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Column: Not a Pleasant Sight for Sore Eyes

It is spring, finally, and there is plenty to comment upon, but I find one issue keeps jumping to the forefront. On a recent weekend when the weather was beautiful, I walked from the Highbridge Road end of the Village south towards the swan pond and back. I started thinking “It is time to update my Facebook photos;” since I did not have my camera with me, I walked with an eye to view what pictures I would want to take the next time I had my camera.

I must be blunt – this end of the village (north of the swan pond) is downright ugly. Imagine coming into the Village for the first time and being greeted by the wasteland existing at the Intersection of Highbridge and Fayetteville Roads. (We had a construction site like this near where I grew up, and we called it “the junkyard.”) The debris here has been neatly bulldozed into several high piles, yet leaving unsightly concrete rubble, boulders and bare earth exposed to view. Apparently an effort has been made to plant some annual rye grass to cover bare spots, and it has started to grow. However, the weeds have started to grow also. This will be the third summer we have lived with this eyesore.

If this is a construction site, where is the construction? Fortunately, Mayor Whorrall hit the ground running in announcing a new developer – Morgan Management of Rochester. Reassurances about the integrity of the design have been issued, and one would hope no stopgap compromises were negotiated. Is it too late to promote more optimal use for a section of real estate that is the gateway to the village? Are we going to be stuck with foregone and non-negotiable decisions?

Also, I wonder about the name “Madison Row” for the project. How exactly does “Madison” relate to Manlius? Is naming the prerogative of the developer or of Manlius? A name that ties in more closely with recognizable local prominence would have more value for promotion purposes, synergy with local themes and history.

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