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Webster mailbag and BIKE RACK NEWS!

18 Sep
Bike rack 2

Three Barry’s Runners — Mike Bodine, Don White and Jim Mossey — with the new bike rack, installed this week on West Main. 

The Village of Webster is finally getting its bike racks!

They’ve been more than a year in coming. It was last June that I approached the Village Board with a proposal to install some bike racks to make our village more cyclist-friendly. The idea came out of a discussion I was having with a running buddy at our weekly Barry’s Runners group. Many of the group members bring their bikes to the run and they usually end up crowded along the Barry’s Pub fence.

Not any more. Just this week, our village Public Works Department installed the first new bike rack on the sidewalk in front of Barry’s Pub/The Garage Sale Store on West Main. It’s the first of what will eventually be four racks. The other three will be placed at Veterans’ Park, Village Hall, and somewhere down in the Village Bakery parking lot (where exactly is yet to be determined).

Thank you to our Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly and his staff for getting this done. I truly believe that the new bike racks will make our already friendly and welcoming village even more so.

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Now on to a few mailbag notices:

The Webster Public Library will host a blood drive on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 1 to 6 p.m. in the library’s community room.

Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. The Red Cross is still trying to make up for summer shortages, so please consider taking an hour out of your day and help save some lives.

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motorThe Webster Museum and Historical Society invites the community to an open house on Saturday Sept. 21 from 2 to 4 p.m.

If you have never visited our village museum before, this will be a great opportunity to check out all of the permanent and rotating exhibits.

The focus this weekend will me “motoring,” with exhibits inside and outside. There will be vintage cars and an antique tractor, and the big-wheeled penny farthing bicycle.  Ed Harding will show some of the Native American artifacts he’s found in his yard, you can learn about fossils, play some colonial games, make some butter and more.

Refreshments will be served.

It’s going to be great fun for the whole family, and (don’t tell the kids) educational, to boot. Plus it’s all free.

For more information visit the museum website or on Facebook.

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St. Rita School will be hosting a Sticky Lips fundraiser on Saturday Sept. 28 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the school, 1008 Maple Rd. in Webster.

On the menu that night will be BBQ chicken (leg and thigh), pulled pork, fresh cornbread, two homemade sides as well as a coupon for a free appetizer card when you visit the restaurant.

Tickets can be bought ahead of time through the school’s website (click on the online giving tab where you can place your order) or you can purchase tickets directly at the school. See that attached flyer for more details.

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An invitation for park lovers

30 Aug

I’d like to extend an invitation today to anyone who loves — and appreciates — our Village of Webster parks.

tree marker

Expanding the village’s tree marker program is one goal of the Village Board’s Parks and Recreation Committee. 

First, a little background. Only a month or so after I became a new village resident, I was approached and asked if I would like to join the Village of Webster Parks and Recreation Committee. Apparently, the new village bike racks which I’ve been pushing for also fall under the purview of the Parks and Rec Committee. Since I seemed so invested in that issue, joining the committee itself seemed a natural next step.

I figured I should try to get more involved in my new hometown, so I accepted the appointment. Now I’d like to invite others to join the committee as well.

Many village residents are surprised to learn that our little village actually has FIVE different parks within its boundaries:

  • Harmony Park on Phillips Rd., which features the Village Band bandshell
  • Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave. with the gazebo
  • Wilmorite Park on Iroquois St., with a playground, picnic table and basketball court
  • Schantz Park on State Rd., with tennis courts, a rock wall and playground
  • Milton Case Park, behind Spry Middle School, with 14 acres of woods and several trails.

One of the primary goals of our committee is to bring more awareness to these natural resources. We’ll also work to see that they are maintained and — hopefully — improved, and encourage development of new parks. To that end, at our most recent meeting, we discussed tentative plans for

  • a “discover your parks” scavenger hunt
  • creating a survey about park usage
  • distributing an informational brochure describing the parks
  • updating and expanding the tree marker program
  • visiting each park to inventory their condition, and more.

Thing is, counting me, there are only two people on the committee right now. We could use two or three more to help us implement all of our great ideas, and come up with new ones.

We meet once a month, on the fourth Thursday at 7 p.m. in the community meeting room at Village Hall. Our last two meetings have lasted less than 45 minutes, so it’s not a huge time commitment.

If you’re interested at all, or would like to find out more information, please email me at missyblog@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

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One more chance to vote on the bike racks

10 Jun

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about how the Village of Webster will be installing four new bike racks this summer. Village Board members will have the final decision on where they’ll be placed, but have invited input from the community to help them guide their decision.

I created a survey suggesting nine different locations throughout the village. Thank you to everyone who has taken a minute to fill it out (and it really only takes a minute). To date I’ve received 44 responses, but would love to get some more.

Here’s an update on what people have been telling me so far:

bike rack 1

The top two most popular locations so far for the bike racks with the Town of Webster logo are 1) in front of Barry’s Old School Irish/The Garage Sale Store and 2) in Veterans Park. Running a close third is a spot in front of Village Hall.

bike rack 2

The top two most popular locations for the racks with the bike insignia are 1) in the parking lot somewhere near Village Bakery and 2) in front of Barry’s/The Garage Sale Store. Those two spots are tied for first, and there’s not a close third.

I will be presenting my findings at the Village Board meeting later this week, so now’s the time to weigh in with your opinion if you’d like to. To read more about how the bike racks came to be, click here to go to my original blog. Or click here to go directly to the survey. It really only takes a minute.

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Village schedules 9/11 ceremony

6 Sep

img_6114

One of the most solemn anniversaries in our nation’s history comes around again next week. The two simple words by which we all know it belie the horror of the day: 9/11.

The Village of Webster always does a very nice job commemorating the occasion, with a ceremony held at the gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park, on North Ave.

Scheduled for next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the event usually lasts around 45 or 50 minutes, and includes first responders, and local and regional political representatives who offer some comments. Last year the Chorus of the Genesee also participated, performing some patriotic tunes.

Members of the Webster Fire Department are planning to congregate at the station on South Ave. at around 6:15 and march as a group to the ceremony. You won’t want to miss that.

Click here to see the blog I wrote about last year’s 9/11 ceremony.

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Village gets charged up

29 Aug

charge 1

The Village of Webster has just taken a very big eco-friendly step.

Just this week, the village installed a new EV charging station for electric cars, located in the village parking lot behind Village Hall and the fire station. It will fully charge a car in about six hours (faster than home charging) and it has two ports, so that two cars can use it at the same time. It works with an app called EVConnect, which drivers download on their phones.

Village Mayor Darrell Byerts said that installation of the charging station is part of a charge 2broader plan to make the village a “greener” community, and perhaps nab a New York State grant.

“This brings the Village a step closer to being a Clean Energy Community and eligible for a $5000 grant,” Byerts wrote in an email.

“I have been in favor and an advocate of a charging station in the Village since seeing one at the Port of Rochester and a public parking lot in Venice, Florida,” Byerts added. “We join a growing number of local communities that are providing service for the new electric vehicles.  In fact, we are investigating and considering the future purchase of electric vehicles for Village use.”

“It is exciting to be able to now service vehicles in the heart of the downtown business area.”

Final details are still being worked out, including hours of operation, how long cars can stay connected, and whether there’s a charge to use it (no pun intended). These details will be discussed at the upcoming Village Board workshop on Tuesday Sept. 4 and regular Village Board meeting on Thursday Sept. 13. So if you’d like to weigh in on any of those topics, you should try to attend one of those meetings.

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Construction and deconstruction in the village

23 Jul
gateway

WHAT is going on at the intersection of North Ave. and 104?

If you’ve driven by the intersection of North Ave. and Rt. 104 lately, perhaps when you came into town Saturday for the Jazz Fest, you noticed there’s quite a bit of construction going on along North Ave., especially at the intersection with 104.

It’s all part of the North Ave. revitalization project, which will mean a little bit of a mess for a while, but in the end will make our village’s primary access point much more attractive.

A big part of that project is the gazebo and sign-like thing going up at the bottom of the 104 east exit ramp. That’s all part of what the village is calling the North Ave. Gateway Project. Photos of what the finished project will look like are posted below.

 

According to Village Mayor Darrell Byerts, “The land was given to the village by the state and will be a park and rest stop along the bike trail.”

Specifically, it appears from the drawings that drivers and pedestrians who approach Webster will encounter a handsome gazebo, water fountain, and a sign welcoming them to the village. The electronic billboard that was down there at the intersection for a while announcing upcoming events will be replaced by something less tacky, but equally informational.

While I was at Village Hall taking photos of these drawings, I popped into the office of Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly and asked him if there’s been any movement in plans to purchase and install bike racks in the village. (Click here to read more on that issue.)

He was able to tell me that they’ve come up with a tentative design (which he wasn’t able to share with me yet), and it sounded like the village is considering purchasing four custom-designed racks.

Mayor Byerts added in another email that “Some ideas regarding the bike racks have been put forward. How to pay, since they were not in the budget for this year, is the question.”

Hopefully the village will discover that they’re not too pricey. As long as we’re spiffing up the village and trying to make it pedestrian and bike-friendly, they would be a natural addition and well worth the cost.

water tower

The deconstruction to which I referred in the headline is the dismantling of one of the two water towers just south of the village on South Ave.

Mayor Byerts told me in an email that,

The little tower, “Top Hat,” is not needed by the MCWA. When we removed the cell antennas, they were ready to take it down. The remaining large tower is all they need as a reserve. MCWA will be scraping and painting the outside with a MCWA and Village of Webster logo as well as relining the inside of the tank. This would have been a huge expense for the village a few years ago.

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Village looks to upgrade two of its parks

30 Jun

If you’re a fan of our village parks, here’s something that might interest you:  Our village administrators are looking to make improvements to two of them, Schantz Park on State Rd. and Veterans Memorial Park (Gazebo Park) on North Ave.

A lot of changes are being proposed, all of which can be seen in the photos I’ve included above. You can also click here to see a detailed .pdf document:  2018.06.26 DRAFT Webster Parks Public Meeting. But here are some of the highlights:

Improvements to Schantz Park would focus mostly on the southeast portion of the park, adjacent to State Road. The tennis courts, which are infrequently used and are in very poor repair, would be removed entirely. Replacing them would be a much larger parking lot, a pavilion and a natural play area. All would presumably make the park more comfortable and welcoming for families and fans who come to watch ball games played there.

Plans for Veterans Memorial Park are much more extensive.

The biggest change would be the addition of a sidewalk encircling the entire grassy area of the park, expanding into a larger paved area directly in front of the gazebo. The idea here is to encourage better circulation and additional seating area, with the added benefit of providing easier access for those with disabilities.

The veteran’s memorial itself and its gardens would be moved from the southeast corner of the park to the northeast. And fear not, the park will still have a clock, although chances are very good it’s going to be replaced with something as handsome, but a lot less troublesome.

Sculptures, additional plantings, a rain garden, and a decorative gateway will make things look pretty.

While plans have been sketched out for both parks, right now the village is only planning to try for a state grant to work on Veterans Park, and focus on Schantz Park some time in the future.

The proposed upgrades come from recommendations provided by a six-member advisory committee comprised of village and local business representatives. Matt Chatfield, Executive Director of the Webster Economic Development Alliance, explained that the public meeting was the next step in the “quick concept phase” of the proposal.

“The grant application is just the first of many steps in this process,” he said. “If the Village is awarded funding, there will be several additional public involvement opportunities prior to any final design and construction.”

Of course this is going to be a long process (anything involving government administration usually is). The grant application isn’t due until the end of July, and we won’t know until December if we’ve been awarded any funds. If so, then there’s an entire year-long park design process. Construction wouldn’t even begin until late 2020.

No other information/comment gathering sessions are planned at this point. However, if you’d like to share your opinions about the planned improvements, you can fill out this form here. (It only asks your thoughts about Veterans Memorial Park because it’s the only one on the table for now.)

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Community meetings scheduled this week

24 Jun

 

welcome to webster

So I came across some information mostly by chance about a few community meetings coming up that I think everyone should know about.

The first is the Town of Webster Community Meet & Greet, Monday June 25 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the community room at the Webster Public Library.

Participants will get a chance to meet their state, county and town elected officials, along with first responders and leaders of several community organizations, including the Webster Special Police, who will be recruiting new officers during the event.  It’s a good chance to learn about upcoming projects and ask questions. Bring the kids, too, because there’s going to be some crafts set up for them.

Then on Tuesday June 26, the Village of Webster will host an Open House Meeting at the Community Meeting Room, 28 W. Main Street, to discuss updates to some of the local parks, and other plans for the village.

The meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

I’m planning to be at both meetings, so I hope to see you there!

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Update on the bike racks

15 Jun

As promised, I did attend the Webster Village Board meeting last night and said my piece about the need for more bike racks in the village. I am pleased to report that the idea was well received. Actually, it appears that Jake Swingly, Superintendent of Public Works, has already done some legwork on the idea.

In the discussion that followed my presentation, Swingly said that after the idea was first proposed a month or two ago, he had done some investigating to see what kinds of bike racks were available for purchase and what they cost.

What he found out is 1) they cost “a lot to really a lot” and 2) they can be as simple as just a hitching post design to pretty much any shape you might want from an animal to a martini glass.

Swingly also thought that installing bike racks might present a marketing opportunity. He suggested working with the BID to have the village logo or other message laser-cut into them.

There was also discussion about where the racks might be installed — down by Veteran’s Park and in front of Smith Insurance at four corners were mentioned — and how they would have to be removable since winter salt application would destroy them.

Nothing much was decided last night. But I was encouraged that Swingly has already looked into the issue, and that the board members seemed to think it was a good idea. I’m hoping that there’s now some momentum, and perhaps later this summer we village cyclists will have someplace — or several places — to park our bikes when we go into town for a pizza or a pint or a concert.

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Village bicyclists, unite!

14 Jun
bikes

Dunkin’ Donuts on North Ave. could use its own bike rack, evidenced last June when my husband and I went for coffee one Sunday morning.

At a recent gathering of our Barry’s (Pub) Runners club, a running buddy and I were discussing how the Village of Webster could really use some bike racks.

The only one we have in town right now (and you probably don’t even know it’s there) is a small one on Lapham Park at the corner of East Main, outside where Mac 5 Bikes used to be. Not big enough for more than one — maybe two — bikes, and not very convenient.

I’d love to see a bike rack installed at the gazebo park, one outside Barry’s or Smith Insurance across the street, maybe even one in front of Village Hall.

I’m going to propose just that tonight (Thursday) at the Village Board meeting, and I invite any and all other village biking fans to join me in support. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Village Meeting Hall, 29 South Ave. You can enter off of South, or behind the building off of the parking lot.

And yes, I’ll be riding my bike there.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

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