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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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Some thoughts about the Village Board

11 Mar

It had been a long time since I’d attended a Webster Village Board meeting, but last Thursday, on the advice of the fine ladies at the Village Hall (where I’d gone to renew my passport), I decided to go. And I’m glad I did.

The evening was marked by two important events. The first was a moment of silence in honor of one of the village’s finest people, Carol Klem, who passed away about a week ago.

Village Trustee Karl Laurer added some thoughts. He said that Carol was “instrumental in helping me be in the position I am now. … She was a fine example of humility, integrity, decency, honor, and a solid part of our village meetings.”

Village Trustee Jude Lancy added that Carol’s funeral, held the previous day, was a “great celebration of her life….As sorrowful as we felt, (the officiants) made us laugh.”

Mark

The next order of business was another celebration of service to the community, but a bit happier one, when David Mayer was recognized for his almost 21 years of service as the village’s Planning and Zoning attorney.

During his tenure he served under seven different mayors of different political parties, earning respect from them all.

On a side note, I have to say that attending the Village Board meetings is a pleasant experience once again.

I had gotten out of the habit of attending these meetings because I was a bit put off by the shenanigans and the circus it had become under the previous administration. I had both a prurient interest in attending just to see what might happen, but also felt frustrated, embarrassed and annoyed by what did transpire.

But now they’re back where they belong: civil, not contentious. There’s a lot of dry procedural matters that necessarily have to be part of village business, but there’s usually also a lot of interesting information for our day-to-day village living.

For example, at one meeting late last year, one resident brought up his concerns about the clock tower in Veterans Park, and how it had been broken for so long. He by the way, was one of the residents who worked so hard to raise money to purchase it.

I encourage every village resident to check out a meeting every once in a while. It’s a good way to become an informed citizen, and a great avenue by which to express your concerns about what’s going on in the village. There aren’t many opportunities these days when we can look a government leader in the eye and share our gripes.

Village Board meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of every month beginning at 7 p.m., in the Village Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. (This is a new time. Meetings used to begin at 7:30, but were moved as of March 1.)

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Goodbye, my friend

6 Mar

carol_klemWebster began the painful process today of saying goodbye to one of the village’s most precious people, Carol Klem.

Carol passed away peacefully on Saturday March 3, surrounded by her family.

I know I was just one of hundreds to file through Willard Scott Funeral Home this afternoon and evening. But I’m certain that each and every one of those mourners came with a different story, a different memory, a different reason that Carol will be sorely missed.

I knew Carol for less than 10 years, but we shared a passion for local journalism, and a love for the village. When we first met — I don’t remember when or where it was, but it was probably at some village event — we immediately hit it off.  Aside from bonding over our love of writing and journalism, we recognized in each other the same determination to live life fully, not take life too seriously, and never completely grow up.

I will miss our gab sessions at Barry’s and Golden Boys, when we would get together to swap story ideas and gossip. I will miss seeing her swinging her little digital camera at village events. I will miss her ever-present smile, boundless energy and joie de vivre.

Her passing has created an ache in my heart and a rip in the fabric of our village which will take a long time to heal.

Carol Klem’s funeral will be held on Wednesday March 7, at  11:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Rd., Webster. Interment will follow at Holy Trinity Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Webster Arboretum. Click here to read the complete obituary.

Also, if you haven’t found it yet, here is the link to the article I wrote for the Webster Herald in November in anticipation of Carol Klem Day in the village.

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Chip off the old blog

19 Jan

IMG_20180119_070716225There’s a new columnist in town, and it’s a proud mommy moment for me.

My daughter Erin has officially become a new columnist for the Webster Herald. Her column, which she is calling the “Village Beat,” will be published every two weeks in the Herald, and on the village website.

Erin is taking the reins from long-time Webster Herald columnist Carol Klem, who wrote the very popular “Village Focus” column for 12 years.  Knowing that there is really no way to replace Carol Klem, Erin explained in her first column, published on January 3, that she’ll be approaching the piece a bit differently.

She wrote,

I don’t live in the village like Carol does; I’m a Webster native, but I’m a few miles away from the center of town. For me, village life isn’t something I’ve spent my time surrounded by, at least not until the last few years. Still, that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt at home out on Main Street. The village is a place I go in order to meet with friends, spend time with family, have a pint. It’s where I go for experiences that are new and familiar at the same time. Every day is a different experience out there, but no less rewarding. Now I just have the privilege of being able to write down and share those experiences with you.

Now that the Village Beat is column is up and running (her second installment was published this week), Erin needs your help.

She’s going to need your press releases and emails, letting her know what’s going on in the village.  She’s going to want to know about your special events, important anniversaries, heartwarming village stories about village people and places. Let’s start flooding her email box with ideas for future columns, and help her share with everyone else all the things we love about the Village of Webster.

Email your news to webstervillagebeat@gmail.com.

And remember to check out the new column in the Webster Herald and online.

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Carol Klem Day declaration packed the house

23 Nov

crowd

It was standing room only in the Community Meeting Hall for Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting, and not a one of them had come to complain about some problem they were having in the village.

No, the Board had announced that Tuesday November 21 would forever be known as Carol Klem Day, and almost 100 of Carol’s friends, family members and business owners had come to witness the official proclamation.

Trying to get the large, chatty crowd organized so they could start the meeting on time was kind of like herding cats. But eventually everyone found a seat or a spot along the wall, and Mayor Darrell Byerts called the meeting to order.

The proclamation was the first order of business. Carol Carol with proclamationjoined the board members at the podium as Mayor Byerts read the official document. There were a lot of “whereas”es and at least one “let it be known,” but the gist of the document were these paragraphs, which related to Carol’s work with the Webster Herald:

Whereas her (Village Voice) articles helped to support local organizations and businesses old and new and to promote community events all year long,

and whereas her journalistic expertise has ultimately strengthened the village and everything it stands for as a close-knit, supportive and fun community by bringing people together.

Following the presentation of the official document, several others stepped up to the podium to express their gratitude.

Village Trustee Jude Lancy, who helped pull this event together, sent along this list of thank-yous for helping make the evening’s festivities successful:

Thank you to:

  • Mayor Darrell Byerts for coming up with the the idea of Carol Klem Day, and the beautiful plaque commemorating this event.
  • Carol’s daughter MaryKay, for gathering early information on Carol’s life and bringing the family to the presentation;
  • Robyn Whitaker for the plaque presented to Carol from the Business Improvement District, in appreciation of her support;
  • Bill Horeth and Kathy Mills, representing Kittelberger Florist for the presentation of long-stemmed red roses in thanks for Carol’s contribution to the village and businesses;
  • Sharon Pratt, representing the Museum, who gave thanks for all of Carol’s contributions to the welfare of the museum;
  • Jake Swingly and Steve Small for “starring” Carol Klem on the digital billboard in front of the South Avenue fire house;
  • Dorothea Ciccarelli for showing the Village Hall’s appreciation and her own appreciation for the support given to her daughter, Lacey;
  • Maegan Lessing for her efforts in preparing the proclamation, getting everyone’s signatures and finding a suitable frame;
  • and thanks to everyone in attendance for a standing-room only gathering for our one and only Carol Klem.

Erin and CarolLater in the meeting, after most of the well-wishers had left, another notable event happened.

Mayor Byerts announced that a new columnist had been found who will be taking the Village Focus reins from Carol. The new columnist will soon be starting up the weekly column again, plus a new blog to be posted on the village website.

Then he officially introduced — and the Board officially approved — my daughter, Erin Rosenberry.

Several details have yet to be worked out.  But as soon as Erin gets an email up and running, I hope the Village of Webster will support her — as you have supported me — as she shares all the good things our community has to offer.

Carol with Village Board

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Village resident petitions Board for new stop signs

13 Jul

Joe Cassara is getting tired of cars speeding by his house on Dunning Ave., so he’s asked the Village to do something about it.

The current speed limit on Dunning is 30 miles per hour. Cassara said that at times, vehicles travel down Dunning at an excessive rate of speed, by his estimate from 40-60 miles an hour.  The stretch from Main Street to Fuller Ave is wide, flat, straight and unimpeded, making it an easy place to speed.

Cassara wrote,

Many of the houses in this neighborhood are owned or rented by families with young children. Dunning is a popular street for surrounding areas (Park, Elm, Curtice Park, Fuller, Lapham Park, Ridge), and is often filled with families walking, riding bikes, and playing outside. The speeding problem is dangerous to residents, and the posted speed limits aren’t enough to deter drivers of all ages from disobeying the law.

So last week he approached the Village Board and asked that stop signs be erected at Dunning and Elm, and Dunning and Park to slow the traffic.

“(The Board was) receptive to the stop signs,” Cassara reported, “and asked me to get a bunch of signatures to support my case. Then, they’ll bring it back for a vote to send to a public forum, the next step in the process.”

So Cassara has created an online petition which you can check out for details, sign if you’d like, and share with your friends and neighbors.  You can see it by clicking here.

The proposed stop signs would go at the corners of Elm Street and Park Ave. where they meet Dunning Ave.

Public input requested on planned village traffic improvements

20 May

The Village of Webster is considering making major improvements in traffic patterns for pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles, and is now inviting residents to weigh in on the plans.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday June 5 to provide the public with a chance to review and comment on draft recommendations for suggested improvements to West Main and North Avenue.

The public meeting will include a presentation by study consultants about the village’s transportation characteristics and conditions, and evaluations of traffic flow, parking, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.  It will be followed by a discussion of village transportation needs as expressed by area residents.

Finally, recommended strategies and improvements will be presented for public comment. Preliminary recommendations include major changes at the Route 104/ North Avenue interchange and changes to East and West Main Streets. (Scroll down to see renderings of the proposed changes.)

This meeting is part of a major study of transportation in the village being funded by the Genesee Transportation Council in conjunction with the village’s new Comprehensive Plan. Its purpose is to improve circulation, accessibility, parking, and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in the village.

According to the release I received, during the development of the Comprehensive Plan,

the public expressed considerable concern about the lack of vitality and limited consumer buying opportunities in the business district; the location of parking and the perception of too little parking; generally increased traffic, as well as event-related congestion; poor signage; and the pedestrian and barrier and safety issues created by Route 104. Moreover the continued expansion of commercial activity in the Town of Webster outside the Village is creating increased competition for Village businesses and pressuring business owners and the Village government to seek changes that will keep and attract business investment and people.

The workshop will be held Wednesday June 5 at 7 pm in the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. For more information on the Public Workshop, contact Glenn Cooke at info@WCCED.net or by calling (585) 269-4939.

 

Plans are to put dedicated bike lanes on West Main. Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Major changes in store for the Rt. 104/North Ave. interchange. Click on the image to enlarge.