Heading into not only a new year but a brand-new decade, we asked a number of community leaders from around the area what they are looking forward to in 2020 for their municipality, agency, office or just in general.
What follows are a sampling of the responses we received.
Mary Walsh Boatfield
President and CEO
Throughout the year, we strive for individuals and families to experience “What Happens Here Changes Lives Forever” in a community that is “Opening Doors and Enriching Lives” and promotes “Work. Wellness. Independence.” Happiness House, CP Rochester, and Rochester Rehabilitation have served over 6,600 individuals and families in 2019, providing exceptional quality of service and care. The grand opening of the Golisano Autism Center will help serve several thousand individuals with autism in the Finger Lakes region throughout their lifespan. We look forward to a new year of having a positive impact on the lives of children and adults with disabilities and disadvantages.
The Second Impact
In 2019 The Second Impact Concussion Awareness Foundation included keynote speeches at the renowned Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Conference in Boston and at the Cleveland Clinic. A Globo TV documentary, “The Cautionary Story of American Boxer, Ray Ciancaglini” aired to an estimated 20 million viewers and the new book release, “Second Impact, The Ray Ciancaglini Story” by Andy Siegel, garnered No. 1 status on Amazon for four weeks. Locally, I visited Happiness House facilities, mentored the Geneva High School football team and lectured several student body classes about the importance of good character and being a good role model.
The Second Impact kicks off 2020 with a keynote speech at the Brain Injury Association in Providence, Rhode Island. The administration at Geneva High expanded my role as mentor for the football program to include all sports and the general student body. As a newly appointed Rotarian, I look forward to continuing its mission, “Service above Self.” The Second Impact will be on the road continuing to spread the message that education is the key and honesty about concussion symptoms will always be the best prevention and policy.
Just keep punching.
John L. Ghertner, MD Wayne Action for Racial Equality
We have feared the “other” for too long. Thousands of years ago, Jews were forced out of the land of Egypt. Africans faced shackles and whips and the hangman’s noose. Chinese faced Teddy’s guns. Muslims faced exclusion. Hispanics faced guns and concrete.
I pray that someday, the “other” will no longer be a part of our lexicon.
City of Geneva
In 2020 I think every resident of Geneva should make the choice to engage or reengage in the community in some way that will have a positive impact over the next decade.
Reflecting on 2020 and the decade ahead causes me to consider how the actions of today impact our future. As we think ahead, both city and county should strategically address or continue to address the systemic issues that could hold Geneva back in the long term — climbing property taxes, declining housing stock, challenges of socioeconomic stratification and inequity, and threats to our environment. As for 2020 I think Geneva will continue to thrive and I hope grow more confident in our identity and position regionally and nationally.
At the county level, this decade will see the expiration of the landfill lease. In 2020 I will continue to closely scrutinize landfill operations on behalf of county residents, work to strengthen our existing contractual position prior to the expiration of the landfill lease, and partner with other supervisors to ensure that the best interests of the community and county come first.
Geneva Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Club of Geneva has been growing rapidly, improving its support for Geneva’s kids and looking at new ways to help our members smooth out their road to college and a meaningful work life. Ensuring these outcomes requires teamwork — with the City and its School District, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. Peter’s Arts Academy and other community partners. Together we can do this; alone we fail. In 2020 our board will be working hard to make sure we can sustain our work and our facilities for generations to come. Geneva’s kids are its greatest contribution to this world. We can make the most of all of them.
Geneva Historical Society
Our mission is simple — telling Geneva’s stories. Whether it’s through objects, exhibits, programs, oral histories, or social media, there are a variety of ways for not only the Historical Society to share and tell Geneva’s stories but for the community to do so as well. As we move into the next decade our primary focus will be to increase our efforts of partnering with individuals and community organizations to ensure no story gets untold.
Smith Center for the Arts
We’re looking forward to expanding our role as Geneva’s cultural anchor by making sure our programming is relevant and gives everyone in our community a reason to walk through our doors at least once a year. Technology will continue to change our lives and work but the thrill of walking into an historic building and seeing your favorite artist perform (whether an international star or your granddaughter in a tutu!) never grows old. We are so privileged to be here when strangers put aside their differences to sing along to a favorite song.
Seneca County Judge
Judges are prohibited, for the most part, from commenting on anything related to our job, cases, or the law. Sports are a safe topic.
So, in 2020, I am hoping for the Pittsburgh Pirates to return to the World Series after a 40-year drought, the longest World Series appearance drought in Major League Baseball among any team with at least one appearance.
Additionally, I am hoping for the Bills to win the Super Bowl this year, in another month.
Lyons Erie Canalway Greeter and Erie Canal Ambassador
I am praying for an increase in membership and continued interest, enthusiasm, and dedication on the part of the Lyons Erie Canalway Greeters as they continue to promote Lyons as a “Must stop” on the Erie Canal. I am also praying that during the forthcoming year our community will see dynamic and progressive leadership from our elected officials.
The year 2020, and indeed the upcoming decade will be filled with challenges and opportunities — especially in higher education. At Keuka College, we’re ready to take on the former and take advantage of the latter. Our talented faculty and staff consistently demonstrate the necessary expertise to prepare the thousands of graduates we send into the community and the world to be the source of creativity and ingenuity required to make the 2020s a decade remembered as a time of peace, innovation, and cooperation.
Geneva Housing Authority
In the upcoming year, the Geneva Housing Authority is looking forward to the completion of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration conversion program of Elmcrest & Courtyard Apartments which includes the St. Francis project. As part of this conversion, the Elmcrest & Courtyard projects were converted from the traditional “HUD Public Housing” owned by the GHA to a “HUD Multifamily project” owned by the newly formed Geneva CESF Limited Partnership. The GHA will continue to manage these properties as it currently does.
This complexed financing plan calls for $25 million in renovation work at all three projects. The financing included funding from multiple sources including NYS Public Housing Preservation Funds, HFA Tax Exempt Housing Revenue Bonds, sale of both Low-Income Housing Tax Credits & Historic Tax Credits, and Purchase Money Note held by the GHA.
St. Francis Senior Housing is currently 75% complete and is targeted to be finished in February. The Elmcrest Apartments is currently 60% complete and is targeted to be finished in May, while Geneva Courtyard Apartments is 40% complete and should be finished in September.
Some work items include: At Elmcrest — kitchens, baths, electrical & plumbing upgrades, elevator improvements, new roofing & insulation, new kitchen appliances and all new finishing, downsizing the building, converting the 20 remaining efficiency units to 10 one bedroom units; at Courtyard — new kitchens, bathrooms, appliances, electrical, HVAC & plumbing upgrades, new roofing, reconfiguring some of the larger 4 & 5 bedroom units, four handicapped one-bedroom units to be converted to two-bedroom units while making the other eight one-bedroom units fully accessible; at St. Francis the original classrooms will be converted to 16 one-bedroom units, including new kitchens, new baths, new heating-electric-plumbing systems, new fire alarm system, new roof & insulation and installation of a new elevator, in the basement, resident storage areas, community room space including a dining hall and kitchen, laundry area, computer room & craft areas, and partial demolition of the 5-bay garage to make way for a 12-car parking lot.
Also, in 2020 the GHA will be mapping out a financing plan for the extensive renovations of its 38 Scattered Sites. In addition, we will be developing plans to implement a localized Resident Services/Family Self-Sufficiency Program, encouraging resident training with various job skills.
I look forward to continuing to work with neighbors like the City of Geneva and the towns of Seneca, Phelps, Waterloo and Benton, and our county, on improving water quality in the watershed, moving toward sustainable living and working, and delivering services to residents and businesses. I’m encouraged so many people are involved in the life of our communities and local governments. Although the road to success is always under construction, we are headed in the right direction. Being a presidential election year, 2020 will be tumultuous at times, but if we focus on what we and others are doing, and avoid arguments about concepts and beliefs, we can be examples of good government and healthy communities.