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Albion adds downtown program coordinator

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Sid Beaty will work for free, teaming with merchants

Photo by Tom Rivers – Sid Beaty is working the next two months for free as a program coordinator for the village of Albion. The village may turn the position into a paid role in the future.

ALBION – Sid Beaty has talked with downtown business owners and village officials. She hears a lot of good ideas about historic walking trails, a concert series, a farmers’ market, and other events to promote the community.

The merchants have tried to plan some events, but the challenge of running their own enterprises has made it difficult to devote time to outside projects.

Beaty, 23, will work to turn some of those ideas into reality. She agreed to work the next two months for free as a program coordinator for the village. The position could turn into a paid role in the future.

“We’re excited to have someone who is a direct link to the village,” said Carolyn Ricker, owner of Bindings Bookstore and president of the Albion Merchants Association. “She will be helpful to get some of these things done.”

Ricker and the downtown merchants have spent months trying to put together a map of the downtown, highlighting different businesses and attractions. That project has lagged without someone being fully committed to it. Ricker was happy to hand that off to Beaty, who isn’t a stranger to the area.

Her parents, Anne and Bruce Beaty, have a cottage at Point Breeze. Beaty typically would spend three or four months a year in Orleans County. She is the granddaughter of the late Dick Eddy, a long-time community leader in Albion. Beaty is named for Dick’s father, Sid Eddy.

She earned a degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University in May 2012. She sees a lot of potential in Albion, especially Main Street and the downtown area, which is named to the National Register of Historic Places.

“Albion has beautiful buildings, it’s pedestrian friendly and there is mixed use,” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunities down here.”

During an internship about three years ago with the Albion Main Street Alliance, Beaty decided to switch her career plans, changing from a math/science major to planning.

Since graduation from Cornell, she has worked in Utica with an initiative that turns vacant city lots into green space and gardens. She also worked for an engineering firm in Ithaca, working on applications to attain energy efficiency standards for the company’s projects.

She was drawn to the chance to work for free in Albion because the job is more in line with her career goals, trying to draw commerce to a historic district.

“This is the kind of work that I love to do in a place that I love,” Beaty said this afternoon from the village office, where she will be based.

She finished up an application today for arts funding to help pay for entertainment for a downtown concert series next year. She also is helping to coordinate a Beggar’s Night event near Halloween.

She is talking with merchants about bringing in downtown speakers that would play music in the business district. The Village Board wants her to solicit feedback from the merchants.

Next month some of the businesses will start having extended hours on Thursdays, staying open until 7 p.m. Beaty will help them promote the later hours.

Some merchants would like to have a movie night in the downtown, perhaps using a building wall as the screen. Some community members have pitched the idea of a 5K race and other events.

“There are a lot of good ideas out there,” she said. “I’m going to help provide the follow-up.”