Last night I attended the Town of Geneseo Planning Board meeting at its new location at the Millennium Road complex. I’ve heard many town employees talk about how much happier they are in the new, more spacious digs, but I’ve also heard many residents complain about what a pain it is to have to drive on Rt. 20A to get there. Count me in the latter group.
Even though the traffic is not that bad on a summer eve, the whole idea of having to drive in your car to get to a town meeting just rubs me wrong. Main Street is the core of our community, and important meetings need to take place in the core, where people can stroll in and out at their leisure.
And when it comes to ambiance there is no contest. Looking out the window from the conference room at the former SNF you get a great panorama of late 20th century commercial sprawl. If you’re lucky, on a clear day you can see all the way from McDonald’s to Taco Bell!
Contrast that with the beauty of our National Historic District. If people are a product of their environment, what kind of decisions can we expect in the coming years if our boards continue to meet in such a sterile and souless environment?
In order to make inspired decisions, our leaders and our community needs to meet in an inspirational setting, one that reminds us of our great history and tradition. A refurbished Geneseo Municipal Building can do just that.
In January, in the face of a town-wide referendum on the SNF move, the town board signed on to an agreement with the village concerning the future of the Geneseo Building. Part of that agreement was to share the SNF facility with the village as swing space. As soon as the votes were counted, however, the town suddenly lost the village’s phone number.
The most important part of that agreement, however, was a pledge to return core functions of the town government downtown after the Geneseo Building is renovated. Now in the face of what looks to be a tough re-election battle, incumbents are talking nice again about the prospects for returning, but do they really mean it?
Likewise, let’s also listen carefully to the depth of the commitment of other candidates to returning our core functions Downtown. We are at a critical crossroads in our community. The decisions we make in the next few years about the future home of our key government functions, will reverberate long into our future. Let’s remember the core!