Saturday, September 29, 2012

Next Meeting October 1st

The next meeting of the Middleburgh Village Board will be October 1st at 7pm at the Municipal Building on 309 Main Street. On the agenda will include Middleburgh's volunteer day on October 6th, plans for sidewalk repairs next year, and a discussion on the parking situation on Wells Avenue. All are invited.

Volunteer Day Set for October 6th

The Village of Middleburgh is holding its second volunteer day on October 6th. The volunteer projects will start after the parade. For more information, call Mayor Avitabile at 763-6854. There are at least four projects ready at the moment. If you need a project done within the Village, please call the number above. Volunteers are also needed. Even if you can only do an hour or two, that would be of great help to those that need it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mayor Speaks to MCS Government Class

Being one of the only editors of the community blog leaves me in the awkward situation of having to write about myself. Most articles are written in the third person, but for this time I'll write it as it happened yesterday.

On September 25 I spoke to Mr. Kopff's Participation in Government class, made up of mainly 11th and 12th graders. I had taken the course myself, back in the day, and was happy to share my insights with his students. While there I discussed the responsibilities of being Mayor, especially trying to tie up many issues stemming from the flood or projects that should have been done years ago. On top of this, I talked about the process of becoming Mayor and why it's worth it. To see visible improvements just a year after Irene and knowing that the community is coming back strong makes the job all the better.

One thing that I wanted to impart was that this was a job open for anyone with a commitment to the community. You cannot make a difference here without hard work and stubborn desire to make Middleburgh better. I challenged the students to find one thing to make Middleburgh a better place to live. As all of the 1,500 people of the community continued the great work of rebuilding, we can provide the opportunity for the next generation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

United Methodist Church Continues Flood Aid

From the United Methodist Church of Middleburgh:

The UMC in Middleburgh continues to host volunteer teams from around the country. We are also fielding local volunteers on Mondays and Wednesdays. Site management is done by Jack Hill from the Valley Falls UMC and local volunteer coordination/case management is handled by Pastor Carol Coltrain. There is a six unit shower trailer onsite in Middleburgh for use by volunteers - arrangements for use can be made with Carol. On Nov. 8-10 , 2012 - the Middleburgh UMC will be hosting a Youth gathering with anticipated attendance of 100+ teenagers. They will have a community workday on Nov. 10, hopefully together with SALT.

For more information, please call Greg Forrester at 607-756-7799.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mayor's Commitment Honored for Schoharie's 300th

In what might be one of the few cases of Middleburgh and Schoharie's 300 years of "rivalry" thawing, the two communities came together for Schoharie's anniversary celebration.

Referring to the two Village's relationship as a "friendly rivalry," Mayor John Borst opened Schoharie's 300th Anniversary celebration with a speech. Recounting the bravery and time of Schoharie's residents and volunteers, Mayor Borst believes that Schoharie is as strong as ever.

Mayor Borst also had a surprise in store. The Mayor cited the commitment of nearby Middleburgh in his speech, and hoped for more cooperation in the time to come. He presented Mayor Avitabile with the key to Schoharie.

"It's an honor," said Mayor Avitabile, "But the thanks has to go to the people of Middleburgh and Schoharie that brought our communities back from Irene."

Middleburgh Announces Recovery Program

The Village of Middleburgh has launched several new projects included in a program intended to erase much of the damage of Irene. By working on these since April, the Village has been able to start the following:
- Through a Main Street Block Grant, $150,000 is being distributed to various businesses on and around Main Street. About twenty businesses are benefiting from the NYS grant money, with amounts ranging from $1,300 to $10,000. Trustee Sheryl Adams worked with the Schoharie County Planning Department to complete the project.
- Middleburgh is offering $50,000 in loans of one percent or less out of the Small Cities Block Grant. All businesses affected by the flood are welcome to apply to the Village for the loans, which will be distributed by a need basis. This was the brainchild of Trustee Bob Tinker.
- $10,000 from the Small Cities grant money will be set aside to encourage any new businesses, especially a grocery or pharmacy.
- A dramatic Main Street renewal project. $22,500 from the Main Street Grant will be used for new benches, garbage cans, flags, and other beautification works such as signs, flowers, flags, and the like. The following year, the Village plans on reworking many of the sidewalks along the business district. A new mural under the supervision of Trustee Bill Morton is expected on Main Street by next summer.
- A full time VISTA volunteer from SALT will be acting as an intern at the Village office. Working 40 hours a week, this volunteer will specialize in organizing the business community, events, and applying for grants. The VISTA partner will aid Middleburgh until the end of August 2013.

"This is a huge step forward," said Mayor Avitabile, "And the entire project will not require any tax increases." Trustee Sheryl Adams had been working on the Main Street grant and is largely responsible for it coming to fruition.

Members of the business community are enthused. This also comes as the Creekside Park project, originally slated for a 2004 opening, has just been completed. With the aid of the Middleburgh Telephone Company, the Village is planning on having the Depot Museum and Badgely Park renovations done by next summer.

These multi-stage rebuilding projects are part of a bigger plan, said the Mayor. "The Governor's office wrote the Village a comprehensive economic plan in 2005, but it was ignored. It's time to get the wheels turning again." Within the next year, the Village will propose a new economic plan, along with SALT and the new Middleburgh Business Association.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Solar Panels in Village

The Village of Middleburgh has just become a little greener. Two sets of solar panels have been installed on the corner of Wells Avenue and Grove Street. The proud owner, Dr. Roy Korn, says that the panels are guaranteed for 25 years and may continue operating for 40. Just installed last month, the panels are another step towards green energy entering the Valley.

These are the second set of solar panels in the Village. Frank Monaco of Indian Acres placed his own set several years ago.

New Volunteer Day Needs Projects

The Village of Middleburgh is aiming to have its second volunteer day in September or October. Anyone with any projects requiring physical labor should contact the Village Hall at 827-5143 and leave a description and contact information.

Village Completes Creekside Park

The Village of Middleburgh has just completed its Baker Avenue Creekside Park on September 6th. The new park encompasses much of the area behind the library and leading to the Little Schoharie Creek at the end of the street. The park includes the community garden, benches, a new parking lot, and access to the creek. Hopes are that this new park can be used in conjunction with any projects the Middleburgh Library may use its newly acquired plot for. The park is also visible from the historical mural completed in July. The Creekside Park was part of a grant program originally scheduled for completion by 2004.

Trustee Morton tending his plot
The Mayor with some of the bounty
The community garden is modeled after the Victory Gardens established during World War II. The garden affords an opportunity for residence of the village and town of Middleburgh to have a plot of land to grow vegetables and flowers for their own use. The plots range in size from either 20 ft. by 20 ft. or 20 ft. by 40 ft. An annual fee of $15 will be charged for the smaller plot and $25 will be charged for the larger plot. The fees are necessary in order to rent equipment for tilling the soil. The Village's community garden is situated on very fertile soil that is almost free of stones. The Village is encouraging those who are interested in having a garden plot next spring to contact Village Trustee Bill Morton at 827-4343 for further details.