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Forum at Kendall welcomes input from residents to grow community

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Those attending a forum about the Kendall community broke into focused task groups to brainstorm ideas in the Jr./Sr. High School cafeteria. About 50 people attended the forum.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 6 October 2016 at 10:27 am

KENDALL – Members of the Kendall community want to get the word out that Kendall is a “great place to live and grow,” and residents as well as town, school district and county officials gathered at Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Wednesday evening to brainstorm ways to promote the community as a place to settle down and raise family.

100616_kendallnhSchool Board President Nadine Hanlon called the gathering, “a positive think tank” to develop ways to “bring people to the community.”

The evening began with county, town and school district officials enumerating resources, initiatives and benefits Kendall already has.

County Legislator Donald Allport discussed the benefits available at the county level including the shared Orleans/Genesee County Health Department, $8 million in infrastructure investments, the recycling/waste program and Lake Ontario State Parkway repaving.

Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata noted the town will continue to work on establishing new water districts, adding a new district each year. He discussed the town’s Innovation Committee which acts as a “market antenna” for the Town Board.

The Committee is currently addressing such issues as sidewalks and storm drains, Cammarata said.

“If you don’t create value, nobody’s going to come here,” Cammarata said. “We need to find out what is special about Kendall, have a residential focus, anticipate needs and develop a strategy. We need to imagine what it could be like and then challenge the status quo.”

Kendall Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata discusses current town initiatives during the community forum.

Kendall Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata discusses current town initiatives during the community forum.

Kendall School Superintendent Julie Christensen listed current community organizations and seasonal highlights such as Homegrown Days and the Scarecrow Festival.

“We have so many great things going on,” Christensen said.

She discussed school data points including the 30 percent decrease in the school’s enrollment over the past ten years. Student performance is above state average on multiple measures. Christensen also said there are numerous school-community connections including the Lions Club and Leos, partnership with town activities, and school internships/shadow experience/senior interviews.

“There are a lot of school-community connections,” Christensen said. “That’s what makes us special here in Kendall.”

Those attending broke into six task groups – public relations/advertising, advocacy, recruitment, beautification enhancement, and community events – to come up with goals and strategies, as well as ways to achieve them.

Ideas formulated included a brochure for prospective residents, working with realtors to determine what homebuyers are looking for in a community, opening up public access to Lake Ontario, a Christmas decorating contest, a winter festival, historical museum, walking and hiking trails (perhaps linking the town with the Erie Canal) and public water throughout the town.

Christensen asked the groups to provide her with lists of their ideas.  She said she will be working closely with Supervisor Cammarata and another meeting will be planned sometime early next year.

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