Can a revitalized Harvester Center spark a Batavia renaissance?
Submitted by Philip Anselmo on December 8, 2008 - 4:04pm
Last week, we asked readers to consider what one project Batavia should pursue if the funding were in the bag, no strings attached. Batavia's City Council President Charlie Mallow called for the resurrection of the city's old plans for reconstruction of the Masse-Harvester industrial complex downtown. We were curious to hear more of these plans, so we sought further information. Here's what we've found out so far.
Let's start with the graphic, shall we...
This swank boulevard would be the view from the ground in the midst of the "Industrial Powerhouse Square," otherwise known as the "Swan Masse Village" in Batavia's Central Corridor between Harvester and Swann streets downtown.
From the original project proposal:
Overall, the goal in this project area was to rejuvenate the Swan Masse Village, as it once was a renowned downtown industrial hub and “business incubator.” The plan introduces separate structures of mixed-use light industrial, commercial and housing with an urban appeal and vibrancy that consists of lighting, pavement enhancements, pedestrian pathways, open space and streetscape amenities. Central to the development was keeping the powerhouse intact for two important reasons: 1) to keep costs down by retaining the boiler system for the nearby structures that rely upon it, and 2) to strengthen the image as an industrial center as well as maintain the historical integrity and sense of place.
This "downtown hub" of mixed-use structures, tree-lined avenues and "streetscape amenities" would rise from the ashes—or in this case the demolished rubble—of some 40 acres of vacant land and crumbling infrastructure. It would look something like this:
We've been informed that the Genesee County Economic Development Corp. is looking into potential state grants totalling some $2.7 million that would be used for the city's Central Corridor. Other grant opportunities are being researched by the city, as well. Whether or not anything like this plan for the Swan Masse Village would be part of those plans remains to be seen.
What do you think? Would this be a wise way to remake the city's Central Corridor? Would it provide the spark to send Batavia into its renaissance? Do we need more? Less?