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Holley has new village logo, ideas to revitalize sites

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2019 at 5:00 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley unveiled a new logo last week that will be displayed on signs, the village website and other promotional materials.

Holley developed the logo with assistance from Bergmann Associates. The logo encourages active exploration of Holley – “Walk It. Bike It. Boat It.”

The village received a $165,600 state brownfield grant last year to develop revitalization strategy for the downtown business district, and other parts of the community.

Brian Sorochty, mayor of Holley, said the project is a planning grant for the village, and a chance to promote assets with the trail system, canal and waterfalls.

“This is a chance to revision Holley,” he said.

As part of that revitalization effort, Bergmann and village officials displayed renderings of possible projects in Holley, and asked people last Thursday to place stickers on concepts they support.

The village has been without a grocery store since Save-A-Lot closed on Sept. 17, 2016. Many residents say the community needs a grocery store. Bergman presented two concepts – a vastly remodeled store building or one where the current building is knocked down for a new build as a town center.

Village officials want to show the concepts to developers, who may be more interested in the project once they see a more modern look for the building.

The store is in Holley’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, which provides tax incentives for investment.

Holley would also like to add amenities by its canal park, including a facility where people could rent kayaks and bicycles. The park could also have spaces reserved for food trucks.

Some downtown improvements could include streetscape amenities (benches, crosswalks, trash, trees, etc.), facade upgrades, more signage that directs people to businesses, public parking and attractions. Additional parking could also be added to the Public Square area.

The village will work with Bergmann to see which projects have a good chance for grant funding and private investment.

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Holley gets a glimpse of apartments, offices taking shape at old high school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 October 2019 at 4:52 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Home Leasing offered tours on Thursday afternoon to community members interested in the transformation at the old Holley High School.

Home Leasing is turning the school into the “Holley Gardens,” which will have 41 apartments – one studio, 35 one-bedrooms, and five two-bedroom apartments.

The Rochester company started construction last November. It is pushing to have the offices ready for the Village of Holley government on Feb. 1 with the apartments ready to be moved in by Feb. 15.

Cole Fredendall, 9, of Holley checks out one of the apartments in the former school, which offers a view of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

George DeRue is the construction superintendent for Home Leasing. He stands next to blackboards from the school which will be repurposed in the apartments. DeRue said residents will find the blackboards handy to write notes.

Community members get a tour of one of the apartments under construction. Most of the apartments are about 700 to 800 square feet.

The construction project is a $17 million transformation of the school, a building that has been vacant for more than two decades. The building opened in 1931 and closed in 1975 as a school. It was last used by Liftec Manufacturing until it went bankrupt in the mid-1990s. Holley village officials tried many times to revive the site, but previous deals fell apart and the building kept deteriorating, to the anguish of many in the community.

Home Leasing is turning the auditorium in the village offices and meeting room.

Connie Nenni, a village trustee, was on the tour on Thursday. She said it was her first time in the building. She said it will be a huge asset to Holley when it is done, offering more residential opportunities and boosting the neighborhood with a well cared for building.

DeRue, the construction manager, said some of the original seats will be put back in the auditorium space. Removing thick layers of pigeon poop from the area was a big challenge with the project, DeRue said.

“It was terrible,” DeRue said of the pigeon excrement. “There was so much of it.”

Most of the windows are currently offsite and are being refurbished by a company in Lancaster.

Home Leasing is pushing hard to have the parking lot paved before winter. It has lots of work ahead to get the apartments furnished and ready for tenants in about four months.

The building is across from the Post Office and the American Legion on Route 31.

This group heads down one of the hallways.

The scope of work includes the conversion of the auditorium into office space and meeting space for the Village of Holley, the abatement of hazardous materials, window refurbishing and replacement, roof repair and replacement, and interior wall reconfiguration.

Two new elevators will be installed as well as new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and sprinkler systems, new water, sewer, electric and gas services, fire alarm and intercom system.

Site work will consist of underground utility work, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping.

Some of the locker doors are being saved and placed along the hallway for ambiance.

These two women observe the work near the entrance of the former auditorium.

For more on the project from Home Leasing, click here.

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Holley will offer tour of former high school on Oct. 17 as part of fall festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 October 2019 at 10:32 am

Village also wants feedback on logo, projects

HOLLEY — The village will be hosting a fall festival on Oct. 17 that also includes a chance to tour the old Holley High School, which is being turned into apartments and the offices for the village government.

The fall festival will be at the front lawn of the former school, 1 Wright St., from 3 to 7 p.m. Tours of the building will be on a first come, first served basis from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Home Leasing, a Rochester company, started construction in November 2018 on a $17 million transformation of the former Holley High School, a building that has been vacant for more than two decades.

Home Leasing is turning the site into 41 senior apartments as well as the offices for the Village of Holley. The village expects to move the village offices into the former school in January.

Village officials also want to hear from the community about revitalization projects in Holley, as well as a new logo and tagline to promote the community.

The festival also includes a scarecrow decorating contest, with people encouraged to bring their own materials to dress a scarecrow between 3 and 6 p.m. Judging will be at 6:30 p.m. Participants need to preregister by Oct. 10 at

There also will be pumpkin decorating at the festival, with cider and donuts available.

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7 canal bridges getting repaired will be painted black

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 October 2019 at 11:12 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The canal bridge on Bennetts Corners Road in Holley was repainted from green to black as part of the bridge’s recent upgrades.

The state Department of Transportation is spending $10.7 million on the seven bridges in Orleans County. All of them will be repainted to black.

The DOT has a contractor currently working on Telegraph Road in the Town of Murray, Transit Road in the Town of Murray, and Densmore Road in the Town of Albion.

The DOT will also work on three more bridges – Gaines Basin Road in the Town of Gaines, Bates Road in the Village of Medina, and Marshall Road in the Town of Ridgeway.

Here is how the bridge on Bennetts Corners Road in Murray looked last December before it was painted black.

Besides the new paint color, the work on the seven bridges includes installing high-strength galvanized steel to replace steel floor systems, low chords, gusset plates, and truss elements. Bridge railing and guide rail on the bridge approaches also will be improved.

The  seven single-lane truss bridges were constructed between 1909 and 1914.

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Group wants to hear ideas for capitalizing on canal in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Holley Canal Park is pictured in June. 2018 The site includes a gazebo, public bathrooms with showers, boat tie-ups and camp sites.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2019 at 2:43 pm

Hoag Library will host Oct. 29 open house for Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

ALBION – A steering committee working on a plan to better utilize the Erie Canal in Orleans County welcomes input from the community.

There will be a 7 p.m. open house on Oct. 29 at Hoag Library for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the canal communities in Orleans County.

There will be maps on display and community members are welcome to propose ideas for how the canal can boost the local economy and quality of life.

This will be the first public outreach meeting as a steering committee works on a waterfront development plan for seven Erie Canal municipalities.

Orleans County received a $62,000 state grant in December to develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the canal communities outside the Village of Medina. That includes the towns of Shelby, Ridgeway, Gaines, Albion and Murray, and the villages of Albion and Holley. Medina has been working on its own LWRP.

The county has hired LaBella as a consultant for the plan for the seven municipalities. The steering committee has met twice.

Each of the municipalities has a representative who is tasked to weigh in on current strengths and weaknesses of the canal, and opportunities to make the historic waterway and towpath a bigger asset.

The state is looking to spend more money to promote the canal and make it a better resource for the canal communities. The canal’s new caretaker, the New York Power Authority, also has shown a commitment to improving the canal infrastructure, County Legislator Ken DeRoller said.

The steering committee for the LWRP will be looking for ways to improve trail access, perhaps by adding a boat or kayak launch. The committee wants better signage (mile markers and information about services) and also wants to identify economic development projects with businesses near the canal.

That plan can be used to help the municipalities pursue grant funding through the state.

The steering committee members include: Ken DeRoller, Orleans County; Jake Olles, Town of Albion; Samuel Robinson, Village of Albion; Tyler Allport, Town of Gaines; Mark Bower, Village of Holley; Chris Van Dusen, Town of Murray; Mary Woodruff, Town of Ridgeway; and Ed Houseknecht, Town of Shelby. Natasha Wasuck, Village of Albion, and Brian Napoli, Town of Ridgeway, also have recently joined the committee.

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Holley gears up for $4.5 million water, sidewalk project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2019 at 11:06 am

File photo: An upcoming project in Holley will replace deteriorating sidewalks, including this one on Geddes Street.

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley will soon be seeking bids from contractors to replace sidewalks and water lines in the village, a combined project that is estimated to cost about $4.5 million.

The village is accepting bids until 1 p.m. on Oct. 24 for the sidewalks and waterlines.

The village has been approved for a $1,780,000 federal TAP grant (Transportation Alternatives Program) to construct curbs and sidewalks that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The grant will allow the village to replace about one-third of the sidewalks in the village.

That includes sidewalk along Rt. 237 – both north and south of Rt. 31 to the village limits (from the water tower to the elementary school), as well as both sides of Geddes Street, both sides of Perry Street, both sides of Morgan Street and the west side of East Avenue.

The TAP grant is an 80/20 federal matching program. Some of the village’s 20 percent ($455,000) could come from in-kind services from the Department of Public Works.

Holley also has bonds lined up to help cover the local share of the sidewalks and also the water improvements, which is a 60-40 grant.

Holley was awarded nearly $1.3 million from the state for upgrades to the water system through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, as well as the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program.

The waterline project includes 5,800 linear feet, just over a mile, and involves replacing 4- to 8-inch water mains with 8- to 12-inch water mains.

That project includes portions of South Main (from the water tower to Batavia Street), South Main from Jackson Street to West Albion Street, water service transfers only along North Main from West Albion Street to the high school, the northerly side of Geddes Street from Van Buren Street to Public Square, along with connections to existing waterlines at ends and side streets.

The village is also seeking bids for alternates and could do more waterline and sidewalk work. Alternate 1 includes a waterline on the westerly side of Park Place from East Albion Street to Perry Street. Alternate 2 includes a waterline on the southerly and westerly sides of East Union Street from North Main to Perry streets.

Alternate 3 includes sidewalk replacement on both sides of Park Place. Alternate 4 includes sidewalk replacement along both sides of East Union Street.

The projects are being bid together with one contractor to tackle both the waterlines and then the sidewalks.

Brian Sorochty, Holley mayor, said he expects the Village Board will award the bids for the contract in early November with construction starting soon after. The contractor has one year to get all of the work done.

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Health Department warns of rabid kitten found in Holley

Posted 9 September 2019 at 2:24 pm

Local officials want to know if kitten is part of litter with rabies

Courtesy of Orleans County Health Department: This map shows an area in Holley where people may have been in contact with a rabid kitten.

Press Release, Orleans County Health Department

This kitten with rabies was picked up in Holley on Sept. 2.

HOLLEY – The Orleans County Health Department is seeking help in finding anyone who came in contact with a 6-8 week old female, white and brown kitten in the Village of Holley in the area of West Albion Street, Woodside Court, West Avenue and Routier Street.

On the morning of Monday, September 2, Holley Animal Control was sent to pick up an injured kitten. The kitten had rabies and has died.

“We are looking to see if anyone may have handled the kitten and/or if it is from a litter of kittens that may have also been exposed to rabies,” stated Paul Pettit, Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “The purpose in locating where the kitten was will help us know if anyone else or their pets may have been in contact with this animal. Rabies is transmitted from saliva or being bitten by an infected animal.”

It is important to make sure all pets are vaccinated against rabies as it is a deadly virus.

Orleans County will have the next free rabies immunization clinic on Saturday, October 12, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Orleans County Highway Building at 225 West Academy Street, Albion.  As a reminder, do not touch wild or stray animals as they may have rabies and you most likely will not be able to tell the animal is sick.

Anyone with information on the kitten is asked to contact the Orleans County Health Department at 585-589-3278.

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‘Honoring Heroes’ golf tourney raises $20,000

Posted 4 September 2019 at 8:08 pm

Provided photo: Members of the McNeil family along with Kevin and Cindy Diehl present Amy Tausch with a $20,000 check. Kneeling is Tim Wright. The front row, from left, includes Eric Bison, Amy Tausch, Cindy Diehl, Faye McNeil, Michele Bison and Tammie Miller. Back row is Jeff Miller, Kevin Diehl, Kathy Snyder and Chris Miller.

Courtesy of Owen Toale

HOLLEY – The eighth annual Honoring Heroes Golf Tournament was recently held at Hickory Ridge Golf Resort. The tournament – benefitting the New York Warrior Alliance, Home of Operation Wounded Warrior – netted the organization $20,000.

Funds will be used to serve wounded military personnel and their families in the area. In addition to providing financial support to the military members and their caregivers, the organization has conducted over 11 missions to Walter Reed Military Medical Center with supplies to aid the patients. The Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization with an all-volunteer staff and no administrative or travel costs. Amy Tausch is the founder of the organization and continues to lead it.

Two years ago one of the driving forces behind the tournament passed away. Mac McNeil worked tirelessly raising funds and getting donations for the tournament. His help, along with  that of Kevin and Cindy Diehl – owners of Hickory Ridge – helped make the tournament the success that it has become.

The future of the tournament was up in the air last year with the passing of Mac but the McNeil family, along with others, worked to make last year’s tournament successful and continued on with the event this year.

The memory of how hard Mac worked to help the veterans pushed all the volunteers to once again come through with a success. Now with the recap of this past tournament, plans are underway for the 2020 tournament next July.

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3 grade levels at Holley will have laptops this school year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2019 at 9:06 pm

9th-graders get to take the computers home

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Jim DiSessa, a Holley business and computer teacher, assists freshman Trent Wright with logging onto a laptop that will be assigned to Trent his next four years of high school.

Holley is making laptops available this school year to students in first, fifth and ninth grades. The district plans to phase in the laptops over the next four years, each time introducing them to first-, fifth- and ninth-graders. Ninth-graders can take them home while first- and fifth-graders use them only at school.

“I think it’s great,” DiSessa said. “The students can work from anywhere and go at their own pace. It will help get them career and college ready.”

The laptops and software are being paid for with money from the state through the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014. The state approved about $540,000 in the first phase of Holley’s technology upgrades through the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014.

Ed Connor, network administrator for Holley Central School, helps distribute the laptop computers to ninth-graders. The computers are made by Lenovo  Education Services and have a Windows 10 operating system. Each student also received a power cord and carry bag for the computer.

Holley has $1,311,463 in state funds through Smart Schools. The district was notified in July that it approved Holley’s plan to offer touch-screen laptop computers to about 225 students in grades 1, 5 and 9.

Holley also will replace SMART boards with 33 touch-screen flat panels that are “Smart TVs.” The $540,000 also will allow Holley to upgrade existing security cameras and add more of them, as well as updating software for the cameras.

Holley still has nearly $800,000 left in the Smart Schools money. If the state approves another phase of laptops, Holley could accelerate its schedule for laptops for students, said Brian Bartalo, district superintendent.

The plan now is to do three grade levels – 1, 5, and 9 – each of the next four years.

Susan Cory (back right), the middle/high school principal, addresses ninth-graders and their parents this evening. She went over a use policy and student expectations for the laptops. Students will be expected to charge their computers at home, and not bring the power cords to school. “We are trusting that you will use these responsibly,” she said.

The computers were distributed this evening at Holley.

Students and their parents signed a user agreement, which includes $25 insurance each year. That covers accidental damage, theft (with a police report), and electrical surge damage. Replacing a damaged laptop costs $650.

Students are to use the laptops in a way consistent with the district’s Code of Conduct. Each laptop contains the district’s filtering software.

Holley teachers were trained over the summer on how to use the laptops in the classroom.

Brian Bartalo, the district superintendent, was pleased to see the excitement from students and their families during the open house and computer distribution.

“It really levels the playing field,” he said.

The district will be surveying to see which students don’t have internet access at home and will try to find a solution. Bartalo said most of the coursework can be downloaded at school and students can then work on it at home on their computers, even if they don’t have internet access.

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St. Rocco’s Italian Festival remains a popular Labor Day weekend tradition

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 September 2019 at 4:03 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HULBERTON – Noelle Borello, 4, of Albion tosses a ping pong ball towards bowls of gold fish at the kiddie game section of St. Rocco’s Italian Festival in Hulberton this afternoon.

Noelle had several close throws but didn’t win a goldfish.

Luci Borello, 7, is Noelle’s sister. She got a ball in a bowl and won a fish.

Gail Christ of Murray gets powdered waffles and friend dough ready for the big crowd. The weather was ideal for the festival, with no rain and no intense heat.

The annual festival is a fund-raiser for the Catholic parish in Holley and Kendall, which includes St. Mary’s Church in Holley and St. Mark’s in Kendall.

The food is a big draw, especially the eggplant parmesan. Church volunteers prepared 157 pans of eggplant parmesan. Meatball sandwiches, pasta fagioli, pizza and shells also were popular.

A building that was once used by a quarry company was turned into a dining hall with an Italian theme for the festival.

Ron Vendetti cooks spaghetti in the kitchen. Vendetti has volunteered as a cook at the festival for more than 25 years.

Church volunteers started cooking on Wednesday to have the food ready for today.

Sal DeLuca tosses a bocce ball during a game. There are 29 teams for today’s tournament. DeLuca last year won first place and $600 on a team that included his sons, Zach, Seth and Josh.

The bocce players try to get a close as possible to the smaller white ball.

Zach DeLuca gets ready for his shot. Zach, 26, now lives in Bergen. He and his brothers have been playing on a team with their father the past six years.

“We like the competitiveness,” Zach said about the tournament. “We also like seeing so many of our friends who we grew up with.”

There were St. Rocco’s shirts and whimsical Italian shirts and hats for sale. This shirt – FBI – stands for Full Blown Italian.

About 50 items, including this bike, were available in a basket auction.

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