At the New Year we look ahead. Our town’s planning for 2017 carries forward our progress in the year just ended. So now seems an appropriate moment to assess where we stand with some major projects over the past 12 months.
Community Center: We resolved what to do about a community center. This issue had been pending for 15 years and longer. In October, Pittsford voters approved the town board’s recommendation to upgrade, remodel and expand our Spiegel Community Center. This plan accomplishes a multimillion dollar saving over constructing a new building and allows the town to continue its recreation programs in the decades ahead, with room for growth. Siting our senior center in the remodeled Spiegel building will save us more than $100,000 in rent each year. The project preserves and rehabilitates for modern use a building significant in Pittsford’s history. We expect to have in hand a final design by March and to begin construction in September. The work should take a year. We’ll relocate as many programs as we can while the building is closed for renovation.
Calkins Road Sidewalk Project: We jump-started this pending project two years ago. We now have a sidewalk spanning Calkins Road and Mendon Center Road, from the Calkins Road Middle School to the Mendon Center Elementary School and along Tobey Road from Calkins to Trotters Field Run. We’ve installed a signalized pedestrian crosswalk where Calkins, Tobey and Mendon Center meet. That sidewalk completes the original project. As a supplementary project this year, we’ll add a section of sidewalk along Tobey from Trotters Field to Stone Road that will provide a contiguous pathway along Tobey from Calkins Road to Stone Road.
East Avenue Sidewalk Project: In 2016, we completed the final project design and the construction application. Thanks to state Sen. Rich Funke, we secured full state funding for the project. Work begins this spring. The East Avenue sidewalk will connect the village with the Brighton town line, providing a safe pathway for residents and the many students at St. John Fisher and Nazareth colleges, who live along the way.
Comprehensive Plan: With consequences, in the near term at least, less visible than buildings and sidewalks, our revision of the town’s comprehensive plan will define the look and character of Pittsford for years to come. The comprehensive plan committee, consisting of citizens and public officials, is now wrapping up its work of the past year and a half. That work included several valuable sessions devoted to participation by members of the public. The town board expects to hold a public hearing on the proposed final draft this spring.
Active Transportation Plan: Undertaken in tandem with the comprehensive plan, this effort represents a plan to improve access and safety in and through Pittsford to those on bikes and on foot. It will complete additional trail routes and connect many others. This joint effort with the village represents the work of a separate citizens committee. The committee met throughout 2016, during which it sponsored several workshops for public comment and advice and undertook a communitywide survey. Its draft plan will be shared for public review and comment this month.
Farm View Park and Great Embankment Park: In 2016, we completed work on improving and reconfiguring both parks. Both the new athletic fields and rehabilitated athletic fields will be ready for use in the spring. We’re starting work on new playgrounds at each location. Weather permitting, we’ll complete them over the winter.
Thornell Farm Park: This past summer the town completed an artificial turf field and new tennis courts. They’ve been in use since last August. We installed three new grass fields. Making necessary allowance and time for the grass to establish itself, these should be placed into use during the latter half of this year. We’ll add a new playground this year as well.
Hopkins Park: New fields and restrooms are complete. In anticipation of the fields being ready for use by the fall, we’ll repave the parking lot this summer.
Historic Canal Lock 62 Restoration: We carried this project forward in 2016, removing debris, draining the old canal bed and improving the adjacent trail. This is an ongoing project that will continue this year.
Special events and festivals: Thousands of Pittsford residents and visitors enjoyed our second annual Paddle and Pour Festival this year, held once more in conjunction with the Pittsford Crew Regatta. It was also the second year for the Main Street Food Truck and Music Fest in September. By popular demand, we’re looking at possibilities for a new wintertime festival as well. Our other public observances and entertainments in 2016 have proven more popular than ever. These include our Memorial Day parade and ceremony, Summer Concerts by the Canal, the Concerts for Kids, Family Outdoor Movie Nights and the Family Halloween Fest.
The items I’ve described are scarcely exhaustive but touch on some of Pittsford’s major initiatives under way during 2016. Through it all, we carried on with the customary provision of municipal services, including planning, zoning, building, highway, sewer, parks, recreation, senior programming, library programs and services, information and administrative services, debris and leaf pickup — under particularly difficult circumstances this past year — and snow plowing.
My thanks to our town employees in all departments for their outstanding service and perseverance.
To contact Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith: bsmith@townofpittford.org or 585-248-6220.