Let's pull together for Fleischmanns
To The Editor:
I was recently at the celebration of 100 years of the Village of Fleischmanns. The event was not well advertised and I was surprised that there were no formal commemorations, speeches, announcements or proclamations. It was nice to see everyone who came out, with nice music and good food, but as one resident of the village told me, it seems like the village is pulling apart, not pulling together. I hope that the village board, residents and second homeowners like myself, can rededicate themselves to what makes Fleischmanns unique and special.
In 2009 the village board passed a Comprehensive Plan. It says that every member of the board, planning board, and zoning board of appeals should have a copy and use it as a guide to moving forward. I have seen a lot of plans passed by communities that then sit on a shelf. They are not a blueprint that should be followed word for word, but as a guideline for
progress. You can find a copy in the Skene Memorial Library. It would certainly be a good place to start.
I think it is first important to look back at the history of Fleischmanns, which the comprehensive plan does. Rescuing and preserving distressed properties must be a priority for the community, because these are the heart of Fleischmanns and cannot be replaced. Some good news is that Spillian has opened in the old Fleischmanns Mansion across Depot Street and so visitors can see and stay at this historic property once again
But there are only five new businesses on Main Street since the comprehensive plan was passed, which specifically called for bringing new businesses to downtown. There needs to be a renewed priority to bringing businesses to Main Street so when and if the Belleayre Resort opens, people will have a place to go.
Another opportunity is the Maxbuilt Theater, with over 600 seats. It is at the center of the community. When I arrived in Fleischmanns there was some activity and hope that something would happen. Getting the theater up and running, restored and active should be another priority. An event that would attract 300 to 600 people on a weekend night would be remarkable. It is large enough to be a center for the arts, like the Roxbury Arts Center. We must work with the MARK Project to do something imaginative and bold with this property.
We cannot always wait till grant money arrives. That might be necessary to replace the bridge on Bridge St. but surely not for everything. What can be done without a grant? With Wadler Bros. next door and many people in the home improvement business and construction, can’t we build a playground in the park through donations and volunteer labor? Why can’t we build a simple playground that would make Fleischmanns proud? Let’s pull together instead of fighting over little things and pulling apart.
The mission statement of the comprehensive plan says, “Our historic character is preserved, business community is revitalized and quality of life is enhanced.” The plan’s goals are cultural and civic institutions, enhanced pedestrian access, employment and recreational opportunities. I believe we can make it happen in order to prosper in the next 100 years.