As we approach the New Year, it is befitting to reflect on 2006 and remember lessons learned, optimism gained and the many other triumphs and tribulations the year brought us.
Active members of the greater Baldwinsville community would know that one of this year’s most talked about accomplishments was the opening of The Red Mill Inn, a triumph by owners Jake McKenna and Jay Bernhardt in design, historical preservation and economic energy.
The inn has helped to strengthen the village of Baldwinsville, while others have sought to tear it apart.
Over the summer, Baldwinsville resident Jon Alvarez sought signatures to create a referendum to dissolve the village government. After failing to obtain signatures from one-third of the registered voter population in support of the petition, the village remained safe, intact and able to flourish.
Highlights in news
Bernhardt and McKenna not only brought Baldwinsville the inn, but they also created buzz about a new industry, namely carp fishing. Baldwinsville will host the ACS Regional Carp Tournament this coming spring.
Environmental Design and Research, a consulting firm hired by the village to analyze the business district, made their recommendations to the village board in February. The results have initiated various projects in the village including a walkway and the tearing down of the Old Harrington Firehouse to create increased public space.
In the spring, the YMCA of Greater Syracuse announced plans to build a 70,000 to 80,000 square foot facility on a 21-acre parcel of land situated on the corner of Route 31 and Drake’s Landing in the town of Lysander. The “Northwest Family YMCA” will be designed to meet the growing needs of residents in the northwestern suburbs of Syracuse.
Details of Lysander’s transfer of development rights program, an innovative approach to preserving farmland, managing development growth and providing farm owners with a type of retirement plan, were finally hammered out and presented to the public this past fall.
News of the vision in Van Buren came to light in January. Jacob Wright, president of HeadRush Inc., and partners are currently working on a state of the art family entertainment complex near the 690 and Thruway intersection. The complex will include skateboarding, motocross, paintball, a water park and hotel suites.
After four years of negotiations and unsuccessful contracts, the three municipalities (Baldwinsville, Lysander and Van Buren) were finally able to secure a contract with Time Warner Cable this past fall.
And the Lysander town offices moved to their new home at 8220 Loop Road in July, leaving the Lock Street building on the market for $800,000.
From assessments to one way streets to zone and land use changes, residents poured into meeting rooms to share concerns with town and village board members. The Lysander and Baldwinsville boards heard numerous complaints about increased assessments, and signs reading “Where’s the lake?” popped up all over Baldwinsville.
Residents of Royal Scarlet Drive in Radisson formed the Royal Scarlet Association to argue against a land use change on Willett Parkway to prevent apartment buildings from being constructed near single-home residential properties. The group’s efforts paid off as the developer withdrew the petition.
River Street residents unsuccessfully challenged the Baldwinsville board with opposition to a one-way street proposal, a recommendation made by Environmental Design and Research to make room for a public walkway along the Seneca River. And Van Buren residents made their concerns clear to the board when a development was proposed near Lions Community Park this past spring.
Never a dull moment
From the Taste of Baldwinsville to the Kiwanis Turkey Day Races, 2006 had its fair share of community events for all to enjoy.
The Baldwinsville Volunteer Center’s annual fundraiser, Taste of Baldwinsville, highlighted many of the community’s most delectable offerings including Ironwood Chef Larry Brunger’s award-winning prime rib sandwiches and Tabatha’s Family Tree restaurant’s potato chowder. The event raised a total of $13,500 from the auction proceeds alone.
Baldwinsville’s annual Memorial Day celebrations highlighted youth in the community, including Grand Marshall Brett Packard and President of the Day Ashley Rowland. “The committee decided this year to focus on young people that are giving back or have given service to our country,” said Sarah Baker, co-coordinator of the Baldwinsville Memorial Day Committee.
Paige’s Butterfly Run, held in memory of Paige Arnold-Yeoman, an 8-year-old who lost her battle with leukemia in 1994, was held for the ninth year at Palmer Elementary School in May. The successful event raised $108,000 this year.
The summer brought Baldwinsville numerous concerts and activities on Paper Mill Island including the Seneca River Days hosted by the Baldwinsville Rotary Club. The July 7 weekend of SRD bustled with pastimes like the Kidz Karnival, The Neptunes water ski show, the Great Seneca River Duck Race, music and fireworks.
Beaver Lake Nature Center hosted a plethora of events including the annual Golden Harvest Festival.
The community put its best foot forward for Celebrate Baldwinsville, held Sept. 22 and 23, with performances by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild and Baker High School’s Silk & Satin and activities by various community organizations.
“The goal of Celebrate Baldwinsville is to highlight the accomplishments and people of the community and provide a venue for many of the local organizations and not for profits to raise funds for their own organizations,” said Barb Godfrey, president of the Celebrate Baldwinsville Foundation.
The CB committee also held the recent tree lighting ceremony at The Red Mill Inn, a highly successful event even with the change of venue from the Old Harrington Firehouse. And we can’t forget about the Vera House North Holiday Gathering held at the Croucher Home this year.
Interesting happenings in B’ville
The Baldwinsville Women’s Garden Club brought Veterans Day at Canal Park – Blue Star Memorial Dedication thanks to the Baldwinsville Women’s Garden Club and various other volunteers.
This past summer, the Allen Family of Seneca Knolls left Baldwinsville on a family trip to drive across the country in their family car. Once they reached their destination, they planned to sell their car and ride their bike built for four back home to Baldwinsville. Although the whole family was unable to complete the entire trip, the adventure they shared with us was interesting nonetheless.
We learned about buried history rediscovered with both a long forgotten cemetery along Van Buren Road and the resting place of a Revolutionary War soldier.
Mother and daughter team Helen and Derry Page shared the history of Hardscrabble Cemetery on Van Buren Road, which holds 39 individuals buried between 1805 and 1862. Up until recently, the field was used to plant crops.
Newhall Earle’s distant granddaughter, Pamela English, located his grave in the Sorrell Hill Cemetery and honored the soldier who served in the Revolutionary War with a Revolutionary War Grave Marker May 20.
Baldwinsville is also home to an intergenerational pair that raced across America this past summer in a faithful 1940 Chevrolet Business Coupe named Stovbolt. John Hudson and his grandson, Scott, participated in the annual coast to coast endurance race that began in Philadelphia and ended in San Rafael, California. The race commemorates the greatest auto race to date held in 1908 with a starting point of New York City and destination of Paris, France — approximately 22,000 miles)
A look at our youth and the BCSD
The Baldwinsville Central School District had an exciting year, most recently with two students Ryan Calkins and Ryan Kratz, who each scored a perfect bowling game within one week of the other. The Baldwinsville varsity cheerleading team was named Grand Champions of the day and received first place in their division during the March 25 Cheerleading Championships in Virginia.
Last, but certainly not least, the Baker High School marching band was invited to the Gator Bowl in Florida. After holding several fundraisers this past year, the band is currently traveling to their destination, having left Wednesday Dec. 27.
“It’s quite an honor to be invited to the Gator Bowl,” said Trustee Howard Tupper back in April.
The Baldwinsville Community Scholarship Foundation handed out a record breaking $110,000 in scholarships to Baker High School seniors this past May during the moving up day ceremony.
The Baldwinsville School Board passed a wellness policy in May to institute healthy changes in the district. The policy included a major recommendation to eliminate food rewards in school, in addition to other goals such as teaching students about proper portion sizes, how to read a food label, the ill-effects of obesity and how to calculate body mass index. The wellness council also received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to initiate a bagged-breakfast pilot that ran from September through November at Elden Elementary School.
Welcoming the new kids to town
The Messenger staff met with various businesses in 2006, all with fantastic accomplishments and goals. Let’s welcome all the new members of the business district team that brought a variety of flavors to the corridor this year. They are The Red Mill Inn and owners McKenna and Bernhardt; The Canal Walk Caf (c) and owner Dawn Custer; Venus Hair Studio and Spa and owner Ayn Anderson; Cottage Designs and owner Deb Case; Foxfire Golf Club and owner Jim Nobles (also Eagle Manor Restaurant and operator Pat Mahar); The Seneca Goldsmith and owner Donald Aiello; B&H Automotive and owners Bob and Holly Ortolani; Bello Vino and owners Gale and Kris McArdell; Shamballa Caf (c) and Coffee Roasters and owners Emmet and Jean Simpson; Dawn’s Kiddy Kingdom and owner Dawn Lauer; Coffee and Wine Gallery at Mohegan Manor and owner Dennis Sick; Liquor Express and owner Jim Patel; Edward Jones and Financial Advisor Bill Braun; Mirage Salon and owner Lori Kilborne; and North Star Natural Health Center and owner Dr. Joan Coff.
And with that, all can now look forward to what 2007 holds.