I know it’s cold and grey outside right now. Sometimes during the winter Western New York resembles an ashtray more than a glittering snow globe. But dreary weather aside, it appears that Grand Island is entering a Golden Age.
Elected officials and residents are gathering together, working to better Grand Island. Old political ties are fading, and new ideas are being brought forth. Am I too hopeful?
Let’s be friends
Remember that mess of a first meeting with the new Town Board? Out of nowhere we started throwing raises around. But since then, I’ve sensed a genuine spirit of cooperation from each one of them. I have hope. We’ve worked together on bipartisan initiatives since then, and hopefully we can keep it up.
The story of Grand Island continues to echo across the region. Now that I’m running for Congress, I can see even more clearly how what we have done here has had an impact beyond. I hear from people every day who don’t live on Grand Island, but want to tell us to keep up the good work. Keep up the grants, the initiatives and the projects. They can sense that Grand Island is only getting better.
Our committees and advisory boards are extremely active. More citizens than ever are involved. We’ve created task forces and subcommittees to make them even more effective. (Side note: if you want to be part of an advisory board, or attend their meetings, reach out to whichever Town Board member is the liaison for that group. It’s all open to the public.)
This past week an ecotourism developer reached out to me. He is interested in some spaces that have long been undervalued. Check out the Holiday Inn Express—no more dilapidated Dunlop building. Lights are on, and the sign looks great. I’ve seen the rooms, too, and they’re top-notch. A great addition to our town.
That solar law we passed is taking effect. Solar parks are underway. The school district is talking to those same groups to explore the idea of leasing out school-owned land that has not been productively used in decades. Maybe that vacant land can provide a place for more solar, and give our school district a little extra revenue at the same time.
The Town is collaborating with the school district on community service initiatives and road improvements. We’re working to combat the opioid crisis, and to address mental health issues, suicide, and domestic violence.
The Golden Age is coming
It might sound like I’m bragging, but I’m truly amazed by how far Grand Island has come in the past two years. It’s all coming together. No matter what, I won’t be Supervisor forever (term limits!). My goal is to help Grand Island as much as I can while I am Supervisor, and to set up a solid foundation for the next Supervisor, and the next Town Board. Already I can see it gelling. We’re creating a bedrock for future leadership to build upon, to keep Grand Island golden for decades to come.
A substantial piece of this bedrock is long-term planning. There’s a Long Range Planning Committee meeting at 7 p.m. on February 14. They’re working to develop a long-term strategy for the success of Grand Island by updating the Master Plan. Stay tuned for meeting details, and please consider attending.