Falconer Group Looks To Lay Economic Groundwork

FALCONER — Plans for the revitalization of the village of Falconer are in motion and picking up speed, following the second meeting of the Greater Falconer Area Economic Development Advisory Committee, which gathered at the American Legion Henry Mosher Post 638 recently.

A conference of local community leaders, business owners and politicians, the committee was formed and first convened on Sept. 9 with the aim of conceptualizing and implementing new economic growth within the village of Falconer.

The recent event focused on addressing potential economic projects as well as discussing new ways of furthering the public discussion about growth in and around Falconer.

“I think we have to look out for those small opportunities to create the type of environment (we want) and create that interest,” Falconer Mayor James Rensel said.

While the Advisory Committee was created and has thus far worked as a grassroots initiative spurred on by interested community members, Rensel and the gathered parties are planning to bring in regional leaders in politics and business with the hopes of taking the proper steps to foster growth.

Amongst the topics discussed was also the continuing cleanup and rebuilding efforts that are underway to help the village recover from the crippling fire that hit Main Street on March 22. In an effort to expedite that process, the village has applied for a New York state grant for downtown development, and has cordoned off the site with a fence.

The focal point of the meeting centered around plans for the development of 56 E. Main St., the former Agway property which was purchased by Jim Sirianno of JP Diamond and Riverwalk Storage nine years prior.

After obtaining the proper zoning variance three months ago, Sirianno has been working with Eco Strategies Engineering and Surveying of Falconer to brainstorm ideas about how the property could best be used to benefit the commercial and community needs of the village.

While Sirianno originally had plans to use the property as simply another self-storage facility, “we all know that’s not the ultimate item to have on Main Street,” he said.

“So I hired Eco-Strategies, Andy (Johnson) and Pam (Beightol) are from Eco-Strategies, they are professional team that does site plans, architectural work and the layouts.”

The idea that Sirianno and the team at Eco Strategies have come up with is to integrate both a self-storage facility and a commercial plaza of storefronts that would contribute to the revitalization of Falconer’s central thoroughfare.

“The front, main street portion of this facility now, we’ve kind of backed off strictly self-storage and these guys have put together an aspect of a mixed-use facility where the storage is a background item and the front is a plaza,” said Sirianno.

Andy Johnson of Eco Strategies was in attendance to offer the committee a presentation of two different conceptual plans for the site’s use, with both emphasizing the inclusion of small local businesses and the creation of a welcoming public space.

“You could have multiple little businesses there, and having an overhanging porch would be nice,” Johnson said.

“You could stay out of the rain, walk between shops, and if you wanted to have a little picnic table or something, if you were a cafe it would be nice for people to be able to eat outside.”

Plans for the site are still in the conceptual phase, but Sirianno and Eco Strategies would welcome any ideas from interested parties about potential food shops, boutiques or other businesses that may work for the project.

One storefront that the committee would like to see make it’s way into the project would be a medical or urgent care facility, which would be of great benefit to Falconer’s retirement community.

“Jim and I thought this would be a good platform to share with, we’re playing around with a couple of conceptual ideas. We haven’t finalized anything yet in terms of the design. We’re in the brainstorming phase of the project,” added Johnson.

The committee would also like to reach out to any business owners and community leaders from around the area who may be interested in attending future meetings and working to help Falconer move forward.

Mayor Rensel and his advisors are also looking into implementing community changes such as traffic calming and other civil improvements that will help contribute to the village’s future growth.

The committee is expected to meet again Nov. 16 at noon at the Henry Mosher Post, while plans are being finalized for a Dec. 12 session at 6:30 that will feature a guest speaker with a background in organizing provincial economic growth. Anyone who is interested in contributing is welcome to attend the upcoming meetings and any parties interested in the Sirianno building project are encouraged to contact Johnson at ajohnson@ecostrategiespllc.com.