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Donations allow Medina Fire Department to purchase new boat

Photo courtesy of Medina firefighter Jacob Crooks: Firefighters Tim Miller and Adam Fisher and Captain Matt Jackson try out the Medina Fire Department’s new inflatable boat in the Canal Basin.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 August 2018 at 8:31 am

MEDINA – The Medina Fire Department has a new boat, thanks to the efforts of a local businessman and the generosity of the community.

Jeff Lyons, owner of Lyons Collision, was at the scene with his tow truck where a man had driven into the canal on Aug. 17, 2017. He noticed the condition of the fire department’s row boat, when they tried to carry divers out to the submerged truck.

Photo by Tom Rivers: A boat for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department marine patrol was brought from Lake Alice in Carlton to help locate a submerged truck in the Erie Canal on Aug. 17, 2017. That boat didn’t have working sonar. A magnet was tied to rope to try to locate the truck.

“Our boat couldn’t handle the divers and their tanks,” said fire chief Tom Lupo. “It was a 1963 with a 1954 motor.”

As a result, the Orleans County sheriff’s boat had to be called, which resulted in a wait of more than an hour.

Shortly after that day, Lyons went to businesses and individuals in the community and secured $7,000 in donations, which was enough to cover the cost of the Inmar inflatable boat and 25 hp Suzuki motor, with a little left over.

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Medina Fire Department captain Jonathan Higgins, firefighter Joe Simmons and Mayor Mike Sidari take a ride in the fire department’s new inflatable boat, which was launched to escort the Corning Museum of Glass Barge into the canal basin on Aug. 9.

With the extra money and only $300 out of the village budget, firefighters Jacob Crooks and Joseph Simmons were able to rebuild the fire department’s existing trailer.

“They did a terrific job, and so inexpensively,” Lupo said. “It was way cheaper than buying a new trailer.”

The boat made its maiden voyage on Aug. 9, when it was launched to escort the Corning Glass barge into the Canal Basin for its weekend visit with the schooner, Lois McClure.

Lupo said the engine had to be properly broken in, idling it for an hour, then running it at a low speed for two hours.

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Household hazardous waste event was popular today
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2018 at 6:06 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Employees from Environmental Enterprises Inc. in Cincinnati move drums of household hazardous waste today at the Orleans County Highway Department.

About 240 residents participated in a household hazardous waste drop-off today in Albion. The county has organized the event the past four years and hires Environmental Enterprises Inc. to take away the hazardous household products.

The event is chance for residents to dispose of automobile batteries, propane tanks, oil-based paints, solvents, polishes/waxes, aerosols, pesticides, fluorescent bulbs, adhesives & resins, motor oil & filters, acids, corrosives, antifreeze and other household hazardous waste.

Numerous propane tanks were dropped off by residents.

The county will pay Environmental Enterprises Inc. about $20,000 to take about the hazardous household waste. The state will pay half of the expense. The final cost will be determined after all the materials are weighed.

Last year residents dropped off about 10,000 pounds of paint.

Jim Bensley, left, is the county’s director of planning and development. He helped run the event today.

The collection event doesn’t include explosives, pressurized tanks, ammunition, PCBs, pathologic waste, infectious waste, radioactive waste, syringes, pharmaceuticals, computers and electronics.

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Rochester keeps Metro 10 title in fourth event at Albion
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2018 at 4:44 pm

Road work on Route 31 shifts start and finish to downtown Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Members of the Rochester team check out the Metro 10 cup and go to get their victory glass after Rochester defeated Buffalo in today’s Metro 10 competition, which pits runners from the two communities. This year’s race also included a cycling component for the first time.

Rochester won 8 of the 10 categories to win the Metro 10 cup for the fourth straight year. The fourth annual event had more than 300 participants.

McKenzie Trotter of Barker is on the last leg of the 10-mile race on East Bank Street when her daughter, Tessa Seward, ran to see her.

The mother and daughter finished the race together.

The 177 runners who completed the 10-mile course are lined up on Main Street at about 8 a.m. today for the start of  the Metro 10 race, which had runners pick a team – Rochester or Buffalo.

The course shifted from starting and ending by Bullard Park due to road construction on Route 31. The race instead started and ended in downtown Albion.

An additional 104 runners completed a 5-mile course. There were also walkers on the 5-mile course and for the first time the event included a 10-mile bike ride.

The Metro 10 uses a point system that includes overall average time for each metro in the 5 and 10 mile races, top male and women finishers in the 5- and 10-mile races, 5 mile walk winner and 5 mile average time for each metro.

Each person who completes either the 5 or 10 mile race gets a medal.

Brennan Root, 22, of Rush won the 10-miler in 56:31, a 5:39 pace per mile while Kristin Fitzsimmons, 31, of Penfield was the first woman to finish at 1:11:40, a 7:10 pace.

Corey Brown, 30, of Tonawanda won the 5 mile in 29:51, a 5:58 pace, while Kristina Martin, 26, of Holley was the first woman to finish in 32:56, a 6:35 pace.

Neil Weaver 24, of Pittsford receives a medal after finishing the 10-mile run in 1:34:46. Ed Spence, a volunteer with the Warrior House of WNY, presents the medal. The race proceeds go to the Warrior House in Shelby, which offers a hunting retreat to wounded veterans and children of veterans.

Before the run at 8 a.m., about 40 cyclists take off just after 7 in the morning for the first ever 10-mile bike race.

Jeff Casillo, left, and Erin Smith of Albion spearheaded the biking event. Casillo was the first overall finisher with Smith coming in third. They are pictured just before the start of the race.

Thom Jennings, the race director at left, congratulates Albion Mayor Eileen Banker, who completed the 10-mile bike ride. She is joined by Albion village trustees Gary Katsanis, back left, and Stan Farone, who also did the bike race.

Ed Spence of the Warrior House said the organization is there to support veterans and their families.

Danielle Conrad of Carlton is presented her medal after running 10 miles.

Jim Salmon, host of the Home Repair Clinic on WHAM, joined Thom Jennings in announcing age group awards after the race.

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Flood warning issued for Orleans County this morning
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2018 at 6:41 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Butts Road in Albion is shown on Thursday evening when it was raining. This section of the road near Route 31 is getting new pavement.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a flood warming for small streams and urban areas in Orleans, Niagara and Erie counties until 9 a.m. this morning.

Heavy rain will cause flooding of low spots and small streams, the Weather Service said. Small streams and creeks may exceed their banks.

Up to 2 inches of rain has fallen in some areas with another inch possible, the Weather Service said.

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Small black bear spotted in Knowlesville this afternoon
Staff Reports Posted 17 August 2018 at 7:29 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – Shane Rath was at work for the State Canal Corporation this afternoon when a small black bear scooted by the lift bridge and crossed Knowlesville Road just before 5 p.m.

(UPDATED 7:58 p.m.: People on the Memories of Medina Facebook page say there is a mother bear and three cubs on the move in Knowlesville.)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has these recommendations about black bears:

If you encounter a bear:

• Never approach, surround, or corner a bear – Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.

• Never run from a bear – stay calm, speak in a loud and calm voice, slowly back away and leave the area.

• Use noise to scare away bears from your campsite –  yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite.

• Do not throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear – Doing so will only encourage bears to approach and “bully” people to get food.

If a bear becomes aggressive and approaches you:

• Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.

If a bear becomes aggressive and charges you:

• Stand your ground.

• If you have bear spray, dispense directly at the bear.

If a bear becomes aggressive and follows you:

• Stay together.

• Do not run, but continue to back away while speaking loudly.

If the bear continues to follow you:

• Stand your ground.

• Intimidate by making yourself look bigger by waving arms, clapping, shouting, banging sticks.

• Prepare to fight or use bear spray.

If the bear makes contact with you:

• Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, fists).

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Gandy Dancers provided maintenance services to local railroads
By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 17 August 2018 at 6:41 pm

Busy railroad went through Yates, Carlton and Kendall for about 60 years

“Overlooked Orleans” – Vol. 4, No. 33

KENDALL – This rather interesting photograph shows five men working as part of a section gang along the Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Railroad. It is believe that this particular crossing was located somewhere in the town of Kendall and the photograph was taken September 11, 1897. The men appear to have stopped for dinner (the midday meal) as several metal pails appear on the car. One of the young men appears to be holding his pocket watch, as if to show that it is noontime.

The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was chartered in 1858, and like all great projects, was delayed for nearly ten years until the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad Company was formed on March 27, 1868. It would take another three years before construction commenced at Red Creek, New York and within two years the railway was operational from Ontario, Wayne County to Oswego. The rails eventually stretched to Kendall but the Panic of 1873 forced the company’s mortgage bonds to be called in early, which drove the railroad into bankruptcy.

On September 22, 1874 the line was sold to the Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Railroad (RW&O) at foreclosure and on December 23, 1875 the Lake Ontario Railroad (as it was renamed) was consolidated into the RW&O Railroad. The railroad carried passengers for nearly 60 years, up to four trains each day, until June 1, 1933 when passenger traffic ceased. The railroad remained an important transportation line for freight travelling through the towns of Yates, Carlton, and Kendall.

These men, often called “Gandy Dancers,” played an important role in the maintenance of railroads throughout the United States. Although many section gangs were responsible for the construction of railroads, including the installation of new ties and rails, their daily maintenance routine was the most important part of the job. The term “Gandy” is derived from the five-foot long metal “lining bar” used to reposition tracks. Throughout the course of regular use and travel, the vibrations of the train engine and cars as they passed over the rails would cause slight movements in the tracks. These many small “adjustments” would eventually create significant shifts in the tracks that could lead to derailments. Gandy dancers used their lining bars to realign the tracks to prevent the catastrophic consequences associated with freight and passenger derailment; the maneuvering of the pole by the section worker mimicked a dance.

The section gang’s arsenal of tools included the spike maul, used for driving railroad spikes, ballast forks and ballast tampers, used for repositioning and distributing ballast (stone under and around the railroad ties), as well as rail and tie tongs used for carrying wood and metal for replacing worn rails and rotten ties. This work required that gang members synchronize their motions, allowing for the appropriate distribution of their physical effort. The result was the creation of call-and-response songs that focused on railroad life, allowing workers to sync their labor to the rhythm of music.

In the south, section gangs were largely comprised of African Americans while northern section gangs typically consisted of immigrants. These jobs were entry-level positions at best, consisting of hard work and low wages. One particular example of this involved a local Irish immigrant, Michael Duggan who arrived in the U.S. in 1891. In 1945, he retired from the New York Central Railroad as a flagman, but started his employment as a section hand probably around the age of 24. The flagman was responsible for stopping street traffic as trains passed through; a much easier job than the manual labor of a section worker.

Standing front and center in this image is Charles Martin Vincent who was living in Kendall at the time this photograph was taken. He was approximately 24 years old and newly married, having wed his wife Ella Ireland on July 7, 1897. It is presumed that his work for the railroad was rather short lived as he relocated to East Avenue in Holley by 1905 and worked for some time as a hardware store clerk for Ira Edwards.

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4 from Class of 1947 get together for 71st reunion
Staff Reports Posted 17 August 2018 at 6:22 pm

Provided photo: Four members of Albion High School’s Class of 1947 held their 71st reunion on Aug. 11 at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Pictured, from left, include Margaret Vella Joy, Janice Murray Mann-Beech, Joe Saeva and Mary Jane Francis Parker.

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Olde Dogge Inn owner has found homes for 425 dogs from Puerto Rico

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jennifer Stilwell, right, is with Ana, and Renee Ebbs, an Olde Dogge employee for 5 years, is with Lola. The two dogs are from Puerto Rico. Stilwell created a non-profit organization, MAD Rescue of WNY, to adopt out dogs from Puerto Rico. Ebbs is instrumental in the program and also makes a blanket for each rescue dog.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2018 at 9:06 am

ALBION – Jennifer Stilwell was on a family vacation about four years ago in Puerto Rico when she saw dogs roaming the streets, beaches and parking lots. Many of the animals had also been hit by cars and were lying dead alongside roads.

The Stilwells were driving and noticed one emaciated dog in the street. Jennifer insisted the family stop and help the animal.

Jennifer Stilwell holds Patria, a small dog that will be adopted by a Toronto family on Aug. 22. This dog is one of the 32 that arrived two weeks ago at Olde Dogge Inn from Puerto Rico.

Stilwell is the owner of the Olde Dogge Inn in Albion. In the past four years she has helped adopt out 425 street dogs from Puerto Rico. In March, her organization received the final approval to be a non-profit organization.

MAD (Make A Difference) Rescue of Western NY has a shelter in Puerto Rico where dogs are nurtured back to health before they are brought to Albion. They are spayed, neutered and fed. Some receive heartworm medication and medical care. Some of the dogs also stay with foster families in Puerto Rico until MAD Rescue finds a home for them in WNY.

“It’s what makes me happy, just helping these dogs,” Stilwell said at Olde Dogge, which she opened in 2000 at 14472 Ridge Rd. “They have nobody else. When you see them going from laying half dead on the side of the road to watching the TV with a family, it is the best feeling.”

Stilwell estimated about half of the 425 dogs have been adopted by families in Orleans County, with many others accepted into homes in Buffalo, Rochester and Toronto. Some dogs have gone to families in Ithaca, Binghamton, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

She lists the animals on the Pet Finder website and typically spends two to three hours each evening reviewing applications and checking references. The MAD Dog Rescue Facebook page shows many of the newly adopted dogs with their smiling families.

Provided photo: Some of the 32 dogs from Puerto Rico are shown when they arrived at Olde Dogge Inn. Almost all of the dogs have been adopted by families.

Most weeks she finds homes for two dogs from Puerto Rico. But the past two weeks have been particularly busy because 32 dogs arrived on Aug. 3.

Those dogs were flown from San Juan to Miami. From there, a volunteer from Buffalo and his son drove the dogs in an air-conditioned vehicle to Albion.

Stilwell said the father and son are examples of the many devoted volunteers who make MAD Rescue possible. Other volunteers will pick up dogs at the Buffalo airport and drive them, sometimes late at night in the winter, to Albion.

Stilwell at first worked with “Save a Sato” in Puerto Rico. Satos are “street dogs” in Puerto Rico. In January, she got the final approval for MAD Rescue of WNY. She remains in contact with Save A Sato, but most of the dogs that reach Albion now come from MAD Rescue, which has two board members from Puerto Rico, who run the MAD Rescue site there.

Going on vacation to the island four years ago was an eye-opener that pulled on Stilwell’s heart.
“Dogs there are not viewed like family members like dogs are here,” she said. “The shelters are full and you see dogs all over. Even on the beach, there are dogs all around you. You see them dead by the side of the road, like you see deer here.”

The hurricane about a year ago exacerbated the street dog problem in Puerto Rico, Stilwell said. Many families fled the island and couldn’t take their dogs with them.

Stilwell is committed to the cause, to finding loving homes for the animals. She is looking to retire from owning the Olde Dogge, hopefully not too far into the future, and would like to devote more time to MAD Rescue.

“These dogs need us,” she said.

For more on MAD Rescue, click here.

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Nearly 400 will participate in Saturday’s Metro 10
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2018 at 7:32 am

Change in course due to road work puts start on Main Street

Photos by Tom Rivers: Runners head north on Route 98 on Aug. 22, 2015 during the first Metro 10 race in Albion.

ALBION – The fourth annual Metro 10 will be Saturday morning in Albion with about 400 participants. The community is urged to come out and cheer on the runners and, for the first time, the cyclists who will be in the event.

Motorists are also urged to show patience and caution while participants are out on the road. The bike race starts at 7 a.m. on Main Street. The 10-mile run starts at 8 with a 5-mile run option starting about 8:05 to 8:10.

The routes for the cyclists and runners were planned to begin and end near Bullard Park on Route 31, but road work on the state road forced organizers to change the courses.

The start is now on Main Street in downtown Albion with the finish on East Bank Street, right before Main Street. The 10-mile course goes as far east as Densmore Road.

A post-race party, including music from Bobby and Pedestrians, will be in the downtown on East Bank and Platt streets. The party had been at Bullard the first three Metro 10s.

Thom Jennings, the race organizer, said the changes in the course put a bigger focus on the historic downtown.

“It’s been a challenge to redo the course but it’s a real opportunity to be in the downtown,” Jennings said. “People will be able to hang out downtown and enjoy the architecture.”

The race is unusual in that participants pick a “team,” either Rochester or Buffalo. Participants contribute to their metro’s point total. The first three years Rochester won the Metro Cup over Buffalo. Rochester has the edge over Buffalo in overall participants on Saturday, but Buffalo could still pull off a win with speedy runners and cyclists if they win enough age-group awards.

Stan Farone is shown July 9 in Albion riding his bicycle as part of the Cycling the Erie Canal event that went from Buffalo to Albany over 8 days. Farone, an Albion village trustee, will ride his bike 10 miles in Saturday’s Metro 10.

Four of the Albion Village Board members will be in the race. Mayor Eileen Banker and trustees Stan Farone and Gary Katsanis will be in the 10-mile bike race, and Mattea Navarra will join the runners.

Banker has been training with two of her friends, going on bike rides topping 20 miles. She said the Metro 10 provided the motivation to get out on her bike.

Farone has twice been on the 8-day “Cycling the Erie Canal” trip that goes from Buffalo to Albany, about 350 miles. He recommended the Metro 10 add the biking component this year.

There are about 40 signed up for the bike on Saturday, and most of them will then do either the 5- or 10-mile run, Jennings said.

Banker commended Jennings and the event organizers for the Metro 10.

“It’s a great idea to have the Rochester vs Buffalo because we’re right in the middle,” she said. “We need to do more to bring people in.”

Jennings said the village has been very supportive with the event, especially with the Police Department and Department of Public Works providing traffic control and other assistance. The towns of Albion and Gaines also back the event.

The community is welcome to attend the post-race celebration, which includes a food truck, beer garden and other vendors. Non-race participants have to pay for any food and alcohol, while cyclists and runners can enjoy the post-race festivities as part of their entry fee.

Proceeds from the race go towards the Warrior House in Shelby, which provides a hunting retreat for wounded veterans or children who have lost a parent in war.

Each cyclist and runner will receive a medal at the finish line, which will be presented by a veteran.

For more on Metro 10, click here.

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Busy week of gridiron practice continues
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 16 August 2018 at 3:11 pm

Photo by Mike Wertman – With the first week of fall high school sports practice winding down Albion players here work out on the blocking sled during this morning’s session. Albion will tuneup for the Class B2 campaign by scrimmaging at Batavia on August 25. The Purple Eagles will then open the season at Olean on August 31. Medina/Lyndonville/Barker will also open the B2 season on August 31 with a home game against Depew. Roy-Hart will make its Class C North debut on August 31 by hosting Gowanda/Pine Valley. Holley will begin practicing for its first season of 8 man football next week. The Hawks season opener is scheduled for September 15 at Oxford of Section IV.

DOT says Route 31 paving in Albion will start Aug. 27
Posted 16 August 2018 at 3:05 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Killian Construction of Rochester uses a milling machine to remove and grind the pavement on Route 31 in Albion in this photo from Aug. 8 in front of Rite Aid and Advance Auto Parts.

Local highway departments, including the Town of Murray, then hauled away the material.

Route 31 will be repaved beginning Aug.27 by Keeler Construction, weather permitting, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation said today. Orleans Hub previously reported the repaving wouldn’t occur until September.

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New Albion teachers are ready for school year
Posted 16 August 2018 at 2:39 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The new teachers hired for this school year at Albion Central School attended today’s Albion Rotary Club meeting at Tillman’s Village Inn. The school year starts on Sept. 5.

Pictured from left include: Melody Vanacore, kindergarten teacher (she served as a long-term sub last year in the elementary school as a librarian); Kyle Syck, a 2001 Albion graduate who will be a technology teacher; Eric Johns, high school biology teacher; Paige Levandowski, a 2012 Albion graduate who will be a career and technology teacher; Sara Jones, elementary school librarian; and Amanda Flagler, fourth grade teacher.

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Governor signs legislation banning children under 18 from indoor tanning
Posted 16 August 2018 at 2:14 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (A.07218/S.5585-A), banning children under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning facilities.

“We have long known the dangers of indoor tanning and the devastating health risks that go along with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays,” Governor Cuomo said. “By further limiting our children from exposing themselves to this health risk, we can stop the spread of preventable disease and help save lives.”

Under current law, children age 17 and over are permitted to use indoor tanning facilities without parental consent, significantly increasing the risk for skin cancer among this population. This bill will prohibit children under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning facilities in an effort to protect additional individuals from the harmful effects of UV exposure.

“It is indisputable that tanning devices and UV exposure place users at the highest risk for skin cancer, made worse for those who begin tanning indoors at a young age,” said Senator Phil Boyle, a Republican from Long Island. “With so much misleading and ill-informed information regarding indoor tanning, we cannot expect 17-year-olds to make the right decisions when it comes to the risk and dangers involved in this practice. I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this bill in the best interest of teens across the state.”

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Orleans still in drought conditions
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2018 at 11:52 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Sunflowers are pictured today by a home in the Village of Albion.

Orleans County is still facing drought conditions, according to the United State Drought Monitor.

Orleans, most of Niagara and a portion of western Monroe counties are all in “moderate drought,” according to a map published today by the Drought Monitor.

Some recent rainfall hasn’t been enough to change the status for the area, which has been in drought conditions for more than a month. Before that it was officially “abnormally dry.”

In New York State, 20 percent of the state is currently in moderate drought, with another 18 percent considered abnormally dry.

Click here to see the map.

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With new waterfront plan, Medina aims to dream big
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2018 at 10:03 am

Waterfalls access, more canal amenities, more downtown businesses, and revamped playgrounds

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kimberly Baptiste, project leader of the Medina Local Waterfront Development Plan, meets with committee members on Wednesday during the kickoff meeting for the project. Baptiste works for Bergmann Associates, a firm hired to help Medina create the new plan. Committee members pictured from clockwise by Baptiste include Lisa Tombari, Tim Elliott, Chris Goyette, Marty Busch, Debbie Padoleski, Mike Sidari, Chris Busch and Kathy Blackburn.

MEDINA – A committee tasked with reimagining the Medina waterfront met for the first time Wednesday evening as part of an initiative to better capitalize on the Erie Canal, Glenwood Lake and other nearby assets, including the historic downtown.

The Village of Medina was awarded a $37,500 state grant in December to develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The LWRP is critical for developing a plan, both short-term and long-term, for the waterfront and also to help Medina pursue public and private investment for projects to make the waterfront and nearby areas more attractive.

Many state grants, for example, want to know if projects are in line with a LWRP. Medina currently does not have that kind of plan and it has hurt the community’s chances for funding, including a $10 million downtown revitalization grant. That money last year went to the City of Batavia. Medina isn’t applying this year partly because it doesn’t have the LWRP in place, Mayor Mike Sidari said.

He is on the LWRP group which includes members of the Village Board, Planning Board, Medina Business Association and other community members.

The committee said the village has come a long way in the past 20 to 30 years, with a vibrant downtown, other projects completed, and many well-attended community events. However, the Canal Basin is falling short of its potential for local residents and for attracting more visitors.

“Twenty years ago we did a lot on the waterfront and then it stopped,” said Marty Busch, the village’s code enforcement officer. “We have to keep going.”

Medina has a wide basin at the canal and it has docks for boaters and bathrooms by the canal. But Busch said it needs a launch for boaters and kayakers.

Mary Lewis, owner of Creekside Floral and a committee member, said a top priority for the LWRP should be a plan for making the Medina Waterfalls more accessible to the public. Many people take a treacherous path on private property right now to see the falls. Lewis and other committee members said the waterfalls should be safely accessible to the public. That site, if publicly accessible, would be a big draw for the community.

Lewis has her floral business on Main Street. The first floor shops are mostly full in the downtown, but Lewis said there is room for more small businesses in the downtown buildings. She would like to see the total number double or triple in the downtown, to make the business district an even greater draw. The LWRP should include ideas to boost more entrepreneurs in the community, she said.

The Hydrobikes and kayaks for Pedal and Paddle Medina are docked in Medina’s Canal Basin. Some members on a committee to develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program want to add a launch for boats and kayaks.

The plan should also address the need to upgrade village parks with new playground equipment, and perhaps walking trails and other amenities. (Mayor Sidari and Village Trustee Tim Elliott said new playground equipment will be installed at Butts Park in September.)

Chris Busch, chairman of the Village Planning Board and also the Tree Board, said some community members had big dreams for Medina 20-30 years ago. Back then the pessimists made it more difficult to get projects in motion, but some optimists persevered.

“People don’t realize what we have,” Busch said. “There’s defeatism.”

The Medina Waterfalls are one of the most striking sights in Orleans County, yet there isn’t public access that gives a good look at the natural wonder.

Busch and others on the current committee said naysayers remain vocal in the community, and they need to be swayed about Medina’s assets and the community’s potential.

“Many have said, ‘We’re not Fairport,’” Busch said. “They act like this is our lot in life and we need to accept it. But we’ve come a long way and we have more to go.”

The LWRP will do an inventory of the assets in the community and look for ways to better capitalize on those resources, and also add more amenities.

The committee will meet again in September and October, and there will be at least three public meetings for residents to provide input.

The goal is to have a draft plan complete in March, and to send it to the state Department of State for approval. That document can then be used to help Medina pursue public and private financing for identified projects.

Orleans County also 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. That project is expected to start soon.

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