Volunteers needed to help with events to promote Albion when Main Street bridge closes

Photo by Tom Rivers: Michael Bonafede facilitates a meeting last week among Albion community members, brainstorming ideas and events to promote Albion while the Main Street bridge is closed. They meeting was at Hoag Library.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 October 2022 at 2:04 pm

ALBION – A group looking for ways to promote the Albion downtown and community has identified projects and activities to bring foot traffic and people to Albion.

However, those programs and events need organizers and volunteers, and many local organizations and residents already active working on events are stretched thin.

The Main Street bridge is scheduled to close Oct. 17 and is expected to be closed to traffic for at least 18 months for a major rehabilitation.

A 24-7 video that shows the bridge and construction progress was listed as the top idea during a Sept. 12 meeting, when participants were asked to vote on their five favorite ideas or projects among a list of about a dozen different things.

Michael Bonafede, facilitator for the group and owner of three downtown buildings, believes the construction will be a spectacle of wide interest, especially when a crane is brought in and the bridge is temporarily moved from over the canal to land next door owned by the Canal Corp.

Cameras showing the construction site could be mounted on buildings by the canal with footage shown 24-7 through a YouTube channel.

The second most popular idea was a tie with block parties and the canal concerts moved to a closed part of Main Street, between Beaver Alley and Bank Street.

There was also several votes for a Christmas Tree festival, temporary ice skating rink, New Year’s Eve ball drop, and designated spots for food trucks with fees waived.

Mayor Angel Javier Jr. said the Christmas Tree festival could include bringing in a tall tree about 50 feet high for the event.

Bonafede said the people and organizations who usually are the planners and organizers need more partners to pull off more events and projects.

The groups doing events also don’t often know what other entities are planning. The groups need to communicate with each other, and perhaps join forces on some of the projects, Bonafede said after hearing from some of the group.

The group discussing ideas for Albion while the bridge is closed will next meet at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at Hoag Library. People don’t need to own a downtown business or building to be part of the discussion or to work on a project.