Dec 27, 2006 Martha E. Conway Uncategorized
The Chittenango area saw its share of comings and goings this year. Numerous businesses packed up their storefronts and left town, many pointing to the two-year road construction project as the chief cause of their loss of clientele. Leaving were Lori’s Dancewear, Chittenango Variety and Craft and Roma’s Pizzeria, to name a few. Others moved in, such as the Oneida Indian Nation-owned Name Brand Deals in the former Ames plaza and the newly built Dollar General across the street from the Salvation Army Thrift Store.
On the flip side, low-key “activists” are putting their heads together and forming groups with tremendous potential. One such bunch is the local snowmobile enthusiasts who banded together to form the Chittenango Polar Bears Snowmobile Club. The group is partnering with other clubs to expand its network and trail prospects.
Another such grassroots initiative is the Chittenango Village Image Committee, which is working to encourage the establishment of a plan to make village amenities more uniform, instead of “spot fixes” that beautify limited areas.
At the county level, Citizens for Responsible Government filed an Article 78 proceeding against Madison County and the Madison County Board of Supervisors. The group wants to see a change in the county’s meal and mileage reimbursement policy, with better justification for such expenditures. In addition, the suit alleges the Board of Supervisors has been holding meetings in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law. The parties will return to court in January.
New Yorkers for Verified Voting have been vocal about the potential problems in the changeover from lever voting machines to computerized systems. They have joined the League of Women Voters in endorsing optical scanning equipment, which they say is more reliable and verifiable.
In no particular order, here are some of the top stories from the village of Chittenango and the town of Sullivan this year.
Becker replaces Gladney
John M. Becker, a dairy farmer from the Canaseraga Road area, took the helm in the town of Sullivan. Becker defeated Councilman John Brzuszkiewicz in a Republican Party primary in September 2005 after long-time Supervisor John Gladney announced his intent not to run late that summer. Gladney had served the town in the top seat for more than two decades.
Becker, who was sworn in at a ceremony held at Bolivar Road Elementary School Dec. 23, has made it his mission to bring sewers to residents in the Bridgeport area. The town arranged a tour for local, state and federal legislators to show them what Sullivan has to offer and to share its vision for the future. The effort was made to help secure funding to support the Bridgeport sewer initiative.
The town held a contest this year to encourage community input in designing an official logo for the town. Also underway at the town is the development and installation of numerous sewer districts and water districts. Becker also spearheaded a contest this year to encourage community input in designing an official logo for the town.
Five years in the making
After working for years to get the Harbor Lights Business Park, formerly known as the Sullivan Business Park, ready for occupation, the Sullivan Town Council sold two parcels in the Route 31 project this summer.
Blanding Plumbing Inc. and Lakeside Innovative Technologies should be fully operational out of their new locations during 2007. LIT owner Robert Hulchanski, who residents just minutes from the new location for his job shop/manufacturing and machining business, said he has been renting space in the East Syracuse area.
“I live right here in the community, and I’ve lived here for 25 years now,” Hulchanski said. “Being a member of the community and a Rotarian, I am excited about development coming to the area. The park is going to grow and give a boost to the community. I decided I wanted to be a part of that excitement instead of just sitting back and watching.”
“It’s great to have a guy like Bob come aboard,” Becker said. “I think he can really be the next Manth Brownell of Chittenango.”
David Blanding, who operates his business from a Route 31 location across the road from Rogue’s Roost said he also is excited to have the opportunity to spread out and get his fleet and inventory indoors.
“I really like it down there,” Blanding said. “I wanted to stay in the area.”
SCC celebrates golden anniversary
The Sullivan Community Council, a body that works with the town’s Parks & Recreation Department to help develop programming, celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer with a “Good Olde Days” celebration in Sullivan Park. The event featured carnival-type games, face painting, balloon sculptures and inflatable bouncy toys, and the Rotary Club Chuck Wagon served refreshments to the starving masses at 1956 prices. Parks & Recreation Director Justin Pokines said there are about 150 people who volunteer their time to the SCC and the Parks Department.
Tire dump fenced in
In an effort to end the dumping of tires at the former Title Town Tires business owned by Carl Dennis Tornatore on Pine Ridge Road, town officials worked with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to erect a fence around the property.
The DEC received an order from Madison County Supreme Court, and the fence went up at summer’s end.
Some neighbors report the dumping, though greatly diminished, continues.
Birthday boy makes donation
For his 10th birthday May 14, Brett Buyea decided he had enough of everything, so he asked party guests to bring non-perishable food items to help benefit the Sullivan Food Cupboard.
Buyea collected 93 cans of soup, fruit and vegetables and 62 packaged food items. He also collected medicine, coffee, cleaning products, personal items and snacks.
Food pantry donations tend to slack off after the holidays, and the organization was grateful to get the springtime donation.
Board proposes Route 31 zone change
With the goal of making some dilapidated former businesses on Route 31 more desirable, town councilmen asked members of the town planning board to sketch out a possible plan to expand property uses along a section of Route 31 between Lakeport and Bridgeport.
After receiving negative feedback from some area residents, Becker appointed a citizen’s task force to come up with an alternative plan to the proposed Neighborhood Business Zone. The group, under the facilitation of Brzuszkiewicz, recommended a new comprehensive plan and localized study be performed.
The town council has asked the planning board to review the suggestions of the task force and render a response.
State road construction project completed
Mayor Bob Freunscht announced at the regular November meeting of the Village Board of Trustees that the state road construction through the village’s downtown business district finally has come to a close.
Lampposts and streetlights were installed and wired this fall, and the Greater Sullivan Chamber of Commerce purchased decorative season banners to adorn them. In addition, Freunscht’s longtime dream of having a village clock was realized by the Chittenango Rotary Club, which donated $25,000 for the purchase.
Ornate trash receptacles were the finishing touch on the refurbished downtown.
Racial slurs lead to trial date
A Pine Ridge Road man was charged with multiple counts of second-degree aggravated harassment after painting racial epithets on an outbuilding on his property.
Edward Morris told Eagle Newspapers that he wrote the racist and threatening message on the newly constructed shed. Reports in other newspapers quote members of the Morris household as saying the messages were directed at a particular neighbor and not the black or Italian communities as a whole.
Morris, 59, will go on trial at 9 a.m. Jan. 8.
Ellstrom scores a trifecta
The third edition of SUMMERPLAY, written and directed by retired English teacher Greg Ellstrom, was a smashing success, playing to packed houses in back-to-back weekend performances in July.
Word on the street is that Ellstrom has already begun being hounded to start work on 2007’s SUMMERPLAY project.
Harbor View community moves forward
The Sullivan Town Board gave its first nod to a second high-end residential development on Fisher Bay in August.
Michael Mastriano’s proposal for luxury townhomes has received several approvals and even received DEC approval to begin bank work late this year.
The project will consist of about 100 homes with shared green space. Homebuyers would own only the footprint of land on which the building rests.
According to town attorney Donald Colella, the DEC is the lead agency on the State Environmental Quality Review due to its proximity to Oneida Lake. He said the planning board would be responsible for evaluating the impacts of traffic, lighting and other factors.
Oot Quarry on shaky ground
Quarry Road residents turned out in droves to a Sullivan Town Planning Board public hearing Oct. 9. The crowd was there in response to a proposal by Oot Brothers Construction, which wants to transform into a quarry a piece of property near the intersection of Creek and Cottons roads south of Route 5 east of the village.
After hearing from residents for some time that evening, Chairman Frank Park adjourned the public hearing to the Nov. 13 meeting. Numerous residents spoke out against the project again at that time.
There is conflicting documentation as to the zoning designation of the property, which has been alternately identified as agricultural and industrial. The process has come to a standstill pending action by Oot Brothers to obtain a special use permit or to bring in legal counsel.
The face-off has brought the proposed project to a halt, at least for now.
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