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‘Beaver Alley’ pitch in Albion not intended as innuendo

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 July 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – I’ve heard people joke about it before, some of the distinctively unique street signs we have in Orleans County, signs that show you’re clearly in a rural community.

Woodchuck Alley in Kendall tops the list. But I also like Johnny Cake Lane in Barre, Zig Zag Road in Gaines and Beaver Alley in Albion.

People get a kick out of these signs, and I’ve thought people would buy replicas. Call me crazy, but I’ve been brainstorming possible merchandise that promotes the area and makes a little money for some of the business owners.

I’m the chairman for the street-scape subcommittee in Albion. We’ve been tasked with coming up with a plan for spending a $50,000 NY Main Street grant.

One the projects calls for replacing the green street signs in the historic district. We don’t have a final design approved by the state DOT or the historic preservation officials yet, but we’d like the signs to be blue and white, with “Historic Albion” in a box above the street name. We thought this would help “brand” the historic district, make it stand out from the other streets.

I also thought we could have replicas made of these street signs and they might sell at the local stores, especially if we create a more inviting and interesting downtown.

I talked about this during several Village Board meeting last fall and winter. I mentioned I thought the Beaver Alley sign would be a hot-seller. Apparently I chuckled when I said this, and some folks in the audience at one of meetings thought I was making a perverse joke.

This was brought up at the Village Board meeting two weeks ago by residents Mark and Rhonda Parker. They chastised the board for laughing at what the Parkers took as sexual innuendo. Last night Trustee Eileen Banker told the Parkers she was “appalled” by their accusations. Banker asked me during the meeting what my intentions were in wanting to promote Beaver Alley.

I told her and the board I wasn’t making a sexual reference, that I thought the sign, given the street’s oddball name, could actually be a popular piece of merchandise.

I laughed during the meeting a few months ago because I knew there was a chance some people would find the idea of people buying replica street signs a little bizarre. I was nervous the Village Board wouldn’t take the idea seriously. But I do think some people would buy “Beaver Alley” because it’s an unusual name that is uniquely Albion.

The Parkers have attended the past two Village Board meetings, urging the board to take action against Village Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti for what they claim is selective enforcement of the codes.

They have started a “Fix Albion” Facebook page and presented a list of recommendations to Mayor Dean Theodorakos for improving Vendetti’s job performance. Theodorakos told the Parkers he supports Vendetti.