hancock, who taught me to let it roll off your back, live with it, not everybody is going to agree. I want everybody to know that I also listen to everybody on Jackson Square, youth bureau, farmers’ market and all that, she said, adding that she is against the city youth programs being run by the YMCA.”

Another public speaker, city resident John Roach, sided with Council members in that they do listen.

“We just had an election and had two different points of view and the other point of view won (Jeremy Karas) by 600-something votes pending the recount of the absentee ballots,” Roach said.

Then he proceeded to give his thoughts on the farmers’ market and the location of a new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department.

“They’re over there at Alva Place by the good graces of City Council. You allow them to be there. They don’t pay user fees, they don’t pay property taxes or anything else,” he said. “And we’re going to put a police station somewhere and I know that wasn’t the first choice, it wasn’t the second choice, but it is the current choice. We already own the property. Environmental issues are going to be a lot less. There are already utilities there. Let the farmers’ market move.”

Roach said it would be unwise for the police department to move into the former JCPenney store.

“Well, that would mean taking property off the tax rolls and they also pay mall maintenance fees. Let the farmers’ market contact the owners of the Penney’s building. Let them pay rent. Let them move into Penney’s. It’s a huge place. Great place for a farmers’ market,” he said. “Why should the city have to foot the bill to relocate the police station somewhere else and maybe pay another $500,000 to buy another piece of property? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

November 9, 2020 - 5:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, BID, farmers market.


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 8, 2020 - 3:09pm

As a Williamsville architectural firm conducts a feasibility study on the construction of a new Batavia Police Department headquarters on the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street, a representative of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market continues to seek an “open dialogue” with City Council on the future of the seasonal produce business.

In 2020, the privately owned market, which has been at several locations over the past 15 years, conducted business on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 5 through Oct. 30 on the Downtown lot across the street from the City Centre Mall.

The market has been a hot topic of discussion in recent days following Market Manager Elizabeth “Betty” Carr’s public comments at City Council’s Oct. 26 meeting. At the meeting, Carr asked city leaders to reconsider its decision to build a new police station on the Alva Place parking lot.

Since then, although no formal meeting between farmers’ market board members and City Council has taken place, the open dialogue that Carr was hoping for has come in the form of remarks on the website of The Batavian and its Facebook page.

On one side, there is City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. consistently stating the municipality’s position that since the city already owns the Alva Place lot – which was deemed the No. 2 choice by a police facility task force that met in 2015 – erecting a new police facility there would result in a significant cost savings.

The first choice, a parcel on Swan Street, was not a city-owned property. When city leaders inquired about its availability, they were told it was not for sale.

While no official budgetary figures have been released (that will happen at the conclusion of the feasibility study by Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville), previous cost estimates were in the $9 million to $12 million range. City officials are hopeful that the building they are proposing will cost less than that based on similar completed projects in the Town of Clarence and Town of Greece.

Jankowski: City Saves Money as Property Owner

“Here’s the thing about the farmers’ market,” Jankowski said. “We’re saving $500,000 by building the station on our own property. The farmers’ market manager in her emails and in her comments on Facebook, which some of them were out of line, is expecting us to just give them a $500,000 value or more lot in the middle of town. We’ve already been given a walkability study that says we have too many parking lots. Those lots were designed for buildings to be put there.”

Jankowski said Carr is advocating for the city give to the market taxpayer-funded property at no charge.

“And I don’t know who is going to pay for the building they want to put on there. I’m thinking she expects the city to pay for the building as well,” he said. “She wants us to build and give her a piece of property, and then we need to go buy another piece of property, take that off the tax rolls and build our police station on some third, fourth or fifth choice that we can come up with so she can have the farmers’ market there.”

On the other side is Carr, who said she is simply looking for City Council to allow directors of the farmers’ market to present pertinent information about the markets’ customer base and nutritional needs in an era of COVID-19.

“Mr. Jankowski says we are taking a hard line? The only hard line is that this was dictated to us,” she said. “We were never in agreement and we were never asked to have a conversation. We were told from day one that we would have to move.”

Carr said that Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski informed market officials that they could stay in their current location through 2021.

“It always was with the intent that we would have to move, which is why I spoke in front of City Council and asked for open dialogue, so we could talk about this,” Carr said. “And I was shocked at how Mr. Jankowski handled himself the next day. He printed lies. He said that we’re trying to steal property from the city and that we were already in agreement to this move.”

Carr Takes Exception to Facebook Post

She also said that Jankowski insulted (Farmers’ Market Treasurer) Sharon Brent, posting a Facebook comment that read “How can anyone buy from this woman?”

“We have no idea how that has hurt her business, and she has been in her business for 45 years,” Carr said.

A review of the numerous statements on The Batavian’s Facebook page reveals that Jankowski’s actual post was as follows: “The market is now demanding the city turn over that property to them for permanent use for free. It’s very disappointing that the market is trying to steal a piece of property from the taxpayers valued at over $500,000. After this behavior who would want to do business with them at this point?”

Carr admitted that the farmers’ market has no right to dictate city policy, but at least should be respected enough -- considering that it does bring people and revenue to Batavia – to be invited to the table to talk about its fate.

“The city has never had any conversation with us,” she said. “We are a bunch of farmers. I’m new to the market. Who are we to say we want the city to build a building for us? Who is saying that? We are not.”

As far as the feasibility study is concerned, Public Works Director Matt Worth said he has sent utility and survey information, and boundaries and dimensions of the Alva Place lot to the architectural firm, while architects have made some on-site visits and are reviewing operations of the existing police facility – the 165-year-old former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St.

“We’re pretty much on the front end of it. We’re in the information gathering process, I would say at this point,” said Worth, who expects the study to take another six months or so.

Worth: Feasibility Study is Determining Factor

Worth said the feasibility study will determine the configuration of the facility – one- or two-story, shape, provisions for parking, etc. – and is anticipating a price point that fits within the city’s plans to finance it over a 20- to 30-year period.

“We’ll have a really good idea once this is done. The original task force numbers were very conceptual and we didn’t have a lot of confidence that it was going to be that costly,” he said. “And that’s really where we made the connection with Architecture Unlimited. They were involved with a state police/sheriff’s facility that was built in the Town of Clarence, and so we were able to get some numbers that they had for that as well as the new police facility that was built in the Town of Greece.

“Looking at those and how the building could be configured, it became apparent that it seemed like it could be done for quite a bit less than that and make it more affordable.”

Worth said the feasibility study is costing the city $41,200.

Carr, when advised that the feasibility study was underway, said that was “new information” to her and questioned if Batavia residents were on board with such a long-term financial commitment.

“I’m not sure if the citizens want a police station there or if they really want a police station,” she offered. “It could be that citizens want to revisit how they’re tax dollars are to be used … and judging from comments on Facebook and The Batavian comments, about the location of the police department and if it is necessary.”

She then asked how city leaders set their priorities.

“Then I would ask of the city, during this feasibility study, what’s their measurement of success? In other words, who are they serving? Are they going to do something that’s going to ... how do they determine what best serves the citizens? They’ve got the farmers’ market.”

Would Relocation Affect Business?

Carr did agree that the current police headquarters is inadequate, but said that placing a new one would on the Alva Place lot would devastate the farmers’ market.

“If the market moved to Angotti’s (Beverage Corp.) parking lot on School Street … well, 73 percent of our customers walk or bike and (right now) no one crosses Main Street or Ellicott Street. You might as well put us on an island, all by ourselves,” she said.

“Seventy-three percent of our customers may not come because they’d have to cross those busy streets. Senior citizens with their walkers and motorized scooters – they’re not going to cross those busy streets. And we’d be that much farther removed from other customers we currently serve, such as the employees of the hospital and the YMCA.”

Jankowski said a new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department is long overdue.

“The facility is not proper right now – we know that – and it’s falling apart,” he said. “We need a building on our own property and we need a building where we can save money.”

The retired City of Batavia police officer then pointed out some of the problems with the current police station.

“Who is going to benefit from it? People in the community that are arrested. They’ll have a better facility to be housed in temporarily when they’re interviewed – in a proper area,” Jankowski said. “Evidence will be stored in a proper safe facility and not contaminating people with the fumes coming off it. You’ve got blood evidence, you’ve got drug evidence. That stuff is locked in an old safe now; there’s no ventilation in there. When those guys (police officers) walk in there, they’re taking a breath and inhaling that stuff. It can’t be healthy.”

Current Police Station is Lacking

Jankowski said the city has to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements.

“We’re not making this stuff up,” he said. “When you’re a victim of a crime or domestic abuse, we have a safe place to go and you’re not being yelled at by your abuser because you’re in the same room and there’s a door there and he’s yelling through the window at you.”

The council president said he has received no complaints from the public until “Ms. Carr gets hired by the farmers’ market and now she is demanding that we turn over this lot to them at no charge and create a permanent place for the market.”

“I love the market … but nobody said it was a permanent deal. It was land that was not being used and we said, ‘Sure, you can use it temporarily.’ I do know that when they were moved there, it was not my impression that they were moved there permanently.”

Jankowski said the city would like to help them find another location, preferably close to downtown. He also said the farmers’ market has the option to purchase city-owned property at the fair market rate and erect its own structure, adding that nonprofits such as Genesee/Orleans Council on Substance Abuse and Alcoholism and YMCA invest their own money to construct their own buildings.

He suggested moving it behind the YMCA.

“They’re going to be having a big wellness thing there (Healthy Living campus) and maybe the best place is to move across the street and be right behind the Y,” he said. “We’re trying to help them find a location, but from what I’m told, they want the place they’re at now and nothing we offer is acceptable to them at this point. Personally, the way they’re acting, I have lost interest in the farmers’ market being there even another year.”

Who are the Bullies in This Situation?

While Jankowski contends the farmers’ market is trying to “bully” the city, Carr said it is the other way around.

“We are being bullies by asking for conversation? A bully is someone who dictates terms and that’s what the city is doing to us. We’re in a totally reactive position. We have no clout,” she said.

Carr said she seeks to inform Council members of information that needs to be considered.

“I’m bringing to their attention a New York State Field & Fork survey that shows groundswell that that area is the perfect location for the market – as 73 percent of the customers are able to walk and bike (to get there),” she said. “In addition, in 2018 across the nation was the beginning of a movement (that) everyone wants more local produce from their farmers’ markets. And just recently, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) issued an RFI (request for information) stating that by the year 2050, 40 percent of all locally grown produce must come from locally grown in order to reduce the carbon footprint by 50 percent.”

She also said that people need to be educated on the relationship between COVID-19 and healthy eating.

“How can you make decisions with such game-changing facts in front of you based on data that’s five years out of date?” she asked. “COVID is the game-changer here. It’s a known fact that eating more produce increases your immunity and it’s from only your locally grown produce where you get optimal nutrition. These changes are taking place and they have been going on for quite a while and you’ve missed this data.”

Carr said directors of the farmers’ market plan to meet on Nov. 16 to discuss their options, mentioning that she has reached out to Congressman Chris Jacobs to see if he could assist in helping them to locate some funding independent of the city.

“As far as the farmers’ market and the reception that the farmers’ market received, including Mr. Jankowski slamming our lead farmer, why wouldn’t we just pack up and move to Batavia Downs or get someone to underwrite us and go elsewhere?” she asked. “What’s the point in staying Downtown because the city doesn’t want us there? They’ve been kicking us around, year to year, going on the 12th time in the course of 15 years, without conversation. Does that seem right?”

Previously: Farmers' market treasurer provides information in response to City Council's queries

Previously: Farmers' Market manager asks Council to reconsider placing new police station on Alva Place lot

Previously: Placement of 'nomadic' Genesee Country Farmers' Market is up in the air once more

October 28, 2020 - 8:56am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, farmers market, city of batavia, BID.

While unable to match the specific years with the locations, Genesee Country Farmers’ Market Treasurer Sharon Brent on Tuesday confirmed that the operation featuring the “fruits” of local growers’ and merchants’ labor has been quite nomadic over the past decade and a half.

Brent, asked to comment on Market Manager Elizabeth Carr’s assertion that the market has moved 11 times in 15 years, fired off close to that many sites -- and agreed with Carr, who spoke at Monday night's Batavia City Council meeting, that moving around so much is counterproductive.

“We were out at the (Batavia) Downs and at Kmart for quite a few years. While we have been under the city’s (oversight), we were moved 11 times in 15 years. I have been to every single spot they’ve moved us to,” said Brent, a Middleport resident who owns Schwab Farm Market in Gasport.

The list of farmers’ market locations, according to Brent, include next to the “kiddie stand” at Batavia Downs (for years), the Kmart parking lot, Batavia Downs parking lot, the Alva Place parking lot (previously), the former Super Duper site next to Washington Towers, the parking lot where Wendy’s Restaurant now sits, the Angotti Beverage parking lot and in a lot behind the Genesee County Courts Facility.

“We used to be in this (Alva Place) parking lot when we had an afternoon market that was from noon to 6 p.m.,” she said. “Since then we’ve moved all around the city … and you don’t build a market that way.”

And Brent echoed Carr’s hope that City Council would keep the farmers’ market at its current location: the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street.

“Of all the places we have been in the city, other than where Wendy’s is right now, this is the best spot we’ve been at – as far as customers liking it, parking, traffic, everything,” she said.

Brent said she wasn’t about “to buck” the city but said she’s talked to many residents who “can’t believe they want to put a police station here.”

When asked if the farmers’ market carried any weight into City Council decisions, considering it uses the parking lot at no charge, she said her organization was not given an opportunity for input.

“We were told this is where the police station is going to be,” she said. “Did they ask us if we wanted it to be here? No. I don’t live in the city, but I can see that they want you to play nice.”

She said that city residents should have a say in the matter, something that City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said has happened by virtue of a police facility task force that convened in 2015.

“We set up a police building committee years ago of citizens of the community and we left them alone to make recommendations. They recommended a Swan Street location and the second choice was Alva Place parking lot,” he said. “The first choice fell through as the owners didn’t want to sell it to us, so the second location on that list was Alva Place.”

Jankowski said City Council is following the task force’s recommendations.

“It’s property we already own … and we will need it in another year or so when we start construction on that building,” he added. “City Council makes the executive decisions and run the City of Batavia through the city manager. If they have a problem, contact City Council.”

Jankowski said he is disappointed in the farmers’ market stance.

“We notified everybody and the time to make mention of it was several months ago before we expended a lot of resources into that direction (a feasibility study) to put the police department there,” he said. “Even so, it’s a public safety building, it’s public property that we own, and we allow the market to have an event there every year. They fill out an event application and it gets approved because the lot is not being used right now.”

He said he didn’t think there were any promises made to the market, adding that its attempt to attract a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant fell through.

The thought of the city veering off the course of placing the new police headquarters on the Alva Place parking lot is not a good idea, Jankowski said.

“If we had to spend $500,000 for a (privately owned) building lot, that would reduce the amount of money available for the building itself,” he said.

Jankowski said the city has offered to help the farmers’ market find a suitable permanent location, and welcomes the conversation.

“I think it’s actually a good thing that we’re having this conversation because it tells me that our downtown is thriving and it tells me that property in our downtown is at a premium and that people want it because it is a good thing,” he offered. “But I think the farmers’ market is a little out of line because they have been getting the use of that property at no cost and now we need the property for a public safety building and now they’re upset about it.”

Brent said if the market has to move again, she hopes that the location is in the center of the city and “not off the beaten path.”

A call to Beth Kemp, executive director of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District, for comment on the BID’s role in the future of the farmers’ market was not returned at the time of the posting of this story. Kemp also sits on the Genesee Country Farmers' Market Board of Directors.

The 2020 farmers’ market season opened on June 5 and the three-day operation (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday) concludes this week.

October 26, 2020 - 9:30pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, farmers market, city council.

Speaking on behalf of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, Batavian Elizabeth “Betty” Carr tonight asked City Council to rethink its position on placing a new police headquarters on the Alva Place parking lot, proposed action that would force the market to – once again – find a new location.

“I’m here tonight to ask for your help. I’d like to find a path forward to keep the market at the current site, so I’m here to ask your guidance and consideration to agreeing that the police department should find a different home,” said Carr, manager of the downtown seasonal operation, during Council's Conference Meeting at City Centre Council Board Room.

Carr mentioned that the market has moved 11 times in the past 15 years and that it takes at least two years “to ramp back up to full capacity.”

Stating that she is “excited” to live in Batavia, Carr said she wants to help Batavia craft its “ideal market, which I see as a diamond in the rough.”

“I can help build strategic relationships and garner fresh funds. I’m asking each of you for open dialogue so we can work collaboratively together on this,” she said.

Carr also spoke about two New York State food stamp programs that are helping the farmers’ market gain new customers and helping residents -- especially those with low incomes -- buy fresh produce and other homemade items while stretching their food dollars.

“Each of you has in front of you survey results from Field & Fork Network, which is a New York State food stamp program,” she said to the council members. “Field & Fork is trending for doubling, even tripling, some numbers this year. These results show that 73 percent of our customers walk or bike to the market, including senior citizens who enjoy their independence by shopping at the market – using their walkers and motorized scooters.”

She said that food stamp recipients come to the market’s information booth where Carr electronically removes money from their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and gives them silver coins for fruits and vegetables only and wood coins for produce and everything else being sold.

The “everything else” items include meat, cheese, bread, honey, maple syrup, olive oil, flavored vinegar, baked goods, canned goods and jams and jellies, she said.

Carr also informed the board about the “Double Up Food Bucks” program that matches up to $20 a day so EBT customers can afford to buy produce.

“The wins are threefold,” she said. “Low income folks are eating better. Our local farmers are gaining new customers and they keep more money. The best part is our food dollars are staying in the region.”

She maintained that moving the market would hurt Batavia.

“Frankly, your farmers are weary of rebuilding from scratch,” she said. “Will you provide the guidance and help make the corner of Alva Place and Bank Street the market’s forever home?”

While no council member addressed her comments during the meeting, afterward Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he was surprised by Carr’s position on the proposed location of a new police station.

“We did a feasibility study on that lot months ago and at that time we notified the mall (merchants), BID (Business Improvement District) people and the farmers’ market – making sure we didn’t affect the mall’s parking spaces – and apparently everyone was on board until tonight,” he said. "We even said we would help the market find a new place."

Jankowski said city officials looked into a few privately owned locations in the city and found that the going rate to purchase those parcels was around $500,000.

“It makes more sense to put the building on city properly centrally located, which is what most people are calling for,” he said. "We save $500,000 right off the bat, the location makes it easy for police officers to access and is not on either side of the city.”

September 3, 2020 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in census, news, farmers market, batavia.


County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari is at the Farmers Market on Alva Place today handing out free Perry's ice cream sandwiches to help encourage people to complete their census forms. There will be free ice cream sandwiches available until the farmers market closes at 4 p.m.


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