By Kellen M. Quigley
As the year comes to a close and a new one arrives in only a few days, now is a good time to reflect on what has been going on in the Springville area during the past year as well as look forward to what could be coming in the new decade.
We recently asked some local officials to share their thoughts on how 2019 was for their respective areas and what could be in store as we roll into 2020.
Clyde Drake, Supervisor of the Town of Concord, said one of the biggest stories of the year in the town was the case of a pit bull who bit a postal worker and the court case that ensued. The life of Chunk the pit bull would be spared, a Town of Concord judge ruled in November after authorities initially pushed for euthanasia.
“We had some dog issues that we wished hadn’t happened,” Drake said. “It caused a lot of hard feelings with people, but when it’s a safety issue, we have to try to push it to the limit and protect the safety of the citizens.”
At the end of 2019, two longtime town employees, Highway Superintendent Denny Dains and Supervisor’s secretary Denise Ciszak, retired after 24 years and 28 years, respectively.
“A couple of longtime employees going out the door, and we’re in the process of trying to train new people and they seem to be doing fine,” Drake said. “We’ve got some new blood and new ideas, and we’re hoping that’s a positive.”
For the town board, Drake said they’re working on the five-year plan to set a better course in the future and not be blindsided by items. He said they’re primarily working with older buildings and they’re hoping to chart a course for repairs and possible replacements.
“It’s not that we have any plans on the table right now, but you can’t stick your head in the sand,” he said. “We had threats of not getting AIM funding and that finally came through in 2019, so we don’t know if that’s going to be a yearly battle, but we were successful in getting it this year.”
Drake said the town’s senior center has seen a lot of growth and increased activities in 2019 and they’re expecting that to expand further in the new year.
Recently, some concerns with the rails to trails project through the town has come about, but Drake said they’re hoping to work through it in 2020 and form a compromise with the railroad and trails groups.
Also looking forward to 2020, Drake said there will be more meetings and information about the proposed solar field in the northeast end of the town.
“There’s a lot of positive things go on,” he said. “No year is going to be perfect, you get a lot of surprises every year, but we just try to work our way through them.”
FOR SPRINGVILLE-GRIFFITH Institute Superintendent Kim Moritz, what she’s most proud of in 2019 is having an intact group of employees who have been working together well, from administrators to teachers and staff.
“It’s a really good team and solid board leadership, so that feels good,” she said. “It feels like a time of stability here at the school district, and I look forward to that continuing into the new year and the years that follow.”
One of the biggest things happening at the district this year was the progress of the ongoing capital project. Moritz noted the new parking lots, lighting plans and the P-TECH academy as some highlights.
“From that perspective, we’ve seen a lot of great improvements to our buildings and grounds,” she added.
After about four years since arriving at the district, Moritz said it’s been nice to finally feel settled in and to have the district at a place of stability.
“And our students really have been remarkable, so I think it’s a good time here in Springville,” she said.
IN THE VILLAGE, Mayor Bill Krebs said 2019 included a $600,000 project on Newman and Maple streets was completed, including bridge construction, which received state funding for pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
“That was a big project for us,” he said. “And that included grants from the New York State DOT.”
Another project was the drilling of a new well by the high school, which takes the place of the first well in the village right next to it.
“Of course, our digester cover ruptured, and we began the repair of that, but the rupture itself was a big event,” Krebs said. “And we have a new Superintendent of Public Works, Duane Boberg.”
In Heritage Park off of Franklin Street, Krebs said a wind sculpture art project was installed, called the Spirit of Spring Brook, the creek that runs through the village and its namesake. The Thursdays, Downtown project featured live music in the park during the summer in partnership with Concord and the Springville Center for the Arts.
“The village also permitted snowmobile use, regulated by the Snowmobile Club of Boston, on our portion of the Erie-Catt Rail Trail, which is the Pop Warner Trail,” he said.
Looking forward to 2020, Krebs said there will be elections in March for three new trustees to the Village Board, as well as one judge. The election this year is on Wednesday, March 18, which is moved from Tuesday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, as part of a New York state law.
For infrastructure projects, Krebs said there will be an electric project for improvements to the North Street substation, including the implementation of a SCADA system, which is a computerized balancing system for the load.
“And of course we’re going to replace the digester cover and the component parts in there that need to be replaced,” he added. “That’s going to be happening pretty soon at the wastewater treatment plant.”
Also in the new year, Krebs said the village is planning to update its tree replacement code in the village to redefine the placement of trees in the right-of-ways, parks and other public places.
“And we will continue the flower and streetscape management of our village center and our parks, including the partnership with the Springville Center for the Arts for the placement of public art in the village,” he added.