Apr 29, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
The topic at the Camillus Village Merchant’s meeting last week was clear: how can the Village be revitalized?
The meeting was among the first of monthly gatherings of Village and community leaders and business and property owners, aimed toward creating a plan of action to pump interest and profitability back into the Village.
Maren King, the assistant director of SUNY ESF Center for Community Design Research, presented the group with an in-depth look at creating a plan for making community an all around positive place to live, work, and visit. King outlined the process of creating a Vision Plan, stating that developing a plan would not only provide structure to the process but would serve as a way to bring the community together.
Though the group agreed the Village was in need of revitalization, the process of plotting a course of action lead to some debate.
We’re stuck on getting the ball rolling, Mayor Tom Grant told King.
We can put this vision together, have a nice design, then we have to hope a person with money comes along. Where does that person come from?
Roger Pisarek, First Ward Councilor for the Town of Camillus pointed out the vision doesn’t have to be down to the color of the last brick.
The underlying question was whether it would be financially responsible to commit time and energy to creating an extensive Vision Plan without first securing the funds to support implementing such a plan.
Grant presented the strategy he favored – a two-phase plan in which inexpensive improvements could be made immediately while a more extensive plan was developed and funds secured.
Among the first planned changes to be made are improved signage along roadways leading into the Village, planting flowers and tress, and the clearing of debris, both along sidewalks and roadways.
I’m willing to put this plan together, get something started and get something done, Grant said.
Though many attendees shared his sense of eagerness, some were hesitant to jump to action too quickly, for fear of wasting time and money on short-term changes that would not coincide with the long-term plan.
One thing the group agreed on, was that a clear and relatively detailed vision plan would be necessary to successfully apply for grants to fund the project.
Architect Toni Kleist was present to help clarify a facade matching grant program to business and property owners. Mary Popovich, who owns the building housing Flowers Down Under and Shear Impressions, has already been approved for the grant and encouraged other property owners to apply.
Don Laxton, representing the Greater Camillus Chamber of Commerce, also was present to extend free Chamber membership to Village businesses owners.
Another meeting is planned for May, to discuss design ideas.