Main Street Program Manager Karen Adams spent more than two hours answering questions about that program in a special session of the Batavia Village Council Monday, Jan. 29.
Those questions were posed by council members Michelle Gardener and Summer Tyler. Neither Gardner not Tyler were members of council in 2004 when the village became a member of the Ohio Main Street Program. The program provides participating communities with the technical assistance they need as to revitalize traditional commercial or historic areas.
The councilwomen had submitted wide-ranging questions about the program’s financing, goals, and operation in writing to Adams some time before the meeting.
Before Adams addressed the questions, Mayor John Thebout presented to council correspondence concerning the Main Street Program from community members who are sensing what may be a growing reluctance on the village council’s part to support the program.
Adams then read the 15 questions submitted by Gardner and the 71 questions submitted by Tyler, and her responses to those questions.
Council members discussed the issues raised, but councilwoman Tyler was not happy with the answers she was getting.
"I'm very disappointed," she said. "I asked a lot of questions, and I feel like a lot of them have been glossed over."
Tyler said that there were many unanswered questions, such as the rates for property improvement loans.
Gardner said that she didn't feel that the efforts being made by the Main Street Program were the right way to approach the village's problems
"I don't understand how making Main Street beautiful will bring businesses into the community," she said. "I feel we're starting in the wrong place, putting the cart before the horse."
The Village Association had 10 questions of its own for Tyler regarding her support of the program. But those questions went unanswered - and unasked - as Tyler left the meeting.
"I came here to have questions answered," Tyler said before leaving the meeting. "I don't want to answer your questions."
Several audience members, including former council member Dan Haglage, Rex Parsons, and Michael Kinner, spoke up in support of the village's continued support of and participation in the program.
Kinner, who is the owner of the recently opened Riverside Coffee Mill in downtown Batavia, said that the revitalization program influenced his decision to open a business in Batavia.
"Part of our decision to locate there was made based on the fact that there is a concerted effort to revitalize the community underway," Kinner said. "To not continue funding for this as it was begun would be a detriment to the village."
There is currently an ordinance before the council to continue funding for the program. A vote on that ordinance is expected at the council's next meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5.