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Downtown projects get public comments

PENN YAN--The Penn Yan Downtown Revitalization Initiative committee held an open house Monday, Feb. 11 to receive feedback from the public regarding the current downtown projects that are being considered for $10 million in state grants.
The meeting was held at the Penn Yan Academy cafeteria and organizers had summary highlights for the 18 priority projects (details are also listed on the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center's website) mounted on art boards and displayed on easels for viewing with the more than 150 people that turned out for the evening.
Ed Flynn, an executive with architectural firm LaBella Associates coordinating the Penn Yan project for the state, said, "We are on a very tight schedule now with this project. After tonights' open house, there will be a Feb. 26 local planning committee meeting, a final review and final slate of project selections March 13 and then a final public meeting the week of March 18. LaBella will then submit the strategic investment plan to state officials March 31."
For Monday evening, Flynn invited the public to use small post-it notes and attach their comments, good or otherwise, to the projects being considered for submission to the state.
After about 30 minutes, several of the arts and culture projects collected many stick-on notes and some other private projects had few notes and some had none. A sampling from several of the projects included the following comments.
Milly's Pantry had a collection of post-it notes. Some of the comments included: "Community project serves everyone," "Milly's benefits the whole community but needs access for handicap and the elderly. The elevator would make that possible-it is a gem" and "great community asset."
Water Street Townhomes received both positive and critical comments. One note read, "Great improvement to Water Street providing needed mid-range housing," "Add to the village tax base, developing vacant lot with parking included." Another person wrote: "Isn't the income from the housing enough to fund the project?", "Private corporations should invest and they will capitalize on their own investment-village funds should not be used."
Many notes were attached to the board for the Sampson Theatre project. Some of the comments included, "What a treasure, lots has been done, let's continue the momentum" and "Attract year-round activity."
Flynn said of the 18 projects currently being considered, three include residential living units, six are for mixed-use, three are cultural, recreational and public improvements, five are commercial projects and one is the overall building fund.
All of the comments from the public will be reviewed by committee members.

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