This is the second in a multi-part opinion column by Alan Dolmatch on the Fennel Street Fire Station proposal. Dolmatch’s comments come from him as a village resident, not as a representative of the village government. The editor welcomes any and all submissions by local residents — as columns or as letters to the editor — who would like to express their opinions on this issue as well.
In 2003, the Village Board commissioned Environmental Design and Research (EDR) to perform a master planning study for Fennell Street which came to be known as the Fennell Street Master Plan (FSMP). The FSMP was accepted and endorsed by the village board and the village planning board but has yet to be materially implemented.
While several of the FSMP’s recommendations are parcel-specific and require ownership or control of properties not held or owned by the public for implementation, the plan advocated for a greater level of pedestrian-friendly streets achieved through reduction of curb-cuts, use of wider tree-lined streets accommodating curb-side parking, establishing a “build-to” edge of more uniformly set-back street-facing buildings and the development of a network of rear-lot parking facilities based on easements and cross-easements of street-fronting property.
The Fennell Street Master Plan shows the former fire station building continuing in existence but no longer being used as such with the apron between the building and the street as a park-like canopy of trees.
Fennell Street has a long history of being a “retail back street” of the village where village and town residents go to shop for necessities at larger volume stores (pharmacies and drug stores, grocery supermarket, small department store, hardware store, post office).
It is more vehicular than pedestrian-friendly, and despite its proximity to the bustling downtown of Genesee and Jordan Streets, it has not successfully drawn that pedestrian traffic around the corner and further west and north.