Over 20 community members attended a public visioning meeting on such a scenario on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Palmyra-Macedon Intermediate School as part of the early phases of the village of Macedon’s Waterfront and Downtown Revitalization Strategy.
Imagine a vibrant community celebrating its history along a stretch of the Erie Canal, with ice cream trucks parked on the waterfront and restaurants specializing in seaside fare, hot dog stands on scenic trails for family hikes and bikes.
Imagine summertime evenings where it seems as though everyone in town is out and about, catching up with old friends and neighbors over a stroll down Main Street.
Canal communities like Fairport, Bushnell’s Basin and Pittsford may be the first to come to mind, but Macedon Village Mayor Marie Cramer hopes to see her village’s historic waterfront area transform into a similar destination.
Over 20 community members attended a public visioning meeting on such a scenario on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Palmyra-Macedon Intermediate School as part of the early phases of the village of Macedon’s Waterfront and Downtown Revitalization Strategy. Through grants made possible by the state Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area and Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs, the village hopes to transform its current “ghost town” vibe (as a guest feared those driving through Main Street saw the village) with the guidance of its residents. The “vision” is expected to be completed in a 20-year timeframe.
Cramer said there has been much talk in the past about taking advantage of the canal, but little action.
“This isn’t really new stuff that people want,” said Cramer. “There have been committees formed over at least the past 30 years charged with articulating a new vision and revitalizing this area. Actually implementing these ideas is an exciting time for Macedon.”
After a half-hour presentation from representatives of Bergmann Associates, a Rochester-based planning firm, the attendants separated into three groups facilitated by Bergmann where they were asked to provide comments on the obstacles that could hinder the revitalization process, as well as identifying some of the marketable points of pride in the village.
The real fun started when groups were asked to explore their “fantasy Macedon” as though money were no object. The groups brainstormed and presented Bergmann team members and their peers with concepts ranging from hiring local florists to plant flowers along Route 31, creating signage signaling drivers they are entering the village and creating a tourism campaign highlighting the village as home to a piece of the original Erie Canal.
“I’ve lived in Macedon my whole life, and as a lifelong resident, I care to see the village do well,” said resident Steve Kuntz. “When I was growing up, Macedon had two barber shops, a grocery store like any small village did, but it’s not like that anymore. That isn’t necessarily the fault of Macedon, it’s just how most villages have gone.”
Kunz hopes that playing up Macedon as a canal town will not only benefit the village itself, but the rest of Wayne County.
Page 2 of 2 - “Like any business where you can cluster together several similar things, like the Finger Lakes wine region, people will start going from one to the other. If Fairport and Pittsford have reputations as great canal towns and we’re right in the middle, why not make us part of the chain?”
Carol Bischoff, owner of the Main Street portrait studio Ultimate Images, hopes the revitalization will benefit her business but also change the perception of Macedon to neighboring towns and communities. “(Ultimate Images) also has a second location in Penfield,” she said. “So to me we are hoping to eventually only be in Macedon. The sticking point has always been (Monroe County residents’) perception of ‘how far away’ we are, when in reality, we aren’t that far from Fairport.”
She hopes her established business will have a ripple effect on fellow Main Street businesses.
“Clients would come out here for their appointment and have something to do afterwards — whether it’s dinner or heading over to the canal.”