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Sweden Town Council Denies Resident's Right to Comment

Sweden Town Hall, with flag at half mast
Sweden Town Hall, with flag at half mast
Sweden Town Hall, with flag at half mast

Pam Ketchum wrote this statement to present to the Sweden Town Council at their March 11th meeting. But even though they had 45 minutes before their meeting in Clarkson, they would not allow public comment and ended their meeting at 7:15, 15 minutes after it started.

Development is like a Christmas gift to a municipality. People work long and hard to study, analyze and make the best decision to bring amenities and good living to an area. Clinton Street has been studied at least a couple of times over the past 25 years. I don’t think anyone would say that the living is good over in that neighborhood.

A communitarian developer with an excellent history and record has said he will take on the project. 2/3’s of the local governing bodies have seen merit with the proposed plan. The public has demonstrated and spoken out.

But the 5 people on the town board sit and wring their hands saying they don’t have enough information or they have phantom endorsements for non-support of the project. That seems to be a weak excuse.

It truly appears that there is another agenda, another idea or perhaps another lesson that the board hopes to teach. In their lack of understanding or even desire to learn about the 421-m tax abatement the board is telling the public that they don’t want historic preservation in the Clinton Street neighborhood.

It seems to be too big or too hard for their attention span. And they are correct - historic preservation; revitalization is difficult, expensive and takes a long time. It takes intelligence and perseverance and the ability to dream.

I wonder what the Town Board members are hoping for with 60 Clinton Street and the surrounding neighborhood. They are giving a clear idea that they don’t feel comfortable with an “outside” developer though it seems there have been many outside developers at the town cross roads of Routes 19 and 31.

They don’t seem to have time or interest to study about the 421-m. They don’t seem to understand historic preservation and that it is different than just building a big box on a grassy field. They don’t get the notion that there is a huge number of constituents who support this project

60 Clinton Street needs to be fixed. It CAN be restored with care and respect for historic integrity and that will support the authenticity of the surrounding Victorian village.

It appears the Sweden Town Board believes that concept is silly or over rated though they have expressed no viable ideas of what to do with 60 Clinton Street and no concrete reasons not to support the project.

On Saturday, I went to a lecture; Discover Sweden – 200 Years of Historic Architecture. How absurd that some of the same people on the town board can promote the celebration of historic architecture but they can’t recognize the importance of the 60 Clinton Street project.

The board lumps historic preservation development with the building of a Wal-Mart, a Tim Horton’s or a car wash. It seems they would rather skip historic preservation, demolish the building at 60 Clinton Street and build a Howard Johnsons or Dunkin Doughnut instead.

There is a large population who loves this Victorian Village on the Erie Canal. People may live 5 blocks from Clinton Street or 10 miles outside of the village but they call Brockport their home and they are proud of the strides that have been made to preserve our village.

We will not give up, we will not be like the town board – we have long attention spans, we will continue to study the options, promote education, open government, democracy and yes, that silly notion of historic preservation and all the wealth and benefits that it provides for our community.