Villages Receive Technical Assistance

The Village of Dryden in Tompkins County, the Village of Sherburne in Chenango County, and the Village of Milford in Otsego County were the happy recipients of Technical Assistance grants from the Governor's Office for Small Cities. Thoma wrote the Dryden and Sherburne applications. Dryden received $15,000, Sherburne received $12,000 and Milford received $12,600. The grant requires a 40% match on the part of the community towards the overall project. Each of the Villages will be undertaking strategic or comprehensive plans and Thoma has been hired by all the communities to assist them.

The Village of Dryden (see Customer Highlight on page 3) has been reliant on aged planning documents to guide its growth. It has been experiencing the effects of development pressures: from housing issues, to land annexation, to dealing with aging infrastructure, to the expansion plans of nearby Tompkins Cortland Community College, etc. In addition, the Village has a downtown area which has many service businesses but could benefit from a rejuvenation and expansion of its retail market. The Village's Strategic Plan will focus on the community development issues facing the entire Village with a particular emphasis on its downtown.

The Village of Sherburne has a population of 1,455 persons and is located just north of the City of Norwich and just south of the Village of Hamilton. The Village's downtown has been suffering from the exodus of shoppers to nearby retail centers in other communities. The loss of retail activity has resulted in disinvestment in certain areas of the downtown. A major concern is the vacant Sherburne Inn which is located in the downtown's southwest quadrant and is a noticeable blight on the entire downtown. The Village of Sherburne's Strategic Plan will focus on creating a vision for the reuse of the Inn and for the redevelopment of the entire southwest quadrant. Not only will physical improvements be detailed but also changing economic conditions, trends, development opportunities, preferences for future growth, and attainable goals.

The Village of Milford includes 511 persons, making it one of Thoma's smallest customers with respect to population and certainly our smallest Village customer. The Village is situated on New York State Route 28 between the Village of Cooperstown and the City of Oneonta. Milford is largely a bedroom community that lacks a planning document to help guide the community's future. Cooperstown is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A small community in its own right, Cooperstown is not able to handle all of the tourists that are attracted to the baseball and other museums within its borders. Thus, nearby Milford has been experiencing housing pressures due to regional tourism that places demands on rental housing. Specifically, there has been a steady trend towards the conversion of permanent rental housing to temporary bed and breakfast type housing. This is a trend that the Village will want to monitor in the future. Milford's Main Street is also a concern for Village leaders, as aging infrastructure and blighting influences are an indicator of the Village's struggling economic condition. Thoma will assist Milford in creating a Village-wide Comprehensive Plan to address the redevelopment of Main Street as well as other community concerns. These concerns include finding a solution to the Village's lack of an adequate water supply, infrastructure needs, housing, concerns over land use, and finding ways to better manage land use patterns.

All the Villages' Plans will contain an overall vision for their respective areas and will also contain a clear Action Plan for achieving that vision. Community members will drive the process by providing input into the planning process and by working with the Village government in producing a pragmatic planning document. Thoma will be starting the plans this summer.