Geneva Business Improvement District Plant Bed Maintenance Plan | News

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GENEVA — The downtown streetscape and work on Routes 5 and 20, funded in part by the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, features 40 new plant beds, some ornamental and some designed to slow down and filter stormwater heading into Seneca Lake.

However, it takes people to maintain those beds, from removing trash to weeding, and that extra work has been a concern for the City Council, administration and taxpayers.

A plan proposed by the Geneva Business Improvement District is designed to buy time for the city while designing long-term maintenance efforts.

IDB Director Catherine Price provided a beautification proposal for the Geneva Local Development Organization. It requires spending about $63,000, starting in 2022, but largely over the next year, on tools needed for the job, as well as $49,000 in maintenance hours, including two seasonal BID workers and five hours of work each week by a new BID employee. .

The plan also includes a volunteer component, including training in proper maintenance techniques.

“This supplemental funding ensures that all existing and new flower beds and gardens are properly maintained,” he wrote in the proposal.

Price did not respond to a request for additional comment on the proposal.

While the LDC has agreed to share the funding for the scheme, probably in the 50% range, the Geneva Industrial Development Agency is expected to provide an equal share.

IDA members learned of the proposal at their November 4 meeting, and reception of sharing the cost of maintenance was largely positive, although the board was unable to approve the expense because there was no quorum.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Lowell Dewey, an IDA member. “I just don’t know how much. Fifty percent is a good number.”

IDA Administrator Tracy Verrier said each agency’s share may be scaled back a bit, as there may be $5,000 to $10,000 available from Geneva Growth, a dormant business development organization. As of Friday, that funding had not been secured, Verrier said.

Some IDA members expressed concern about the plan’s long-term sustainability, but Verrier said this is a stopgap measure.

“The idea is potentially two years,” he said, explaining that it will give the city time to budget for maintenance work.

City Manager Amie Hendrix said the IDB work would add to some additional resources for plant bed maintenance in the 2023 budget for the Department of Public Works and through a landscaping contractor.

“It takes the first two years to see what works and what doesn’t,” he said.

Board member Jason Fulton questioned whether the plan is dedicating the necessary resources.

“I am advocating that we spend more,” he said.

IDA is expected to get more details on the proposal at its December meeting, with possible funding approval at that session as well.

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