Some things to look for in 2015

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Will a developer finally step forward and commit to rehabilitating the former Holley High School? The building could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places this year, making the site eligible for tax credits for a renovation project.

The dissolution vote in Medina arrives early in the year on Jan. 20. Will residents in the Village of Medina vote to dissolve the village government?

If dissolution passes, the village remains for two more years to allow for a transition. How will town officials decide to take over some or all of the current village services if dissolution passes? If it fails, will town, county or state officials work with the village to reduce one of the most oppressive tax burdens in the state?

This is a local election year with many of the county and town offices on the ballot come November. But candidates will be reaching out to supporters many months before the election, trying to line up endorsements and support. Are there any upstart Democrats or Republicans that will mount vigorous campaigns this year?

Family Dollar has already announced a plan to build a new 8,320-square-foot store in Medina on Maple Ridge Road in 2015. The county has seen many chain stores – from fast food, car washes, auto parts, grocery, and general merchandise – set up in Orleans in recent years. Will any more chains see an opportunity in the county in 2015?

Two new wineries opened last year in Orleans County, bringing the total to four in the county. The Niagara Wine Trail also officially was extended from Niagara County across Orleans and to Rochester. Will the extended Wine Trail pays off with more visitors in Orleans County?

Will any of the local municipalities put together a compelling grant application that lands big state dollars for a community development project? The Orleans towns and villages have received very little in state grants for community development projects in recent years. The state shouldn’t be blamed because there haven’t been many grant applications from the local municipalities. Will our local elected officials brainstorm for a project that could improve the quality of life and make our communities a better destination?

Will someone buy the former Swan Library this year and what will the site, which is zoned commercial, be used for?

Will a local team capture a state championship this year? Several won Sectional titles in 2014.

Brunner International in Medina and Intergrow Greenhouses in Gaines did the biggest local business expansions in 2014. Will another local manufacturer or agri-business invest millions in an expansion? Will a new company pick Orleans County for its business this year?

Can Orleans County climb in the County Health Rankings and in visitor spending? We currently rank near the bottom in these categories out of 62 counties.

Several storefronts were made available in downtown Albion late in 2014. Will new tenants move in, and can they help make the downtown a bigger draw?

After about two years of extensive renovations, the former Tagg’s Tavern will be reborn this year as the Holley Falls Bar and Grill. Will Dan and Monica Seeler’s project be a success, and will it draw more visitors to Holley, helping other businesses?

Can Rob Ortt, the new state senator, make his presence felt in Orleans County, and can he surpass George Maziarz in bringing state resources to Orleans County?

Will Apex Clean Energy secure approvals to build 60 to 68 wind turbines in Yates and Somerset?

Will Richard Penfold keep his effort alive to reopen a landfill in Albion?

Will David Mahar, president of Frontier LLC, satisfy environmental and community concerns for a quarry in Shelby, not far from the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge?

Should Orleans County officials invite Gov. Andrew Cuomo and/or President Barack Obama to try to catch a Chinook Salmon at Point Breeze, “The Ultimate Fishing Town”? And would the governor or president accept the challenge?

Will the area be spared from a punishing winter after the prolonged harsh cold in 2014?

Will the Buffalo Bills make the playoffs for the first time in 16 years?