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GLOW YMCA swimmers qualify for state championship

By Press Release
Submitted photo of (from left to right) Top row: Daniel Hoffman, Phinehas Kelley, Annora Karcher, Annie Erion, Anna Kent, Keira Sidari, Tori Davis, Rose Reisdorf, Addison Winters, Caleb Henning
Middle row: Josh Pritchett, Damon Reich, Wyatt Fisher, Robert Hoffman, McKenzie Dosh, Macey D’Amico, Sarah Pritchett, Liliana Bellamy, Rowan Kelley
Bottom row: Nevada Newton, Sebastian Countermine, Lockerbie Newton, Connor Dervin, Anna Pritchett, Nina Kent, Reilly Davis

Press Release:

The GLOW YMCA Riptide Swim Team out of Batavia had a very successful regular season. 26 members met the age group qualification standards for the NYS YMCA State Swimming Championship. 

The meet will be held from March 15 - 17 at the Nassau Aquatic Center on Long Island. The ages of the swimmers range from 7 to 17 and attend local school districts including Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Le Roy, Oakfield-Alabama, St. Joseph’s School, and Pembroke. 

The team will compete in 58 individual events and 10 relays. The team is coached by Jen Pritchett, Andrew Fisher, and Emily Hirsch.

GLOW YMCA official updates Batavia Lions membership on remodel progress

By Press Release
Submitted photo of Ron Metz (left), president of Lions Club of Batavia, and John Bender, executive director of the GLOW YMCA.

Press Release:

Lion Ron Metz, president of the Lions Club of Batavia, welcomed Josh Bender, executive director of the GLOW YMCA, who updated club members about YMCA's progress with the ongoing Healthy Living campus project in downtown Batavia. 

The director noted that it started six years ago when a casual group of people had an initial discussion about proposals of remodeling locker rooms. With time, the ideas morphed into a $30 million project shared with Rochester Regional Hospital. 

The grand opening is projected for the fall of this year, with most of the glass enclosure facing Main Street nearing completion. Josh noted three-quarters of the new 80,000-square-foot facility will be occupied by YMCA programming and have children, teens, and multipurpose rooms, as well as the gym, workout rooms, and traditional “Y’ spaces. 

The new project has plans to employ 200 full- and part-time staff, and membership is projected to be 4,000 or more.

Growing up in Batavia with the YWCA and YMCA

By Anne Marie Starowitz
anne marie and joy at y
Anne Marie Starowitz standing with her ballroom dance teacher, Miss Joy, at the old YWCA in her dyed Communion Dress
Submitted by Anne Marie Starowitz

It was 1959, and our mom just dropped my brothers and me off at the YWCA to take our weekly Friday night ballroom dance lesson. The YWCA at the time was a beautiful older home on the corner of Main Street and Summit Street. We would meet in the back in a big room.  

Learning to do the jitterbug, cha cha, hully-gully, and probably a waltz was a wonderful memory. 

Whenever I hear the song by Elvis Presley, "Return to Sender," I think of that class and learning the double time, break away for the steps to the jitterbug. It was a great time, and my best friend and other students from our school were in the class. 

Thank goodness for my classmates; I would have died if I had to dance with one of my brothers.   

I also remember you dressed up for your dance class. In my day, if you had made your First Communion and did not have anyone to hand down your dress to, your mom would dye your dress either pink or blue. My dress was blue. That dress would be seen in many photos at family gatherings.

In 1903, a group of women headed by Miss Francis G. Fisher met to organize a local Young Women's Christian Association branch. This was the birth of our YWCA.   In 1903, physical welfare was of first importance to the YWCA members, particularly for the younger girls. The second purpose of the YWCA was to provide safe housing for young girls at the YWCA. YWCA on East Main Street was attractive and comfortable, but by 1960, the house on East Main Street needed repairs. In 1968, the new YW was opened on North St. 

I also have wonderful memories of the YMCA. 

Today, I am 73 years old and in an exercise class called Silver and Fit at the YMCA. I love vintage music, and it is a time I can use those dance skills I learned when I took those ballroom dance classes at the YWCA.   As I lifted my three-pound weights and stretched with my resistance band, I remembered learning to swim in the old YMCA swimming pool. I remember a pool in the basement and a room with a window where you could watch the children swim. 

During a swim lesson, the teacher encouraged me to jump off the board and promised he would have the hook to help me when I came up from the water. He didn't help me, but I did swim to the side. That was the day I passed my beginner test. The YMCA swimming program had names of various fish as we progressed on the levels. 

So here I am in 2023 at the YMCA, using the dance steps I learned at the YWCA in the 60s. I can hear the construction of the new YMCA as I did the Cha Cha to the music of the 60s. 

The YMCA was founded in 1889 in the Village of Batavia. 

It began on 7 Jackson St., and over the years, it changed many locations. The first one I remember was built in 1913, where the current YMCA is on Main Street. The building today was built in 1975. 

As I participate in the Silver and Fit Class, I hear the pounding of our newest YMCA being constructed—an excellent addition to our community for all ages. The YMCA and the YWCA will continue offering programs for all ages, focusing on their particular mission. YMCA of Genesee County is a leading non-profit committed to strengthening the community by empowering young people, improving the health and well-being of people of all ages, and inspiring action in and across communities.

YWCA of Genesee County is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. I could never list all the programs both Y's offer. I am so glad I have participated in many of the programs over the years, along with my children. 

Postcards are courtesy of the Holland Land Office Museum. The black-white photo is Anne Marie Starowitz standing with her ballroom dance teacher, Miss Joy, at the old YWCA in her dyed Communion Dress. 

old ywca in Batavia
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ymca batavia


RRH's 'one-stop' medical campus ready to open, Healthy Living on target for 2024

By Joanne Beck
dan ireland health living aug 2023
United Memorial Medical Center President Dan Ireland stands on Main Street in downtown Batavia in front of the Healthy Living Campus site in progress. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

As construction of the Healthy Living campus in downtown Batavia continues to take hold right under the noses of city-dwellers, another Rochester Regional Health project is about to set sail with an opening celebration just over the city’s north border on Route 98.

The $44.5 million, three-floor Batavia Medical Campus has been in progress for the last two years, and officials are preparing for a ribbon-cutting next Friday, United Memorial Medical Center President Dan Ireland says.

“Its intended purpose is to create greater access to health care for people around Genesee County, including Batavia, but then Genesee County and the surrounding area. The idea being is we're going to consolidate a number of services into that building. So it's almost one-stop shopping for patients, they can go there and they can get multiple appointments done, potentially at the same time,” Ireland said Friday afternoon at his North Street office. “And have ease of access to all the services that we're moving into the building, meaning that we're already offering them in the area, all are being moved there because they're reaching their capacity limits where they are and they needed more space to grow and offer more availability to patients.

“It's bringing new access to healthcare, it's bringing growth potential for the future. And, again, we chose the location because it really creates the most convenient access for folks,” he said. “We've worked closely with our (Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority) bus service for people who live in the city, they can use their on demand service and have the bus bring them out. We're not necessarily putting a bus stop in out there right now because to do that RG RTA has to do a lot of assessment, but they they've made it clear they're willing to offer services to people who call and request transportation to that campus.”

A merging of services
Coming from the hospital grounds, Batavia City Centre and the Jerome Center will be Batavia internal medicine, Batavia Pediatrics, Sans Constellation Heart Institute, the pain center and neurology, Genesee Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, general, vascular and a bariatric surgery practices, and lab, X-ray, ultrasound and MRI services.

Once services of X-ray,  lab, ultrasound, mammogram and dexascan are moved out of the Jerome Center, what will fill that empty space?

“I already have our teams looking at that,” Ireland said. “What does our community need? That’s a great space. Is it chemical dependency? Behavioral health? We will be talking to GCASA and to (Mental Health Director) Lynda Battaglia.”

While many of those service providers were filling to occupancy with no room left to expand, moving them out will afford more room for other physicians and practices looking to rent space, Ireland said.

“We have a number of services that need space, and we have private physicians in need of space looking to rent,” he said. “We’re in health discussions with them.”

Urgent care, which was closed some time ago, will be moved back into the Jerome Center, and other areas have reached their life limit, such as 207 Summit St., which will be knocked down to create more parking space as part of the new configurations, he said. 

An important term in construction these days, apparently, is “shell space,” carving out empty cavities for future use. There will be some shell space as part of the medical campus for a Phase II down the road, as “we know the needs of the community keep evolving,” Ireland said.

Architects were thinking some time ago at the UMMC campus and built in some of that “shell space” on the second floor over radiology. That’s “on our radar for the next big project,” Ireland said, for a new intensive care unit to shore up the current one that’s circa 1954. 

“We’re navigating the fundraising,” he said, for a cost of somewhere in the ballpark of $12.5 million.

There’s no definite timeline for that project at this time.

Covering the details at Batavia Medical Campus
There is covered parking under the Batavia Medical Campus building for patients to alleviate a need to walk across windy parking lots, he said. All providers are to make the transition at the same time by the end of August, and patients are to be notified of the change in location when making appointments, he said. 

Touted as a “destination campus,” the 112,000-square-foot site will be home to experts in more than 20 specialty areas in a state-of-the-art multi-provider medical complex at 8193 Oak Orchard Road.

Specialties include: cardiac, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general surgery,  imaging, infusion, laboratory, neurology, orthopedics, podiatry, otolaryngology, pain management, pediatric, primary and urgent care, vascular surgery and women’s health specialty services.

And on the other end of town, there’s still a lot of construction going on at Healthy Living, with an estimated 40 percent completion at this point, Ireland said. 

Although not done, it has caused a stir among some people who have come back to visit and noted the new development and flurry of contractor activity. 

“That's the exciting part about it. I mean, I think we knew, once we determined what the design was gonna be, it was going to be transformational on Main Street. And I think when we're all said and done, and the new building’s up, and the old YMCA is down, I think it's just going to be a beautiful part of the Main Street streetscape,” he said. “And the goal is just to be inviting people to come in. I mean, the beauty of the partnership with the YMCA is we can bring health and wellness right together and bring doctors to work in closely with people who are going to the Y for their physical fitness or wellness activity, and folks at the Y can easily get to access to our preventative care work.”

So who will be moving into the new digs?
This project has been ongoing this past year, including the razing of the old Healthy Living headquarters in Cary Hall and erecting concrete walls and foundational structures for what will eventually house services from 164 Washington Ave., including breast cancer and colon screenings, diabetic educators, smoking cessation classes, and Baby Cafe, plus Batavia Primary Care from the Jerome Center and a big meeting room to provide education classes for employees, a computer training lab, and a multi-purpose room for a teaching kitchen.

“So we can offer bigger classes and better access to people for learning and growth, and on the Y side, the state-of-the-art pool and gymnasium and workout equipment. Really, it's going to be an exciting place to go. And as I said, very inviting, it's designed to draw people to come in, you know, use the multi-purpose room, use the services at that location, gather there,” he said. “And the outside landscape that we're putting in will be inviting to do outside programs.

“So, like you said, we started with a beautiful day like today and want to be out, I mean, you could have meetings like this right out on the terrace that's going to be built there, or if you want to do exercise or yoga or things like that, I mean we're envisioning those things happening during the nice sunny days,” he said. “But then when it's cold and damp, we'll be able to come inside and be warm inside with the bright colors and the, really, I think, the inviting atmosphere.”

So while spectators are seeing scaffolding and rubble, wondering just why it’s taking so long to reach the endpoint, what’s been happening at this new facility spot?

All of the plumbing is being dug, the decks are being poured, as the goal is to get it enclosed before winter, he said. 

The pool is slated to be dug out for installation soon, with a completion date still set for mid to late summer 2024. 

“The whole intent of the project is to build the new (YMCA) before closing this one,” he said. “We want to keep it open for as long as possible without disruption.”

Foundations and footers have been poured, and steel girders put in along with block walls, he said. But there are also open spaces, and that’s intentional. 

“What I think what's really cool about that location is, there's a lot of space that still looks like what's supposed to go there because it's wide open. But a lot of that's glass, and that's what's going to be nice because it's going to create a nice footprint, they'll be glass and panels that'll be going out there,” he said. “Our biggest thing we didn't want to do is turn it into just a brick structure that was just, you know, brick, we wanted to make it more of a feeling.” 

That layout is every bit symbolic of the way in which this project began — it originated from a feeling communicated by the city, school district, county, Youth Bureau, hospital and YMCA leaders.

The numbers spoke loud and clear that this was no small or easy task: $10.5 million from UMMC, which received a $7.5 million state transformation grant, used $1 million from capital reserves and raised another $2 million from donations, and about $22 million from YMCA, a substantial amount to come from an ongoing fundraising campaign.

“I think when we started, people weren't sure it was going to be possible. And it was, and is, and so it just goes to show the testament of our community. I mean, Batavia and Genesee County, we want to have good services here, we want to have places for people to go that are safe and welcoming and whatnot. And I think when you introduce something and bring the community in like we did … it wasn't like one person saying, I want to build a Y or one person saying I want to build this campus, or I want to build a hospital building or whatever … everybody was talking together, saying what can we do and what would be the most impactful? And that's the genesis of what is now being built,” he said. “So it's truly a community building that came from the needs of all parts of the community coming together. So that's what makes it very special for me. Because when it's said and done next year, I mean, we're going to open the doors for a lot of people to get access to stuff that they may not have experienced previously.”

Photos by Howard Owens.

ummc rrh facilities
Batavia Medical Campus on Oak Orchard Road in the Town of Batavia is set to open by the end of August.
Photo by Howard Owens.
ummc rrh facilities
Batavia Medical Campus includes a parking lot underneath the building.
Photo by Howard Owens.
ummc rrh facilities
Batavia Medical Campus.
Photo by Howard Owens.
ummc rrh facilities
Healthy Living Campus in downtown Batavia is set for an opening in mid to late 2024.
Photo by Howard Owens.
ummc rrh facilities
Healthy Living Campus in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.
ummc rrh facilities
Healthy Living Campus is about 40 percent complete.
Photo by Howard Owens.

GLOW Y swim team competes in state championships, Reilly Davis wins title

By Press Release

Press release:

Twelve members of the GLOW YMCA Riptide Swim Team competed in the New York State YMCA Swimming Championships at the Burt Flickinger Aquatic Center in Buffalo on March 18 and 19.  For seven of these members, it was their first time competing on a swim team this season.  All members experienced significant time drops throughout the meet.

Award recipients include Lily Bellamy, 14th in the 50 Back; Tori Davis, 6th in the 50 Back and 12th in the 200 Free; Wyatt Fisher, 7th in the 50 Fly, 8th in the 100 IM, and 10th in the 50 Breast; Caleb Henning, 16th in the 500 Free; and Anna Pritchett, 16th in the 50 Free and 16th in the 100 Free.

Reilly Davis took home the NYS Championship in the 8u 25 Breast.  She also placed 2nd in the 100 IM, 3rd in the 100 Free, 3rd in the 50 Free, and 3rd in the 25 Free.

The 10u relay team of Sarah Pritchett, Reilly Davis, Lily Bellamy, and Matilda Nevinger took home 5th place in the 200 Free Relay and 6th place in the 200 Free Relay.  All of these members were new to the YMCA swim team this season.

The entire GLOW YMCA Riptide Swim Team had an amazing season.  They are looking for new members to join them next year. The Riptide swim team is coached by Jennifer Pritchett and Emily Hirsch.

Submitted photos.

Reilly Davis

Genesee County granted $540k for Healthy Living project

By Joanne Beck

Although it wasn’t as much as officials could have hoped for, a Restore NY grant has been approved to help with the expenses of the Healthy Living project in downtown Batavia.

In August, Genesee County Legislature agreed to serve as the applicant on behalf of the new campus to merge a portion of United Memorial Medical Center and GLOW YMCA services. The grant limit was up to $2 million, and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that a grant of $540,000 had been awarded.

Funds will be used to demolish the old 55,000-square-foot YMCA, and a 10,000-square-foot obsolete boiler house owned by Rochester Regional Health-UMMC, which will provide space to accommodate a new downtown park and parking.

The project was selected as a priority Downtown Revitalization Initiative project and is also supported by the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area plan. 

More than $102 million was awarded to 64 projects through the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts across the state, Hochul’s office stated in a press release.

Those efforts to help remove blight, reinvigorate downtowns and generate economic opportunity in communities statewide. The program, administered by Empire State Development, is designed to help local governments revitalize their communities and encourage commercial investment, improve the local housing stock, put properties back on the tax rolls and increase the local tax base.

Once approved, the grant is to “flow through the county,” County Manager Matt Landers had said during the application process.

The grant is to go toward some of the demolition costs of the GLOW YMCA site between Wiard and Bank streets. The county can charge up to $10,000 for administrative costs, “which should be more than enough for us to cover our costs,” Landers had said.

"These Restore New York grants will help to reimagine downtowns across our state and transform vacant, blighted, and underutilized buildings into vibrant community anchors," Hochul said in the release. "Thanks to $102 million of state investment, we are breathing new life into communities from Hudson to North Hempstead, jumpstarting new economic activity, and ensuring that New York State continues to be a place where people come to live, work, and raise their families." 

New life for downtown Batavia is to come from the partnership of RRH-UMMC and GLOW YMCA to develop a $33.5 million, two-story, 78,000-square-foot regional health and wellness facility. The new site will integrate a new YMCA facility with state-of-the-art medical space for the Healthy Living program.

"Restore NY invigorates our urban centers and is a vital tool in the economic development tool kit for rebuilding communities that need it most,” Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said. “This funding will help local governments find solutions to blighted buildings so they can move forward towards a more vibrant future."

As for the county’s sponsorship as applicant, there is no county match, and no county cost aside from administrative expenses, Landers said.

The plan is to have the new building constructed at the former Cary Hall and Elks Lodge space so that YM members can use that during the demolition of the YMCA.

At the time of application, Rob Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA, said there shouldn’t be any downtime for members, as they will transition over to the freshly completed site while the older YM building is taken down, he said.

“And continue operations without hurting the community and our services to the community — that was important to us, both from a mission standpoint and service standpoint,” Walker said.

The facility has previously been outlined — a pool, updated exercise equipment, and brand new amenities alongside Healthy Living’s teaching kitchen, classrooms and offices — and Walker described the outside space being “a nice streetscape park area” with benches, trees, lighting and an open grassy area for some outdoor activities, plus additional parking space.

File Photo of the beginnings of a new Healthy Living campus in downtown Batavia this August, by Howard Owens.

Two Batavia staples honored with awards from YMCA

By Joanne Beck

GLOW YMCA’s annual meeting had a few surprises this year, as the nonprofit’s leaders, including CEO Rob Walker, presented Community Partner awards to two Batavia entities that have been key players in the community.

Awards went each to Batavia Muckdogs and the City of Batavia for their contributions to YMCA’s mission and vision.

In turn, City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said just how much YMCA’s presence here has impacted him.

“The YMCA as been a positive influence in our community for as long as I can remember.  As a young child growing up in Batavia, the YMCA health and wellness programs were a big part of my life,” Jankowski said. “Their mission continues today in partnership with the city to manage Batavia’s after school and parks programs. I’m looking forward to the next chapter as they complete the new Healthy Living campus in our downtown.”

City Manager Rachael J. Tabelski and Jankowski were proud to receive the recognition, they said. YMCA has been “all in” to assist the city in ways that advance the mission of health and wellness, Tabelski said.

“And we share a very strong mutually beneficial partnership.  The YMCA worked with the former Youth Bureau Director, Jocelyn Sikorski, (currently director of Cornell Cooperative Extension) as a founding member of Teen City, an afterschool program for middle and high school aged children,” Tabelski said. “The YMCA stepped up when the city needed to find a private sector partner to run the afterschool program and the summer recreation program, which are both still offered free of charge to families in Batavia. The YMCA has also been a leader in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) partnering with (Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center) to build a new $30 million Healthy Living Campus in the heart of downtown Batavia.

“The City is proud to be partners with Rob Walker, the YMCA, and their amazing staff, and we appreciate the honor of this award," she said. 

A request for comment from Batavia Muckdogs owner Robbie Nichols was not returned by the time this article was published.

Top Photo: Steven Krna, Muckdogs General Manager Marc Witt, Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., and GLOW YMCA CEO Rob Walker; and above, Steven Krna, City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Eugene Jankowski Jr., and Rob Walker. Photos submitted.

Public to have opportunity to comment about potential use of grant funds

By Joanne Beck

As some go up, others must come down.

That’s the nutshell version of construction in downtown Batavia. Work is being done to construct a new Healthy Living campus alongside GLOW YMCA, and the fitness facility at 207-209 East Main St. will eventually be demolished to make way for green and parking spaces.

It will take much investment for the entire plan to unfold, and Genesee County’s Ways & Means Committee agreed Wednesday to proceed with an application for a $2 million Restore NY grant to help with the costs.

Before anything else can happen, a public hearing must be conducted about the project to demolish 207-209 and 211 1/2 (rear) on East Main Street. Led by the county, the grant is available for “projects to demolish/deconstruct and/or rehabilitate/reconstruct vacant, abandoned, surplus and/or condemned residential, commercial, and/or mixed-use buildings.”

The hearing was set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia.

The project has already passed historic preservation and environmental reviews, and has a developer, said Ed Flynn, director of planning at LaBella Associates. Having those items taken care of “I think will make it a competitive project,” Flynn said.

An important goal of Restore NY is to revitalize urban centers, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. It is anticipated that upon completion, the projects funded by Restore NY municipal grants will attract individuals, families, and industrial and commercial enterprises to the municipality, according to the resolution.

“It is further anticipated that the improved community and business climate will result in an increased tax base, thereby improving municipal finances and the wherewithal to further grow the municipality’s tax and resource base, lessening its dependence on state aid,” it states.

Populations of less than 40,000 can apply for up to $2 million in grant funding. Since the City of Batavia meets that stipulation, Flynn suggested going for the entire amount.

Genesee County will be assisting with the administrative portion of the grant and applying on behalf of the city. The $2 million would go towards a $33.5 million Healthy Living project between Bank and Wiard streets downtown.

The future site is to be a 78,000-square-foot integrated medical and wellness facility. It's to include state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a new pool, an indoor track, a teaching kitchen, a children’s adventure room play area, plus 22 exam rooms and two medical procedure rooms for primary care, telemedicine appointments, behavioral health and crisis intervention support, cancer prevention, chronic illness, and community education services.

Rochester Regional Health, United Memorial Medical Center and YMCA officials have said the site will serve as a one-stop-shop for many health concerns and fitness goals, and there will also be a drop-in childcare center. 

For prior coverage, go to Healthy Living.

Illustration: File Photo of future Healthy Living campus rendering.

Genesee County agrees to help Healthy Living Campus officials with grant process

By Joanne Beck

Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center officials would like Genesee County on board to assist with a $2 million grant for the Healthy Living project in downtown Batavia.

Working through Ed Flynn of LaBella Associates, hospital officials plan to apply for the grant and, if approved, funding would “flow through the county,” County Manager Matt Landers said Wednesday.

“There would be no county match, and no county cost,” he said to legislators during their Ways & Means committee meeting at the Old Courthouse.

Restore NY grant
The grant is to go toward some of the demolition costs of the GLOW YMCA site between Wiard and Bank streets, he said. The county can charge up to $10,000 for administrative costs, “which should be more than enough for us to cover our costs,” Landers said.

“I would liken this similar to a (Community Development Block Grant) project where the (county’s Economic Development Center) usually comes to us and has a private business out there that wants to secure funds for a project for economic development and their job creation,” he said. “And then we basically utilize grant ministries, grant administration services … So this will be a very similar arrangement, but less intensive. According to Ed Flynn, the CDBG project is a little more intensive. This is less intensive. So I don't see a drawback.”

The unusual part, he said, was that this request is to approve an intent to apply before actually applying for the grant. That letter of intent was due Thursday, and the next step would be to get the Legislature’s blessings on the actual grant application, he said.

“So if there are reservations around, they can still be raised,” he said. “So it's a little nontraditional process where I'm coming to you with the intent to apply. And then we'll be voting on formal permission to apply, within the attached resolutions, that will come forward probably in September.”

The committee approved his request, and Genesee County will be submitting a Restore NY round six grant to support the development of the Healthy Living Campus. United Memorial Medical Center – Rochester Regional Health (UMMC-RRH), and GLOW YMCA have partnered to develop a $33.5 million, two-story 78,000 square-foot regional health and wellness facility, which will integrate a new YMCA facility with state-of-the-art medical space for the Healthy Living program.

New versus old YMCA
Restore NY funds will be used by the development team to demolish the old 40,000 square-foot YMCA, and an 8,500 square-foot obsolete boiler house owned by UMMC-RRH, which will provide space to accommodate a new downtown park and parking lot. The project was selected as a priority Downtown Revitalization Initiative project and is also supported by the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area plan. UMMC/RRH will lead the development team.

Demolition of YMCA won’t be for a while, as the new building site at the former Cary Hall and Elks Lodge needs to be in place for the facility’s members to use, said Rob Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA. There shouldn’t be any downtime for members, as they will transition over to the freshly completed site while the older YM building is taken down, he said.

“And continue operations without hurting the community and our services to the community — that was important to us, both from a mission standpoint and service standpoint, but also fiscally being responsible as well,” Walker said Thursday to The Batavian. “So the demolition is all dependent on completion of, and a certificate of occupancy for, the new YMCA UMMC building.”

The facility has previously been outlined — a pool, updated exercise equipment, and brand new amenities alongside Healthy Living’s teaching kitchen, classrooms and offices — and Walker described the outside space being “a nice streetscape park area” with benches, trees, lighting and an open grassy area for some outdoor activities, plus additional parking space.

“That's the beauty of what we're doing. There'll be additional parking there that kind of complements the site. There's two main entrances to the facility, one is on the northwest section, and then one is on the south section, that both enter into and through a nice corridor to the welcome desk, where a member services representative will direct them to where they need to go.”

He also emphasized that the nonprofit’s board and volunteers have talked about this eventual move for the last four or five years, and the county’s Senior Center was always part of the vision.

“Our true hope is that we can add on to the YM space where the current one is to include the Senior Center. It’s really important to volunteers and board members,” he said. “It’s our hope that the Genesee County Senior Center would join the Healthy Living campus.”

The former Cary Hall and Elks buildings have been razed, and new construction is to begin this fall. It was important to YMCA leaders not to disrupt the many services offered, including childcare, swimming lessons and exercise classes and offerings to varied age groups, he said.

“We want to be able to continue to do those services and keep the momentum that we have with those programs as well. They're all doing really well, there's a lot of wait lists, and we're going to be able to serve more people in the new facility. So that's going to help. Our capacities are pretty much limited in the existing YMCA,” he said. “It takes a little while to line up these contractors. We'll have a better idea this fall, or even late summer, on the timing of that lineup. Obviously, there's a lot of labor shortages, supply issues, that are affecting all these contractors.”

Construction plans
As has been said early on, the plan remains for completion to be in late 2023, or early 2024, depending on the labor and supply availability. A project such as this typically takes 16 to 18 months, and that’s if “everything flows under the construction timeline,” he said. But it’s a fluid timeline, he added.

Walker is grateful for the local support of municipalities and donors. Project costs are about $23 million for YMCA and $10 million for the RRH-UMMC portion.

“We appreciate the county and the city support on earmarking, this. Our escalation costs have been tremendous in the last two years. So we've had to dig deeper than we already have. We've raised over $14 million on our side, on the Y side, so we've got to keep going,” he said. “And we will, but we've got 95 percent of what we need. So we're confident that in the next four months we'll be able to close the small gap.”

Top photo: 2022 File Photo of demolition for the new Healthy Living Campus in downtown Batavia. The next phase to knock down YMCA is set for this fall, and officials are in the process of applying for a $2 million Restore NY grant to help with costs. Photo by Howard Owens.

Batavia Muckdogs up for the Challenge(r) with YMCA

By James Burns

You may not like baseball, or have been to a Muckdogs game here in Batavia, but, from all appearances, the Muckdogs seem to make Batavia a better place when they interact with the community, and today was no exception.

Batavia Muckdogs and GLOW YMCA volunteers held the Challenger Baseball Series Saturday at Dwyer Stadium. The event was for children with developmental or other disabilities between the ages of 5 and 21. Even though YMCA has had this event before, again, by all appearances, it seemed as though the Muckdogs players enjoyed the event as much, if not more than, the kids did. 

In case you missed the event this afternoon, you can still see the kids at 7 p.m. tonight. Each child that participated received four free tickets to the game, a team hat, and will be on the field with the team for the National Anthem.

Photos by Jim Burns.

Long-awaited arrival to groundbreaking ceremony for Healthy Living project

By Joanne Beck

Over the last six-plus years, plans — and hopes — for a new and improved Healthy Living campus have certainly been put to the test.

A zoning change, suggestions for less cement and more green space, lighting up Wiard Street and rethinking an entry/exit from Summit Street, plus the constant push to raise money for the $33.5 million project may have given pause but never a fullstop since 2016.

Officials and community members celebrated Monday what United Memorial Medical Center CEO Dan Ireland described as making “this vision a reality.”

Ireland and about 100 others gathered at 213 East Main St., Batavia, one of the parcels between Main and Bank Street that will be the future 78,000-square-foot facility.

“This is a pivotal and historic day in our community’s health and wellness journey,” Ireland said. “We are breaking ground on an innovative, forward-thinking model of integrated health and wellness that will transform downtown Batavia. From a healthcare perspective, this facility and model of care that it represents will exemplify how healthcare can evolve to support the healthcare needs of the community today and for the next generations.”

“The Healthy Living Campus is the future of health care, where medical and wellness programs are integrated under one roof. It’s made possible through our community partnerships, and it’s helping patients get all the care they need and deserve in one place. 

He recalled the high level of effort it has taken during the past nearly seven years of planning, collaboration and diligent work to reach this point. He credited Rochester Regional Health’s staff teams, community partners, GLOW YMCA and “most importantly you” for arriving at the day shovels were symbolically plunged into the earth.

Not only was the event about a new facility, but also about an “innovative and integrated” system of what and how care is delivered. Meal planning, building healthy habits, assessing mental and physical health, and taking preventive measures for well-being are just some of the services to be offered.

Add in state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a new pool, an indoor track, a teaching kitchen, and an adventure room play area for children.

Top it off with 22 exam rooms and two medical procedure rooms for primary care, telemedicine appointments, behavioral health and crisis intervention support, cancer prevention, chronic illness, and community education services, and the site is a one-stop-shop for many health concerns and fitness goals, officials said. There will also be a drop-in childcare center.

“Today is not just a celebration of a new building or clinic, it’s the celebration of a community coming together to reimagine health and wellness of the future and transform our downtown," Ireland said. "It’s celebrating you and your friends and neighbors who have worked tirelessly over seven years to advocate, plan and collaborate to make this vision a reality. Without your voices, your ideas, your support, we would not be here today at this milestone. We are embarking on this exciting new chapter of health and wellness in Downtown Batavia.”

The project’s birth was a few city managers ago, when talk of an expanded Healthy Living campus at times seemed pie-in-the-sky for some. Seeing it finally come to fruition is “a big load off our minds,” City Council President Eugene Jankowski said.

“I’m excited to see this project begin,” he said. “There were a lot of setbacks, and it’s really easy to call it quits.”

He thanked all involved for remaining steadfast on the journey and “moving forward to positive outcomes” in the city’s future.

Robert Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA, remembered picking up the phone back then and becoming engaged in the concept. Almost seven years later, this plan “has truly changed the path of both organizations,” he said.

“Your leadership and support have impacted me tremendously,” he said.

He cited the YMCA’s mission statement: To develop the spiritual, mental, and physical wellness of all people in an atmosphere of Christian fellowship and thanked individual and collective community members for their determination to come together, strive for improvement, and see this project through.

“The GLOW YMCA and Rochester Regional Health Healthy Living Campus is a place for children, adults, and families from all walks of life in our community to come together and improve their lives — spirit, mind and body,” Walker said. “The state-of-the-art campus will not only be a benefit for the health of our residents, but also for the health of our local businesses, transforming downtown Batavia.”

Perhaps equally notable to the support for the project is the timing now, in the midst of a post-pandemic, RRH CEO Dr. Richard Davis said.

We’re all about reimagining what healthcare can and must be in the 21st Century, we’re focusing on those strategic themes and talents of literally 20,000 of our team members … delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time, to achieve the right health outcomes for the right value,” he said. “Healthy Living is a shining example of what truly is an innovative model.”

The strengths of two organizations — RRH and YMCA — are being brought together to offer the best of each one alone as an essential service to the city of Batavia, he said.

Officials also included Rob Rodriguez, NYS secretary of state, Senator Edward Rath III, Tom Houseknecht, on behalf of him and his wife Lynn, and Paul Battaglia, chairman of the YMCA Campaign Committee.

“I know when we started this quest in 2016 … many people thought this was an impossible dream. Now … this dream is coming true,” Battaglia said. “Today we’re not just celebrating the groundbreaking of a building, but celebrating the health of our community. This is a transformational project that is going to completely change the downtown area. It’s going to bring people downtown, create excitement and vitality that we believe will have a significant domino effect on the local businesses there. We could not be prouder of this relationship.”

The Healthy Living project was made possible with state, federal and community fundraiser monies, including an NYS economic development health care grant of $11.6 million, a $4.1 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, and ongoing fundraising efforts by more than 50 GLOW YMCA and RRH volunteers.

Officials expect construction to be completed in 2023.

Top photo: Officials take shovels in hand for the symbolic gesture during the Healthy Living campus groundbreaking ceremony Monday at 16 Bank St., Batavia. United Memorial Medical Center CEO Dan Ireland, Rob Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA and Rochester Regional Health CEO Dr. Richard Davis say a few words during the event. Photos by Howard Owens. Renderings of the project provided by RRH.

A 'silver lining' at Silver Lake children's camp

By Joanne Beck

GLOW YMCA made a tough decision when it opted to sell the rustic Silver Lake Camp Hough more than a year ago, Chief Executive Officer Rob Walker says.

But it has all fallen into place with the purchase by Peter Zeliff Jr. and wife Susan, Walker said. The Zeliff couple plan to offer the nearly 11-acre site to veterans and their families, and have agreed to allow a weekday camp for children during the summer.

“We are so thrilled, absolutely thrilled, that our donors and supporters were so gracious to them. We're very proud that it's going to be used in a way that we hoped it would be used. And that's through the Warrior House, which is another not-for-profit that's going to invest in it,” Walker said Tuesday to The Batavian. “You know, it was a tough decision, but a necessary one for us as an organization. But with that there's a silver lining here and that it's going to stay, more importantly, a children's camp, and it's going to stay with an overnight opportunity for military families. And that's pretty powerful.”

Operational revenue losses, coupled with a COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, created a financial gap that YMCA officials had to address, he said. After conducting some studies, GLOW YMCA partnered with Greater Buffalo Niagara’s branch to provide another option for kids wanting a full resident camp experience, he said. That will be available at Camp Weona in Wyoming County.

“As a whole, the industry really struggled, especially, like I mentioned, after COVID. It's just been a slow kind of decline,” he said, explaining Camp Hough’s new role. “Importantly, too, in addition, because of (the Zeliffs’) perspective and joint respect and cooperation in this, making sure the asset is used in the best possible way, they are allowing us to run a YMCA summer day camp on the property.”

Even though YMCA is no longer the owner, the nonprofit, in partnership with the Village of Perry, will run day programs Monday through Friday at the Silver Lake campground as of June 27, he said.

The proceeds from the Camp Hough sale will be reinvested into the Batavia-based YMCA’s expansion and work at the Healthy Living campus, he said. Abatement has begun, evidenced by construction flags, with ongoing demolition at Cary Hall.

“They're in the final stages of asbestos removal. They're taking that stuff out,” Walker said. “They've been working at that for about a month. And that's expected to come down next month.”

The Batavian will provide more details about the YMCA project in the near future. Meanwhile, the Zeliffs plan to offer the Camp Hough property, with 480 feet of waterfront, to veterans and their families as a camping retreat. Mrs. Zeliff did not return a call made to her for additional comments as of Tuesday evening.

For more information about Warrior House, go to or see the related article here

2014 File Photo of Camp Hough.

City planners approve Healthy Living campus site plan minus Summit Street exit, 30 parking spaces near GO Art!

By Mike Pettinella

Updated: 7 a.m.:

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee tonight approved the site plan of the Healthy Living campus, a $30 million joint venture of United Memorial Medical Center (Rochester Regional Health) and the GLOW YMCA on East Main Street.

The tally was 3-1 in favor of the layout, with Ed Flynn, Rebecca Cohen and John Ognibene casting “yes” votes and David Beatty voting “no.” The committee’s monthly meeting took place at the City Hall Council Board Room.


Related story: Planning committee member sees Healthy Living campus site plan as 'missed opportunity'


“We’re extremely satisfied. We listened to what the concerns were and we made adjustments. I think they were fair and we were fair,” said GLOW YMCA Chief Executive Officer Rob Walker.

Project Consultant David Ciurzynski and representatives of the Clark Patterson Lee architectural/engineering firm had appeared before the PDC two times prior to tonight’s meeting.

Over the course of lengthy deliberations, a few changes requested by the committee were made, most notably the removal of an entrance/exit on Summit Street and removal of parking spaces in the area just east of Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, on a parcel where the YMCA currently sits.

Walker said developers surrendered about 30 parking spots to create more green space.

“When you’re in business, we want those spots, but out of respect for the process, we negotiated,” he said.

On the Summit Street issue, he said, “We met with the Summit Street (Neighborhood) Association and with a number of residents and we listened and we said, OK.”

“The traffic flow is going to work just fine as we have an exit on Washington (Avenue) and an exit on Bank (Street).”

Ciurzynski said the updated site plan shows the Summit Street exit removal and parking space adjustment, adding that there are no plans to build a wall or put up additional trees in the space between GO Art! and the new YMCA building.

PDC member Ed Flynn said the board received a letter from GO Art! stating its support of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project as long as there was no wall.

Beatty then mentioned a site plan presented by Clark Patterson Lee and sent to Gregory Hallock, GO Art! executive director, was different from the final plan. He said he had hoped the PDC would have been able to see that document.

Ciurzynski said that was a previous drawing, calling it “much more elaborate than what we have and we’re not moving forward with that because of budget reasons.”

“The plan that you have (now) is the plan that we’re moving forward with,” he said, adding that the current plan has appropriate buffering on that back side (of GO Art!). “I understand that he (Hallock) may desire something more (but) technically it’s not his property. We have to be as good neighbors as possible, but we have to also manage our budget.”

The PDC reviewed the State Environmental Quality Review paperwork and determined no adverse impact. It did advise Ciurzynski, however, to make sure the GO Art! building is protected during construction as it is an historic structure. Ciurzynski said he would send the final site plan to the State Historic Preservation Office.

With the committee’s approval in hand, the timeline becomes much clearer.

Ciurzynski said construction documents should be complete by the late fall or early winter, and then bids will be solicited.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll start seeing some (activity), with Cary Hall coming down. And start getting the site prepped and ready for construction in earnest starting in the spring,” he said, noting that the entire project will take about 20 months, including 14 to 16 months on the main two-story, 69,420-square-foot building.

“We’re trying to get everything done as quickly as possible so we can move in and take down the (existing) YMCA,” he said. “Start construction in the spring when the weather breaks, get the building up, get everything moved over into there from the existing Y to the new Y – get that operational – and then we can start looking at taking down the old Y and developing that site.”

He acknowledged the PDC’s opposition to the amount of parking on Main Street.

“They didn’t like the look of it (and) they wanted more of an urban park environment, so we sort of split the difference,” he said. “We gave up some very significant parking for our membership but we will find ways to work around that because it was important to the Planning & Development Committee.

“They’re looking out for the city; trying to make sure they can strike a balance. We’re a partner with the city, so we want to make sure that we can strike that balance that works for everybody.”

Even with the reduction of parking spots, the campus will accommodate about 200 cars. Walker said that hospital staff would be able to continue to park in the City Centre Mall parking lot.

As previously reported on The Batavian, the Healthy Living Campus will replace the current YMCA, and will feature YMCA amenities such as gymnasium, pool, locker rooms, multipurpose rooms, exercise rooms and a community living (common) area.

It also will have 10,000 square feet for the hospital’s Healthy Living (diabetes awareness and education) program as well as a medical clinic on the second floor as a teaching unit for medical residents, and space for RRH’s Baby Café, a breastfeeding program run by lactation specialists who offer education and support to any pregnant woman or breastfeeding mom in the community at no charge.

Graham to Build 'Infill' Addition

In other action, the PDC approved a site plan submitted by Graham Mfg. to construct a 2,500-square foot one-story infill addition on the south side of the industrial complex at 4-12 Howard St.

Chris Howell, facilities manager at Graham Mfg., said the company wishes to put in a metrology lab in the new space for non-destructive testing and a stockroom -- “and to do those things well we need a separate area, which is temperature controlled and where it is clean.”

Currently, the firm’s welding and grinding operations are integrated with this kind of testing, he said, and separating those processes will improve the metrology and non-destructive testing.

The plan also is subject to review by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals due to the entire building’s coverage area on the lot being more than the permitted 40 percent.

Previously: City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee says 'no' to Summit Street access for Healthy Living Campus

Planning committee member sees Healthy Living campus site plan as 'missed opportunity'

By Mike Pettinella

Updated: 7 a.m.:

In voting against the site plan of the Healthy Living campus project, City Planning & Development Committee member David Beatty called it a “missed opportunity” to fully take advantage of the several parcels of land along East Main Street in downtown Batavia.

“I think, for me, it’s such a key project here for Batavia, a key to Main Street,” Beatty said following tonight’s meeting. “We’ve been trying to develop Main Street for decades. So, I think they missed an opportunity to really develop the site – and by site, I mean the entire site that goes all the way back to Washington (Avenue) because they own all of that property.”

Beatty (photo at right) said developers (and, in the end, his colleagues) submitted and approved, respectively, a site plan where they’re “basically adding more parking by taking the steam plant (that sits back from Main Street, west of Wiard Street) out.”

“I’m looking for more green space and a planned public space that could sort of feed off GO Art!” he said. “GO Art! is right there on Main Street and the idea of developing a large public space on Main … and feeding that into the Healthy Living campus, essentially. They refer to it as a campus, but it’s a building and a parking lot.”

Although not wanting to speak for GO Art! Executive Director Gregory Hallock, Beatty said he believes Hallock will be disappointed in the outcome of that particular space but also said he foresees the three entities becoming “good partners.”

“I think there could have been more to it. Again, it’s a missed opportunity. I think they could have done more and I mentioned that many times at various meetings,” he said.

Leslie Moma of Batavia, who serves on the GO Art! board of trustees, was in attendance tonight.

Afterwards, she told The Batavian that a previous “conceptual plan” created by the engineering firm of Clark Patterson Lee showed an expansion of the green space on Main Street and stretching north along the east side of GO Art! and the Genesee County Office for the Aging.

“In Gregory’s letter that he sent to the (PDC) board, he emphasized that there is this partnership that GO Art! has with the Y,” she said. (That plan) really did lend in our campus, the GO Art! campus, which will include the patio space – the courtyard space that is shared between GO Art! and the Office for the Aging,” she offered.

“So, that would be a seamless blend of this common space with the Y and could bleed right into their secondary entrance. But that’s not going to happen.”

Moma (photo at left) said that until the current Y building is taken down, “the barrier of that wall has created this confined space for us.”

“So, once it comes down, we’ll have to revisit what our landscape architecture plan will be for the courtyard and even our space where we can hold events,” she said.

She said the GO Art! board considers the courtyard as a key aspect to its fundraising efforts.

“Right now, with the parking how it has been approved, there’s going to be some conflict between the cars – that parking space – and how we’re going to be able to utilize the courtyard space. We see that as a funding mechanism … as we do have to raise funds for our operation.

“We appreciate the offer that the Y reached out and said they’d be happy to block out parking and things of that nature. But, we all know how we are as human beings.”

When it was mentioned that about 30 parking spots were removed from the plan, she said that “pushing it back a little further would have been ideal for us.”

“Once the demolition is done, we’ll have to see what those options are, and what we need to do to mitigate any impacts from the automobiles,” she said. “Maybe things will change as far as public opinion on parking, and how many people live downtown. Maybe more people will be walking to the Y. So, the use of having that extensive parking, at least so close to GO Art!, maybe it won’t be needed because of just how society is changing.”

Moma said that until the existing YMCA is torn down, the door is open to do something different with that space.

“There’s still the opportunity, we feel, that there’s hope to do something different with that space where it can be more of a collaborative, social, green active space, so that our programming and the Y’s programming can have this fluid activity time,” she said.

GLOW YMCA cancels today's summer rec programs

By Press Release

Press release:

Summer Rec at Farrall, John Kennedy, Lambert and Williams parks will be canceled today, Thursday, July 8th due to severe thunderstorm bands expected to hit late morning through the remainder of the afternoon. Summer rec anticipates being open Friday, July 9th unless otherwise communicated to families.

Summer Rec will avoid canceling in advance unless absolutely sure of unsafe weather conditions (flooding, safety threat, heat-index risk or thunder/lightening storms)

For further questions regarding Summer Rec, please contact the GLOW YMCA (585) 344-1664.

GLOW YMCA Golf Outing raises more than $12,000 for Y financial aid scholarships

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

The GLOW YMCA Golf Outing was held Monday June 14th at the Terry Hill’s Golf Club. The event was a tremendous success in raising more than $12,000 to go toward financial aid scholarships for families in the GLOW Region who wish to participate in YMCA programs or services.

This year's sponsors were: Clark Patterson Lee; Ciurzynski Consulting; Five Star Bank; Freed Maxick; Marchese Computers; Manning Squires Hennig; Bank of Castile Tompkins Insurance; Ken Barrett Chevrolet; Crickler Vending; Kiwanis Club of Warsaw; Chris White of Merrill Lynch; Genesee Patrons; Curated Golf; Terry Hills Golf Club; Max Pies Furniture; and Terry Mooney Construction.

Special thanks to all these vendors and supporters of the GLOW YMCA as well as the golfers and Terry Hill’s staff. 

  • Winning foursome was Matt Woods, Mark Marcello, Mike Schuth, Andrew Daily shooting a 12 under 60.
  • Longest Drive winners were Susie Ott and Andrew Daily.
  • Closest to the pin winners were Peggy Miller and Jason Krempa.

Planners expected to consider outdoor dining site at Red Osier, sizeable campground on Perry Road in Pavilion

By Mike Pettinella

The Genesee County Planning Board is in for a busy night on Thursday with an agenda featuring 17 referrals, including a proposal to build an outdoor dining space at the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford and another to develop a 346-site campground and recreation area on Perry Road in Pavilion.

The meeting will take place at 7 o’clock via Zoom videoconferencing.

Owners Timothy Adams and Steven Foster have submitted a site plan and request for a special use permit to place an outdoor dining pavilion at the rear of the Red Osier property on Route 5.

Plans call for the covered shelter to be set on a 30- by 40-foot concrete pad to the south of the restaurant. The owners also are looking to add a portable 12- by 24-foot manufactured shed for storage and aesthetics, adding that the dumpster will be relocated away from that area and also will be on a concrete pad and fenced in.

Preliminary word is that planning department staff suggests approval of the referral, stating that the proposed pavilion and improvements should pose no significant countywide or intercommunity impact.

Jesse Coots, of Le Roy, submitted a site plan and is asking for a special use permit to create and operate the campground at 10156 Perry Road. The plan calls for building it in two phases, using 20 to 30 acres of a 94-acre parcel that is zoned Agricultural-Residential. Currently, the land consists of woodland and farm fields.

Approval with modification is recommended by planning staff, who are asking the board to require the applicant to provide proof that there will be no adverse impact upon wetlands and to obtain a stormwater permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Other referrals include the following:

  • Rezoning of 211 E. Main St., Batavia, from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) for consistency purposes prior to demolition of Cary Hall and eventual construction of the Healthy Living Campus joint venture between the GLOW YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center.

Currently, Cary Hall is not being used. It formerly housed medical offices and, before that, was the home of the McAuley School of Practical Nursing.

County planning staff has determined that the zoning change is not inconsistent with the City of Batavia’s comprehensive plan adopted in 2017 and should go forward.

  • A site plan review of a new liquor store at 9 E. Main St., Corfu, to be owned and operated by Brittany Schafer.

In documents submitted by Schafer, she plans to call the business Brittany’s Booze Barn and be open from the hours of 1 to 8 p.m., hopefully by July 4. It is in a Commercial-Residential District with existing residential space upstairs.

Planning staff recommends approval.

  • A special use permit to develop a 5-megawatt community solar project at 7209 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, just south of Route 262, covering half of a 55-acre parcel owned by CY Properties LLC.

Documents state that NY CDG Genesee I LLC, of Acton, Ontario, Canada, is planning to install about 16,400 solar panels on 200 free standing tracking solar table modules, as well as new electrical equipment, accessories, concrete pads for equipment and new gravel access drive.

The land is zoned Business and Agricultural-Residential.

A letter from LaBella Associates, representing the solar group, indicates that a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement through the Genesee County Economic Development Center will be requested.

County planning staff has determined that since the project will be on prime farm land, the applicant should relocate the portion of the driveway and equipment pad currently proposed through the middle of the field to the edge of the field or amend the decommissioning plan to minimize the impact on the soil.

  • A special use permit request by Tanya Peal to operate a one-chair hair salon in her home at 1 Farnsworth Ave., Oakfield, in a Residential District. Her paperwork indicates that customers will be received on an appointment-only basis and she has room to park four vehicles.

The recommendation of county staff is for approval.

  • An area variance for Rochester Regional Health to modify the size of parking spaces from 10- by 20-feet to 9- by 18-feet at the site of its proposed 140,000-square-foot medical office building at 8103 Oak Orchard Road, Batavia – north of the Thruway exit. The change would increase the number of parking spots from 360 to 432.

Consultants for RRH state that the modification will allow the required amount of onsite parking to be provided, while satisfying the town’s request for an access agreement along the northern boundary of the site. The access requirement reduces slightly the space for parking, resulting in the need to go to a 9 by 18 parking spot configuration.

Planning staff has determined that the proposed variance should pose no significant countywide or intercommunity impact.

Consultant: Zoning change needed before Cary Hall can be taken down to make room for Healthy Living Campus

By Mike Pettinella

Before Cary Hall at 211 E. Main St. can come tumbling down, the land that it sits on needs to be rezoned, according to the consultant representing the GLOW YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center in their efforts to construct a new Healthy Living Campus in Downtown Batavia.

David Ciurzynski of Ciurzynski Consulting LLC, of Attica, has petitioned City Council to change the zoning of that parcel from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) in order to have all of the land involved in the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative project under the same zoning designation.

P-2 refers to the current office medical building that is on the site originally occupied by the Cary Mansion, which was demolished in 1964 after nearly 150 years as a historical landmark.

“We have to take three or four parcels and combine them into one for the new building,” Ciurzynski said today. “It’s a commonplace process in projects such as this.”

The matter is on the agenda of Monday night’s City Council Special Conference and Business meetings.

A $30 million venture, the building will provide integrated services of the YMCA and UMMC, which is part of the Rochester Regional Health system. Construction is scheduled to start this fall and is expected to last into 2023.

The two-story facility will be situated on a stretch of land between the current YMCA and Wiard Street, covering 211 and 213 E. Main St. The parcel at 213 E. Main St., which once was the site of the Batavia Elks Home, is zoned C-3.

In his letter to City Council, Ciurzynski wrote that 211 E. Main St. “was likely kept as P-2 given the use of the building at the time of the zoning map changes.”

“The property was most recently used as a medical office building storage (it is empty now) and will be demolished to make room for the new GLOW YMCA/UMMC Healthy Living Campus upon approval of this rezone request," he wrote. "Upon completion of the new campus, the existing YMCA will be demolished.”

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, in a memo dated April 29 to City Council, advised that Council has the authority to refer matters such as these to the City Planning & Development Committee for review and recommendation. Thus, Council will consider a resolution drafted to make that happen.

Some history of 211 E. Main St., per a story on The Batavian, from 2012.

  • The Cary Mansion was sold to St. Jerome Hospital in 1959 and it was taken down with about 30 days' notice five years later per orders of the hospital’s board of directors;
  • The hospital began building a nursing school on the back of the property and then with very little notice decided to tear down the mansion to expand the nursing school, which was called the Catherine McAuley School of Practical Nursing. The program ran from 1963 to 1981.
  • In 2012, a marker commemorating the mansion site was erected. The inscription reads: 1817-1964. A gift to his wife by Trumbull Cary, merchant, bank founder, NYS senator and first Batavia treasurer. The marker was paid for by the William C. Pomeroy Foundation.
  • The building is now called Cary Hall and is owned by UMMC.

YMCA sets public fundraising goal of $1 million as Healthy Living Campus project moves forward

By Mike Pettinella
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With close to 80 percent of its fundraising goal of $14 million in hand, the principals of the Healthy Living Campus for Downtown Batavia this morning announced the start of a public “community challenge” to bring in an additional $1 million.

“Today, on behalf of the GLOW YMCA, I am excited to announce that we are launching the public phase of the “Transforming Lives” campaign,” said Rob Walker, chief executive officer of the GLOW YMCA. “This campaign will allow the Y to build a Healthy Living Campus in Downtown Batavia, in partnership with Rochester Regional Health’s United Memorial Medical Center.”

The $30 million project, which is a key component of the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award from New York State, will integrate services provided by the two entities under one extremely large roof. Construction is slated to begin this fall, with completion anticipated for some time in 2023.

The two-story building will cover a distance starting just east of the current YMCA and extending all the way to Wiard Street. Twenty thousand square feet of space will be available for hospital services and 60,000 square feet of space will be utilized by the YMCA.

Walker, during a 30-minute event for local media, said the YMCA “dedicated” volunteers have raised more than $11 million toward our $14 million fundraising goal.

“With us nearing the goal, we are now here to ask the community for support to help us reach our public phase goal of $1 million,” he said. “In addition, we are excited to share a donor match challenge. With the generous support of Peter Zeliff, we have a community challenge to support the new YMCA. Until September 2021, his support will match dollar-for-dollar all new gifts up to $500,000.”

Zeliff: We Need the Y for the Kids

Contacted by telephone this afternoon, Zeliff, chair of the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors and developer of the Oakwood Estates housing complex on East Main Street Road, said that in his view, it's all about providing opportunities for youth.

"I’ve lived in this area pretty much all of my life. I was born here and raised here, and I really think that this community needs the Y – mainly for kids," he said. "So, kids can have someplace to go and something to do. I believe in that project and I believe it will be good for Batavia and it will be good for Genesee County."

Zeliff said it is remarkable that $11 million has been raised thus far.

"When we started working on the Y project, myself and a bunch of other people thought that was an awful big ask for Genesee County residents to raise $14 million here. But, we’ve already raised over $11 million and that’s pretty amazing," he said.

Walker said that the timing of the project will “ultimately be determined by completion of the capital campaign.”

He then read a list of the planned services, starting with a state-of-the-art wellness center, indoor pool, group exercise studios, and gymnasium with indoor walking/running track.

Other features include a teaching kitchen, indoor playground, youth spaces, living room, and meeting rooms.

Integrated Services Under One Roof

“Our partnership with UMMC will provide primary care, behavioral health/crisis intervention services, telemedicine integration, cancer prevention outreach services, chronic illness services, and education services all in the same facility,” he said, noting that co-located services will include chronic disease management, rehabilitation, mental health, and community education.

“The new Y is for the children, adults, and families in our community. It will be a place for people from all walks of life to come together, gather and improve the quality of life,” he said.

UMMC President Dan Ireland predicted the Healthy Living Campus will be “a dynamic change to Downtown Batavia.”

“A thoughtful process has been undertaken to determine how to bring the right services that will complement each other,” he said. “So, as we look at our primary care center, which will grow and expand from what we offer today at Batavia Primary Care, it will allow more patient access, but also allow our doctors, our nurses, our resident physicians to leverage the work with the Y and integrate wellness and fitness into the regimens they use to care for patients.

“It’s a perfect match as we try to look holistically at people’s health to be able to then to work with Rob’s team to create ways and pathways for people to continue their journey to a healthier lifestyle.”

Ireland said an emphasis will be on cancer screenings, diabetic care, healthy eating, and education.

“There are a lot of ways to bring that all together, inclusive of our Baby Café, which will help breastfeeding moms – maybe the first time or subsequent times as they’re trying to work through the struggles that some people experience with breastfeeding, as well as leveraging from the childcare services that the YMCA offers for patients who are coming for visits at the hospital,” he explained.

Project Rep: Going for That Urban Feel

David Ciurzynski, design consultant and representative for both organizations, spoke about the look of the building prior to the fundraising appeal.

“We’re trying to bring in elements of the brick and the glass,” he said. “The brick is going to highlight the brick buildings and brick facades that we currently have on Main Street, Batavia – playing homage to the Seymour Building (GO ART! headquarters), which is a historic building. And then we have the glass and the panels, trying to mix of materials that give that urban feel – that modern, bright, fresh look that we want to achieve.”

Ciurzynski also reported on the last week’s initial site plan review by the City of Batavia Planning and Development Committee, stating the purpose was to help the PDC understand the status of the design process and to gain insight from the committee members.

“We are encouraged by their thoughtful questions and comments, such as the desire to enhance the project from Main Street,” he said. “We are working with the design team at CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) to develop concepts that enhance the entrance and Main Street courtyard. It is our hope that weather permitting, this courtyard can be utilized as an extension of our indoor program and activities.”

Board Director: A Transformative Build

Paul Marchese, chair of the Genesee Area YMCA Board of Directors, said he sees the campus as “the most transformative and impactive build in my history – and I’ve been living here all of my life.”

“I’m happy to support this project, which will significantly change Downtown. It is one of many investments that are going to reinvigorate Downtown. We think that our membership will significantly increase in factors. It is an amazing structure,” he said.

Walker said the YMCA was last renovated in 1975, He said he expects Downtown activity to triple once the campus is complete.

Plans call for the current YMCA to stay open until the new building is finished, meaning that there will be no disruption in services.

Others on hand for the announcement were Christopher White, chair of the GLOW YMCA Board of Directors; Paul Battaglia, capital campaign chair; and John Riter, capital campaign cochair.

Photo at top: Rob Walker addresses the media this morning. Middle: Walker and David Ciurzynski; Bottom: Dan Ireland and Walker. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

'A win-win for all of us.' Council enthused about prospect of YMCA running city's youth program

By Mike Pettinella


See a statement from the City Youth Board below this story.


City Council members tonight reminisced about their childhood days “hanging out at the Y” as they sent out positive vibes about a proposed four-year contract that would put the Genesee Area Family YMCA in charge of running city youth services.

After hearing from Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski that “the YMCA came in with the best price” and that cost savings to the city are projected at more than $60,000 annually over the next four years, Council Member John Canale and President Eugene Jankowski Jr. strolled down memory lane.

“I heard the YMCA is dying to build a brand-new outdoor city pool like we used to have when I was growing up,” Canale joked.

That prompted Jankowski to endorse the Y, illustrating his support by displaying his YMCA membership card from 1971 that he said he found during “COVID clean-out.”

“So, I was a member as a teenager myself. And now they mention they’re building a large new facility right in the middle of our downtown. So, they’re investing here,” Jankowski said. “This is like a win-win for all of us, including the most important people who are on my list for this whole project is the children themselves – our future – so they can have a place to go, like I had a place to go.”

Canale countered by pointing out that this offers “year-round availability to our local kids.”

“When you and I grew up, I remember distinctly hanging out at the Y, when it was the old building, and you’d just go there and hang out after school or on Saturday (and) shoot pool. They used to have three pool tables downstairs.”

Today, the YMCA is making plans to partner with United Memorial Medical Center for a Healthy Living Campus, a project supported by the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. It has expanded its services over the years and seems to be in excellent position to operate the city youth program efficiently and effectively.

City leaders decided to not staff their afterschool and summer recreation programs anymore after having to close the Liberty Center for Youth due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also due to budget constraints. They reached out via a request for proposal process to organizations that might be interested in providing these services and the YMCA got the nod.

A resolution outlining the formal agreement with the YMCA and another to dissolve a pact with Genesee County to provide a youth bureau executive director were forwarded to Council’s Business Meeting on March 8th for a vote.

“I believe this is the right way to provide the residents and youth and families this service, and I think that collaborating with the YMCA for the afterschool program (at the Liberty Center for Youth on the City Church St. Anthony’s campus) has worked out very well thus far,” Tabelski said. “They have been an excellent partner to us in the city.”

Jeff Townsend, district executive director for the GLOW YMCA, said the plan is “to incorporate all of our YMCA services into this new relationship with the city, including swimming at the Y … at our Liberty Center gymnastics center (on Liberty Street near Ficarella’s Pizzeria). We could incorporate gymnastics at the Liberty Center (for Youth) site that we’re currently partnering with the city on for school year programming.”

He said the Liberty Center could host summer programs as well.

“So, the parks could travel throughout the community and participate in some of our other area locations as well as traditional field trips – walking and busing – that’s already in the RFP plan,” he said. “I think that our plan is pretty robust and covering and ensuring that no less services will be provided and probably more services, in fact.”

Jankowski mentioned that other partnerships geared toward youth, such as the National Night Out, already are in place, and Townsend said the YMCA is willing to participate.

Townsend also answered “yes” to a question from Council Member Robert Bialkowski about the possibility of applying for grants to fund additional programs.

Tabelski, responding to a question from Council Member Rose Mary Christian on whether children from outside of the city can participate, said the city receives financial support from the Town of Batavia so its young people – as long as they attend Batavia City or parochial schools – would be able to take part.

Christian said she wouldn’t object to opening the city’s program to youth in surrounding towns and villages in Genesee County as long as the county pays an annual fee.

Following the meeting, Rob Walker, chief executive officer for the GLOW YMCA, said he is excited to partner with the city to deliver summer recreation program at four city parks – John Kennedy, Farrall, Lambert and Williams – and continuing to provide services at the Liberty Center for Youth.

“We bring a tremendous amount of abilities and talents from our organization. We are the leader in youth development and we’re looking forward to a great relationship,” he said.

Walker said the YMCA can offer “enhancements” beyond the scope of the contract because they have a complete facility and the gymnastics center.

“We’re going to take full advantage of all the resources the Y has to enhance what currently has been done in the past," he said.

Healthy Living Campus Advances

Asked about the status of the Healthy Living Campus, Walker said Clark Patterson Lee has been hired as the architect, and the hospital (United Memorial Medical Center) and the Y are moving forward.

“We’ve crossed the $11 million mark in fundraising (the goal is $14 million) and plan on moving forward this fall with construction,” he said. “The community has been amazingly supportive of our project.”

He acknowledged that the coronavirus set the project back a bit.

“Obviously, COVID slowed our efforts down as we had to shift to the needs of the community, which we did, providing emergency childcare and other programs like Y Academy. But we’re back, focused on the project and the goal is to have it open at the end of next year,” he said.

Previous: Interim city manager touts major savings should Council go with Genesee YMCA to provide youth services

Photo: Leading the GLOW YMCA's effort to contract with the City of Batavia to provide youth services beginning April 1 are, from left, Charitie Bruning, childcare and camp director; Jeff Townsend, district executive director; Rob Walker, chief executive officer. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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