Jun 27, 2014 Tami Scott Uncategorized
“Is being mayor what you expected it to be so far?”
That’s the first question I asked Richard “Dick” Clarke, Baldwinsville’s new mayor elected in March.
“It’s different,” he said, adding it’s been busier than he expected.
With that said, Mayor Clarke is enjoying his new role.
“Ninety-nine percent of the things I’m involved with are positive things that the village is doing. It’s pats on the back for jobs well done,” he said. “I’m a good news kind of person as opposed to looking at the bad side of things. But unfortunately, I’m sure there will be things that come along where I’ll have to grit my teeth – I don’t enjoy that part of it.”
But so far, so good. He commented on the board, reflecting on its value and the consideration each member has for one another: “We all deal with the same question: What’s the best thing we can do for our citizens? Everybody kind of holds to that [which] makes it pretty enjoyable.”
Clarke said he works an average of 22 to 23 hours a week, about three to five hours more than what is typically expected for the position.
Village maps, a boat launch
Mayor Clarke said the village is trying to come up with a map of the Four Corners and the business district, particularly for parking purposes. This would benefit not only village residents, but also business owners who could email a digital map to potential customers traveling from another area.
In addition to a parking map, the mayor mentioned creating a map for the village trails, too. He would eventually like to include all key areas in the canal village, including the police department, the post office and the hardware store, on a handy sheet that visitors could easily obtain.
The mayor is also talking to the New York State Canal Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority, about adding a boat launch at Community Park, as well as a canoe/kayak launch and expanding the Visitor Center to include a bathhouse with showers, bathrooms and possibly a couple wash machines and dryers.
“[The Canal Corp] is trying to do whatever they can to enhance people’s experience on the canal,” Clarke said. “It’s acknowledged that the canal is a significant factor in many, many communities and Baldwinsville is as significant as any of them.”
Indeed, it is. The mayor commented on all the recent development along the river, and said weekly, he takes a walk to the docks to find out what boaters have to say about B’ville.
“The people who stop here have nothing but wonderful things to say about our village. They love watching the people fish off the bridge … they talk about the restaurants …,” he said, and then remarked on his own observations as a longtime village resident. “The sunset on Paper Mill Island. You don’t even realize you’re in the village … I’m almost afraid that some of our people don’t take advantage of it. There’s a lot of reasons not to have to leave Baldwinsville.”
As mayor, Clarke said he’s also been invited to a lot of functions either as a guest or a speaker. In doing so, he is reminded of the many volunteers the village boasts year round and is appreciative of their time and generous spirit.
“You realize in a village like this, any community, you’ve got to have volunteers or your community is not going to succeed with all the things they want to do. You just look around at the Christmas Bureau, the other events that go on during the year that volunteers step forward [to do] …,” he said. “We couldn’t pay people to do all that; we wouldn’t have a budget for it. But they do it because they like the village and they like the experiences that I am talking about, where people come up and tell you ‘thanks, you told me to go to this place, it was wonderful.’ You feel good. This is where I live. I’m a part of Baldwinsville. I can do my little piece to make it better, and we have so many people that add [their] pieces that it really fills in the whole puzzle.”
“I can’t speak about other communities,” he added. “I just know that I have a lot of love and passion for our community. I’m in the right position to get the most out of that feeling.”