By Kellen M. Quigley
With the new year officially here, the village of Springville is ready for a productive and exciting 2019.
But while there’s plenty in the works for the upcoming months, 2018 was an important year for the community with projects from both civic and cultural groups paving the way for a bigger and better Springville.
“As far as the village government goes, we accomplished some projects that I think will have a big impact on the quality of life for village residents,” said Mayor William Krebs in a conversation with the Times.
There were no major crises in 2018, the mayor said, and any problems that did arise concerning village services were addressed in a timely matter.
During the year, the continued revitalization of the historic downtown district has been evident in many ways, including the new and renovated storefronts and businesses, Krebs said.
“There’s more thriving small businesses with young owners who are re-investing in our village, which is important,” he said. Krebs also noted the opening of the new Emerling dealership on South Cascade Drive as a major re-investment into the village.
On the event side, the Fiddle Fest was one of the biggest in the event’s history, the mayor said, which shows the community’s dedication to Springville.
“Our role in building the thriving community is to make sure the infrastructure is sound,” he said. “We hope that if we do it right, it’ll attract not only residents but commercial endeavors, and I think we have.”
The village government saw two new trustees elected to the board, Kim Pazzuti and Elise Rose. Three new officials were also appointed, Krebs said, with Marc Gentner and Jamie Raynor becoming part of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Terry Skelton to the Planning Board.
In 2018, the village began a major infrastructure project to assist in preventing stormwater runoff from infiltrating the water treatment plant.
“That was expensive, and mandated, but it also is the right thing to do because it preserves the quality of water,” Krebs said.
Also in 2018, a greater focus on the arts was initiated, beginning with a project to install more art displays around the village. Earlier in December, the village board accepted a grant to fund an art installation project in 2019.
“There’s going to be a wind sculpture built in Heritage Park,” Krebs said. “It is funded in part by the Arts Service Initiative (of Western New York). … It should reflect the artistic heritage of the area.”
The wind sculpture would be the first project done under the new policy for future art applications established by the village board in 2018.
“This coming year, and down the line, we will have a policy that will help the board of trustees and historic preservation board process the applications,” the mayor explained.
In addition to the inner workings of the village and supporting cultural programs, Krebs said the village is continually working on addressing distressed properties.
Around the village, and ongoing sidewalk replacement project begun a couple years ago will continue, the mayor said. Under the surface, upgrade the sewer system will continue to be in progress.
“Most projects in a municipality are multi-year projects,” he said. “There are project going on all the time.”
One thing village residents may notice is the beautification of the historic village center with flowers on East Main, Franklin and Mechanic streets, Krebs said, with the plan to keep that going in 2019.
“We’ve taken a big step forward to make sure our village center looks attractive in the summer months,” he added. In keeping with beautification, the village’s process for garbage pickup and recycling is expected to change in the new year.
A growing working relationship with the public safety sector is another important goal for 2019, Krebs explained, which means continuing to work with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in the village, with the Springville Police Department, the volunteer fire department and the control center.
“We’re going to keep the lines of communications open so we know that all these agencies service our residents in the best possible way,” he said.
It’s difficult to predict way may need attention in the new year, but the mayor said the village will try to be on top of any issues that come up and will need attention by having a solid asset management.
“I think every year there’s something,” he said. “We don’t have as many (water line breaks) as we used to because we’ve proactively replaced water lines. It’s continued maintenance.”
Krebs said the village looks forward to working with the Chamber of Commerce to create and economic development strategy for Springville and the surrounding area.
“We just need to sit down with some of the business leaders and get it in writing,” he said. “Once we have that, I think it will help us build a closer relationship with the business community in Buffalo.”
Always busy and always hoping to improve the village, Krebs said he’s looking forward to the new year after a productive 2018. He said the projects sometimes overlap and run together while new opportunities continue to present themselves.
“Springville continues to be a great place to live and work, and the village government does everything we can to assist that and provide that,” he said. “We’re well aware that it’s not just the village government that contributes to that. It’s the commercial businesses and the non-profits that makes Springville a great place to live.”