Medina Village Board not sitting idle with dissolution vote looming

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Village officials push forward several projects

File photo by Tom Rivers – The former Starlite Dry Cleaners has been vacant on Main Street in Medina since a fire damaged the building a decade ago. Environmental concerns have been a holdup in the site’s redevelopment.


MEDINA – One of the things I feared with the dissolution talk and impending vote in Medina is the Village Board would use it as an excuse to stand down and not push forward any projects.

Thankfully, the Village Board isn’t sitting around twiddling its thumbs, waiting for the results of the Jan. 20 vote. Whether the village government is dissolved or not on Jan. 20, important projects need to tackled and the current board is engaged in many issues.

It is in talks with the Genesee County Economic Development Center about providing sewer services to the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama. The village’s sewer plant is vastly underutilized and the STAMP users could be a major revenue windfall for the sewer plant, whether it’s owned by the village in the future or another government entity.

(If dissolution is approved, the village government would continue anyway for two years while some or all of its services could transition to the towns of Shelby or Ridgeway, or non-for-profit local development corporations.)

The talks with the Genesee County economic development officials are important. The STAMP site is about 1 mile south of the Orleans County border.

The 1,250-acre site will accommodate nanotechnology companies including semiconductor 450mm chip fab, flat panel display, solar manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing. The site, in full build-out, is expected to employ 10,000 people with many making $100,000 or more. Another 50,000 jobs will be created in the region to support the companies at STAMP.

The companies at the site will need sewer, and Medina has several millions gallons of excess capacity. Besides working on a deal with GCEDC, the village plans to spend $1.2 million upgrading equipment and adding more capacity for the sewer plant.

Boxwood Cemetery has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

Medina’s downtown has enjoyed a rebirth in the past decade with many new businesses joining Main Street mainstays. The downtown is drawing notice as a destination for visitors. But there are some empty storefronts, including two problem spots at 331-333 North Main St.

Environmental concerns have prevented redevelopment at the sites, Mayor Andrew Meier said. The village has paid for environmental audits of the sites and is trying secure state funding to help with remediating the properties, which would include a partial takedown of the former Starlite Cleaners, a building that was damaged in a fire a decade ago.

These sites are in the Town of Ridgeway, Orleans County and Medina Central School District, as well as the village. The Village Board deserves credit for committing money and effort on these sites. They’ve largely been acting alone, trying to address two spots that are blemishes on the downtown.

Village Historian Todd Bensleyalso deserves praise for working with the State Parks Department to have Boxwood Cemetery nominated for the state and national registers of historic places. The designation would give the cemetery long overdue lofty status and could bring in resources for projects in the historic burial grounds on Route 63, north of the village.

The 20-acre cemetery is considered a distinctive example of several cemetery movements. It was originally established in the Rural Cemetery manner in 1850. The cemetery grew in size, and later sections were added in the Lawn Park and Memorial Park styles.

Village officials see the cemetery as a great resource in the community, and one worthy of state and national recognition.

Some of the village efforts in recent months should pay dividends for years to come, whether dissolution passes or fails.