The snow is falling, the holidays are here and 2020 will be at our doorstep in a matter of weeks. All new years bring change – January 1st will bring a new decade, new hopes, new possibilities – and a new Downtown Development Specialist.
2019 isn’t over just yet so here’s a quick recap of some major achievements…
100in1 Day is an international day of action meant to create a critical mass of positivity, bringing an entire community together to do good and inspire change. 100in1 Day is held in over 30 cities across the globe – from Bogota, Columbia to Toronto, Canada to Johannesburg, South Africa. Gloversville, NY is the first in the United States to host a 100in1 Day event and, boy, did we hit it out of the park! Over 90 events across the City on one day – May 4, 2019.
In February, we hosted a SWOT analysis (strengths – weaknesses – opportunities – threats) with members of the public. Great ideas came out of that discussion and a community action task force soon followed. One of the key actions the group took on was pedestrian safety along Main Street. Working with City officials, we were able to 1) reduce the speed limit from Prospect to Forrest Streets to 25 mph, 2) get speed signs installed to alert drivers how fast they are going, 3) paint the crosswalks maroon and white for higher visibility and 4) purchase pedestrian crossing signs for the intersection of North Main and Church Streets.
2019 saw a dedicated effort to update and revitalize the much loved Elk Street Park and basketball court. We have teamed up with Project Backboard, a nationally recognized non-profit and will be starting the work in Spring 2020. The updated park design will include a new seating area, stands for watching games and a resurfaced court with a mural painted on it. The mural, designed by Gloversville High School student Kaylin Lee, was selected after a month-long online vote.
The project will cost between $45,000 and $60,000 to complete and fundraising is underway. We hope that everyone who has played at and loved Elk Street Park will help us as we try to raise the funds needed to complete the project. No donation is too small.
Placemaking has been at the core of the Downtown Development Specialist’s Office for the last three years. Placemaking works with individuals, businesses and organizations to reconnect the community to the public spaces they share. In 2019, we created an award to honor and highlight the placemakers in our City. The first honoree was Michael Medina and the crew at Fulton County Barbershop. Michael creates a space in which all are welcome, ideas are exchanged and good works are done. Programs such as Read to the Barber at the start of the school year and Haircuts with Santa (coming up on 12/21) embody the heart and soul of our downtown and placemaking.
As I leave the position of DDS, I can honestly say how honored, privileged and amazed I am by you, our City, for all of the hard work, hope and enthusiasm you have shown over the last three years as we move toward a revitalized downtown Gloversville. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Revitalization is not quick and it is not easy, but it is possible and sustainable when community members are actively involved.
Happy New Year and may 2020 see even more success!