OK, I really don’t want to be rude, as I have always been an agreeable fellow in the Fulton community, but this needs to be said. If I offend anyone at any time during the course of this narrative, feel free to discontinue reading and carry on with your day.
There will be no hard feelings.
I am a member of the Fulton Planning Commission and have made it a point to keep people in the community informed (via electronic media) as to new developments that have come across our table.
Over the past week, the majority of people I have spoken to about the plans for the old Vavoline/Express Oil and Lube property on South Second Street (near Empower FCU), have had nothing good to say about the news.
This property was brought in front of the Planning Commission for approval to gain permission for said redevelopment.
The plan is to give the building a drastic facelift and develop a pizzeria/restaurant, and drive thru ATM for Pathfinder Bank as well as compliment the property with lovely green space.
The negative response I have received from the community has been disappointing at best, and teetering on the end of appalling.
So I offer this alternative to the Fulton community. How about we just leave it as an empty garage? Yes, my fellow Fultonians, we can have yet another non-productive and empty rotting property on the main corridor through the city. Is that what is really desired?
Past events would have me believe that at this point. Shall we look at other examples of disapproval?
Every time a business wants to come into this city, people have seemed to taken issue with it.
People had a problem with Aldi’s proposal to take part of the dilapidated and half demolished Nestle factory and building a new store.
People had a problem with Cayuga Community College taking the dead, crumbling, and 3/4-empty River Glen Square property and developing it into a college campus.
People initially had issues when Kinney Drugs announced when they wanted to build on the site of the old Valley News building, even though the Valley News had NO intention of staying there as it was too much building for what their business morphed into.
People plumb blocked the Wilson Farms convenience store that wanted to go on the corner of Oneida and South Seventh streets and what became of that property? We ended up with one of the worst looking properties in the city of Fulton, not to mention a drug and prostitution ring that allegedly operated out of the apartments on said property, until it was busted up by law enforcement.
The best part of this all, these developments (or failed plans) re-purposed existing land and/or properties! No unnecessary sprawl was needed!
If the people of this community really want this city to simply die, then just say it.
Without a stronger tax base (which includes assessments which are directly tied to appearances as well as property specifications) and a reason to be here, you will NEVER attract the good paying jobs back to Fulton and you will NEVER help ease the property tax problems.
To achieve this, as I have said a million times in the past to many people, you need to take baby steps. A strong and vibrant Fulton is the goal. You need to build a foundation BEFORE you can build a structure.
If someone wants to make a go of a business, they have a good business plan and they are paying to make it happen, well so long as it isn’t a pornography shop then I say let them pursue their goal!
I have fought long and hard to try to better this city, from serving on city commissions and committees, to volunteering with civic organizations, to even running for elected office twice.
Perhaps I should simply give up the Planning Commission, give up the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, give up the community activism, and just pack up my things and head out of this town like 80% of the rest of my generation did 20 years ago.
It is painfully obvious that there is a fair portion of this community that appears to want nothing here, want nothing to change, and is content in having their community dying a “slow and comfortable” death.
And please, spare me the “don’t give up” speeches that many have given me in the past.
Save that energy and instead use it to talk to your fellow citizens and convince them to help make a difference, instead of sitting home and complaining about what others are trying to do to actually help this place.
Tell your fellow citizens to join “the resistance.”
Resist apathy. Resist poverty. Resist the bleak future that many have chosen to accept.
Join with those in this community who are fighting the good fight for our little city.
That’s all I have to say.
Now, the choice is yours.
What are YOU going to do?
Ralph E. Stacy Jr.
Fourth Ward Resident – city of Fulton