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Ridgeway celebrates upgraded town hall, and 200th birthday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – State Sen. George Maziarz, right, and Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli address a crowd today during the town’s bicentennial celebration and open house to a renovated town hall.

MEDINA – It may have a been a year late, but the town of Ridgeway celebrated its bicentennial today with speeches from politicians, awards of appreciation, reflections on the town’s history and food.

Ridgeway formed in 1812, and was named for “The Ridge,” a natural embankment that was an east-west route used by Native Americans and other travelers. Seymour Murdock was the town’s first settler in 1810, and constructed the first frame barn of heavy oak timber that still stands today, according to a proclamation about the town’s bicentennial.

The proclamation noted the town’s successful agricultural industry due to industrious farmers, excellent soils and moderate climate. Ridgeway has grown to 6,534 residents, and continues to draw people looking for opportunity, as evidenced by the influx of Amish and Mennonite families, according to the proclamation from the Orleans County Legislature.

The town postponed the bicentennial celebration until 2013, wanting to wait until about $50,000 of renovations were complete in the town hall on West Avenue, a building that hadn’t been improved much since it was built in 1979.

Horizon Builders in Ridgeway renovated the main meeting room, and put in new windows, carpets and doors. The building also received a fresh coat of paint on walls and the ceiling.

“This is the entryway of democracy, a town hall like this,” State Sen. George Maziarz said about the celebration. “A town hall like this is an investment in democracy.”

Town Supervisor Brian Napoli accepted a citation from the State Senate for the town’s 200th anniversary. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley also sent also congratulations and official commendation.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins presented an official proclamation from Congress.

Napoli used the occasion to publicly praise Richard Nellist, the recently retired town historian who has agreed to help as a volunteer with historical efforts.

Don Marchner, the Ridgeway fire chief, also accepted a citation from Napoli and Collins for the Ridgeway Fire Company’s distinction of leading the county in EMS training hours with 994.

“That shows the dedication of everyone in the department,” Napoli said. “We’re really indebted to them.”

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson also noted that Mary Woodruff, a town councilwoman, is the first woman to serve on the Town Board in Ridgeway’s history. She also was instrumental in organizing the bicentennial party.

Napoli also was praised by County Legislature Chairman David Callard, a former Ridgeway town supervisor. Callard said Napoli has worked steadily to expand public water lines and improve water quality throughout the town.

“He’s done a great job,” Callard said.