Friday, June 29, 2012

Village Reforming Merchants Association

The Village of Middleburgh held a meeting to re-form the Middleburgh Merchants Association, which has been defunct since around 2003. The Village Board hosted about 20 people during the meeting, including members of the public and many of the community's businesses. Represented at the meeting were officers from the Rotary and Renaissance Council. Dan Merrill from National Grid gave a presentation on programs to make businesses more energy efficient. Mayor Avitabile mentioned that he had asked National Grid for money to help repair store fronts and fix the clock in front of the Library.

Dan Merrill from National Grid presents options for businesses to save on energy costs 
Various topics were discussed, including the organization of any such association and its activities. Most business owners agreed that the group should be loose, and not a chamber of commerce. There was also discussion on possible events to bring more people into the Village. One concern that was addressed was the need for a grocery store. The Mayor presented the chains that the Village had contacted to come into the community. One potential plan is to have the Great American from Cairo move into the old Grand Union Building.

In addition, there was wide consensus on the need for more parking. Some suggested moving Middleburgh to a two-hour parking schedule. The business leaders agreed with a plan to turn the former NAPA building into a parking lot. To offset the loss of one property, the Village is planning to sell or lease its lot behind the NAPA for another business to come in.

The meeting was organized by Mayor Avitabile, Jamie Casterlin, the Branch Manager at NBT Bank, and Trustee and Business Liaison Sheryl Adams. Adams and Trustee Tinker organized seventeen different members for the Merchants Association. Trustee Adams said, "Hopefully this will be a turning point for the businesses and Village to work together."

Another meeting is being set up to discuss a possible charter. The Village has taken the lead on the project and would like to build upon it to create a medium to long-term economic plan for Middleburgh.

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