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Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden

April 7, 2021 - 8:17pm

Resolutions to keep a security guard at the Department of Motor Vehicles and forge a secure arrangement with Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden are on their way to the full Genesee County Legislature.

The board’s Ways & Means Committee today voted in favor of amending a contract with Securemedy Inc., of Waldorf, Md., to continue funding a security guard position at the DMV at County Building I on West Main Street in the city.

Cost of the added expense of $28,800 is expected to be covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency/disaster assist funding connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Clerk Michael Cianfrini, speaking at the committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse (and via Zoom videoconferencing), said having a security guard “has been basically invaluable to us down at the DMV, especially since we reopened.”

Cianfrini said that on a daily basis, between 10 and 50 people come to the office from either outside Genesee County or without an appointment.

“The security guard is able to stop them before they get into the DMV,” he said. “He has actually been there long enough now that he familiar with some of the documents and can answer questions for us. He’ll get the documents for people.”

The clerk said that the presence of the armed guard – his first name is Rich – provides much-needed protection.

“From our perspective, I’d love to see him there permanently. Looking down the road, at some point, the governor is going to lift restrictions. At some point, we’re going to have to go back to being open to the public,” he said.

When that happens, Cianfrini said he expects to be “inundated with out-of-county people coming in. Buffalo and Rochester – just hearing how far behind they (the DMV offices there) are.”

“They’re scheduling appointments – and in some cases, other counties are a month or two out, or more. They’re all going to come here,” he said. “I’s going to be … I won’t say a mess – but it’s going to be very hectic, and the presence of a guard would certainly help keep some order.”

Ways & Means Chair Marianne Clattenburg said the DMV staff has the backing of the legislature.

“You have our total support,” she said. “It will continue even if we have to fund it from our own budget.”

Keeping the ‘Peace’ (Garden)

The committee also voted in favor of a defined memorandum of understanding between the county and the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden -- the volunteer group that services and supports the approximately 11,000 square feet of county property on West Main Street, adjacent to the Holland Land Office Museum.

Barb Toal, FBPG vice president, said she is on board with the MOU’s stipulations and looks forward to continue working with the county to enhance the area that commemorates the peace between the United States and Canada since the War of 1812.

“We’re really thankful for all that the county does for us, and works with us on this project,” Toal said. “We’re just here to help beautify Batavia and make use of that area along the creek. I guess I just want to make sure that you people realize how much we enjoy working with you …”

Clattenburg promptly returned the compliment.

“You do a wonderful job of beautifying that area,” Clattenburg said. “It really does fit well within the property of the Holland Land Office and it is a tourist attraction.”

Toal said the original purpose of the peace garden was to “promote the Holland Land Office, and to try to keep the doors open of that building.”

In related action, the committee approved a contract with the FBPG Foundation to lease 682 square feet of space at the Engine House, 3 W. Main St., for administrative purposes from May 1, 2021 through April 30, 2022 at $100 annually.

July 28, 2018 - 3:41pm

Pictured from left are: Ellen Bachorski, Carol Grosso, Millie Tomidy-Pepper, and Barb Toal.

Submitted photo and press release:

On Tuesday, July 23rd, officers of the Friends of Batavia Peace Garden presented Millie Tomidy-Pepper, director of the YWCA, with a donation in the amount of $400.

The gift came as a result of a hot dog sale fundraiser hosted by the Peace Garden committee on Saturday, July 7th.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to this outstanding organization that does so much for our community," said Barb Toal, co-president of the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden. "When the going gets tough we need to stick together. Our community needs the services of the YWCA. We want to support that and do our part.”

Tomidy-Pepper was delighted to receive such a generous donation and stressed that “the mission of the YWCA is to eliminate racism and empower women. We will strive to keep this mission alive and going."

The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden gained nonprofit status in 2013. They continue to partner with other community organizations including Domestic Violence Against Children, Holland Land Office Museum, United Way and Crossroads House.

"Although the Garden is a thing of beauty it also symbolizes a sense of pride for this community and all who dwell here," Toal said. "It takes a lot of effort to maintain it. Volunteers are needed. If you enjoy gardening we have just the right spot for you. An hour or two of your time once a week can make a big difference.”

Visit www.bataviapeacegarden.com or text 585-300-9252.

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