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Past, Present & Future

posted 2/5/15

Pam Ketchum, Chairperson, Pro-Brockport, sends this message: 
February 5, 2012

It might help us to gather energy and direction if we have a calm conversation about positive developments (recent past, present and near future) in Brockport. Whether it was watering the hanging baskets or fighting dissolution, major - and minor - issues have helped us to rally and work for the cause. 

I am wondering if you could think of and write down: 

 5 – 10 positive (in your estimation) items / issues / goals that were accomplished in the past year in the Brockport community and government. 
 5 – 10 positive items / issues / goals that are being worked on now. 
▪ 5 – 10 positive items / issues / goals that we would like the Village of Brockport (community and government) to accomplish in the next year or two. 

I am not interested in rehashing negative thinking. For example, we have a fire district; I don’t think it is productive to keep talking about the negatives of a fire district. We need to move on in a positive fashion to encourage the positive growth and development of the village. 

Perhaps putting a list together will help with the upcoming election and also help community members focus on where we want to go and not waste time on negative communication. 

Please consider sending your ideas to me to share with the entire group (anonymously, if preferred): 

Fax: 585-756-7557 
Mail: 91 Park Ave, Brockport, NY 14420 

“What are the positives in Brockport: past, present and future?” 
I appreciate everyone’s efforts in voicing ideas and considering this information to help us move forward in a positive and constructive fashion....Pamela Ketchum.

1. Sewer Fee / Radio Read Meters:
Sewer fee implemented and made it fair for all.
• Installation of easy radio read meters; not installing that equipment years ago cost village   
residents a small fortune. Now, we will be generating bills and collecting money faster and more efficiently. People who have leaks won’t have to wait months for their bills to show a problem.
2. Main Street:
• Reconstruction completed, ribbon cutting celebration and new store fronts on Main St. business district. All store fronts are open or soon to open. Brockport seems to be a good place to do business, unlike the Town of Sweden which has many vacant store fronts and vacant plaza spaces.
• Signs of growth in Brockport; 3 closed restaurants are now or soon will be opened (Stephen’s Loft, The Galley and the old Smokehouse). Full store fronts, including upscale shops and restaurants like Fountain of Youth Organics, A Different Part Art Gallery and Stephen’s Loft.
• Work with village shop owners – find out their needs and ideas for solutions.
3. Code Enforcement / Housing / Rentals:
• NY State Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled Brockport’s Housing and Building Code is constitutional.
• Landlords lost some control over the village.
• Rental registration fee that helps to offset the cost of operating the code enforcement office.
• Moving code enforcement office to law enforcement bldg. to create a more effective system for maintaining property standards, improving village code enforcement and taking the politics out of code enforcement.
• Housing Committee; all issues involved with housing are critical to safety and social and financial stability in the village. Directions include; genealogy for each historic house, cataloging abandoned houses, Habitat for Humanity projects (a home for someone who has ties to Brockport) and “work camp” (similar to the Rochester volunteer program that helps homeowners who are having a difficult time repair and maintain their homes and yards).
• Revisions to village codes to go to public hearing.
• Aim for annual rental registration fee to increase from the current $50/building to $50/apartment to help offset the cost of running the Code Enforcement Office.
• Require annual inspections of rental properties.
• Make sure all rental properties are “on the books” and all housing is used legally.
• Improve the “look” of Brockport housing – especially rental property.
• Referendum for code enforcement to be under the direction of law enforcement dept.
• Better living environments / development (thanks to Bill Andrews’ efforts obtaining grants as chair of the Historic Preservation Committee) of apartments above Main St. shops, continuing Mark Lewis’ efforts creating nice loft apartments.
4. Police Department:
• Police helping with code enforcement, more tickets written, less trash around and home violations being addressed.
• We continue to have a safe community to live in, work in and raise families in.
• Best Police Dept, quick response, professional, kind, caring. The Stetson Club which saved our budget last year and gives endlessly to the community.
5. Fire District / Ambulance:
• Ambulance Corps formed into independent 501c3.
• Fire District formed.
6. DPW:
• DPW contract negotiations.
• Smith St. Bridge reopens.
• Add mid-summer brush pickup.
7. Court:
• Village Court; village tax payers pay for the police dept. and tax payers should be reimbursed for the police dept’s efforts of maintaining safety and civility in the village.
• Parking tickets; record keeping and collection of fines.
• Village Court to help offset the cost of the Police Dept. and also better enforce the building codes and local laws. Establish the position of Village Judge. Collection of parking ticket fines.
8. Town / Gown / Nonprofits:
• Arbor Day planting in celebration of college’s 175th anniversary.
• Formal designation of Village of Brockport liaison to the college (a first).
• Pursuing PILOT fees from SUNY, Lakeside Heath Systems and other large nonprofits (LAI).
• Requiring an annual fee from SUNY for acquisition of Kenyon St. for a pedestrian mall.
• College interns (4, to date) doing some of the work with the village board.
• SUNY Bkpt. Anthropology Dept. faculty, students and grant to put Emily Knapp Museum artifacts on a database.
• Improve relationship with the college. Thank you to college faculty, administrators, employees and alumni who have worked hard to make Brockport a special place.
• Show incoming faculty / employees the opportunity and benefits of living in Brockport; enjoy a special village and be able to walk to work.
• Work with the college to find common interests, concerns (make a list) and solutions (make a list).
9. Art / Community Celebrations:
• Holiday parade and return of downtown holiday lights brought out huge crowds, the merchants did well and it was a morale booster for everyone.
• Hometown Heroes banners up in downtown Brockport.
• The Lift Bridge Bookstore mural and its dedication.
• Music at Welcome Center during the summer.
• Planning for celebrations; i.e. holiday parade, Fourth of July, Brockport Arts Festival, Sagawa Park and Welcome Center.
• Farmer’s Market on Sundays – make this a more viable, broader venue for gathering and celebration with music, good food and visiting with friends and neighbors. Every Sunday could be a “happening”.
• Support public art in Brockport; murals, sculpture, music concerts on the canal. Work with the college to get a film festival at the Strand Theater. Promote arts in Brockport with A Different Path Art Gallery as an anchor.
10. Leadership by Politicians and Community Members:
• Excellent, qualified people assuming leadership.
• Meetings held in the Middle School to get the issues out in the open and to find out what residents think.
• More (excellent) articulation of the issues.
• The beginning of Pro Brockport which gathered together people who are concerned about the future of Brockport.
• Margay Blackman – and Carol Hannan – were elected village trustees. Working together benefits the other trustees and the village as well.
• Hiring of Mike Giardino, Village Manager / Treasurer, who brings a level of professionalism to the village every day.
• The involvement of residents, not just landlords, attending meetings and following issues. We could always use more of this so interest doesn’t just “fade away”. This helps with morale.
• Talking to each other. Reaching out to evaluate ideas and get people thinking.
• Fact finding on issues affecting the village in a negative way and publicizing these issues. Uniting concerned people to work on ideas / problems to effect positive change.
• Increase membership of Pro Brockport.
• Elect 2 pro village trustees. Find qualified people to run for government office.
• Have citizen representation at all governmental meetings (Village and Town).
• Find someone to run against the present mayor and keep pro village control of the board. Election of a mayor in 2013 who supports the village.
• Squelch any dissolution movement.
• Dig deep to find out Sweden’s intent with regard to the village.
11. Volunteerism / Community Service:
• Working with people, who need to do community service through the local court system, whose abilities can be used for the maintenance and development of community gardens, litter pick up, clean up of graffiti, soup kitchens, etc.
• Watering the flower baskets on Main and Market Streets. Hanging baskets survived through the road construction.
• Instilling an understanding of and pride in our unique community.
• Food shelf, gathering table.
12. Economic Development / Grant writer / Fiscal Development:
• GBDC – Greater Brockport Development Corporation – if it can pull off Clinton St, will give the village a financial and emotional break from years of deterioration. Sell 60 Clinton St. to a developer and begin work.
• We are no longer a village in fiscal trouble. There is more work to be done but we have turned the page and are heading deeper into the black.
• Finding a replacement for Ryan’s grocery store at 73 N. Main St.
• Develop a strategic plan for Village including surrounding area.
• Create an Office for Community and Business Development.
• Make a plan for old Kleen Brite space.
• New village website and consolidation of IT services, addition of historic preservation website.
• Continue work on budget savings.
• Improve relationships with Towns of Clarkson and Sweden to promote regional planning.
• Grant writer, grants.
• Become more active in promoting and advertizing Canal tourism.
13. Lakeside:
• Support Lakeside Hospital.
• Review of health care services in Brockport.
14. Historic Preservation:
• Historic preservation and loft apartment workshop.
• Parking provisions for Main St. loft apartments.
• Additional houses designated as historic landmarks. Additional historic districts.
15. Parks / Tree Board / Community Gardens / Walk Bike Brockport:
• Downtown tree plantings, Welcome Center gardens, plans for the north side of the canal.
• Maintenance of landscaping at Remembrance Park, Brockport Village Hall, Sagawa Park. Donations to support plant purchases, $4,000 donated to support Arbor Day 2011.
• Brockport, a tree city for the 3rd year in a row.
• DEC grant awarded to Tree Board for 2012 and 2013 plantings. 17 trees planted on Arbor Day.
• Continue to develop Main St. garden squares and hanging baskets.
• Create policies and procedures for naming public spaces.
• Grant applications for tree inventory, gardens and historic preservation website.
• Develop and maintain the gardens on the north side of the canal across from the Welcome Center. Develop an office and activities of “Community Gardens”. More community involvement in beautifying the heart of the village.
• Further promote Walk/Bike Brockport.

One respondent had a nice way of organizing ideas and making goals:
• Someone being positive, congratulations
(goal - maintain it in the face of adversity)
• Election of Margay Blackman and Carol Hannan, two principled advocates for the community
(goal - find and elect equally competent persons in the future)
• Stephen's Loft
(goal - continue efforts to make Brockport a unique destination with things to see and do - and eat, of course)
• Announcement of Arts Festival coming back to Main St.
(goal - inclusion of the whole community in a single effort to make it the most successful ever and continue/increase involvement in future years.)
• Main St. Reconstruction completed
(goal - now if we can facelift the rest of Main St., get some civic pride going, it would be helpful - think and treat Main St. as one entity from village border to border.) Ex. could we encourage Main St. residences to spruce up some for the arts festival when lots of people come to town and will be influenced positively or negatively by what they see.
• Winter parade
(goal - repeat and see that the police department is rewarded with positive press for their many civic contributions in addition to their quality policing).
• The ambulance service is coming back and the Fire Department is getting organized
(goal - to insure the success of both as they start anew - again believe that they will be successful - move on. Looking backward accomplishes nothing except that negativity that needs to be avoided - and taxes will go up no matter who is running the show).
• Lakeside becoming less taken for granted as a result of Unity
(goal - encourage the community to consider Lakeside for more of their needs). Note: I know too many people fail to realize how convenient and how life-
changing having a community hospital close by is - somehow I doubt Unity will involve itself in the community like Lakeside does.
• Volunteerism Shines in Brockport
(goal to keep promoting all those persons who serve on boards, go door to door soliciting for worthy causes, coach teams and scouts, belong to service clubs, fire departments, etc.- also encourage more people to volunteer even if is only for an hour a week visiting someone in the nursing home).
Kudos to all of those College folks, alumni, retirees, those still working who continually help make Brockport special (Archie Kutz, Bill Andrews, Richard Black ex. of each)
(goal, use those connections to help break town the divide between the College and the Village that still seems to exist after 175 years - time to make bigger holes).