Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Frankfort begins planning revitalization project

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Frankfort begins planning revitalization project
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Frankfort could soon be transformed. The village and town are working together to create a plan for economic and environmental development. And they're asking the community for their ideas. Our Cara Thomas says a large crowd gave its input Tuesday night, on how to revitalize their hometown.

FRANKFORT, N.Y. -- When Union Fork and Hoe in Frankfort closed down in 2005, both the town and the village were devastated.

Frankfort resident Hank Valent said, "We lost 350 jobs when the Union Tools moved out of the area. That was devastating to a lot of families."

"The biggest thing for us is the tax base that we've lost as a community," said Karlee Tamburro, Frankfort's Village Clerk.

Not only has this major employer not been replaced, but what remained of the factory burned to the ground last August. Now the property's current owner is working to clear the debris and contamination.

But the old factory isn't the only thing that needs to rehabilitated. People in Frankfort say the community is looking for a new start.

The village and town are ready for a change. Their solution? A brownfield opportunity area project. A way to not only improve the environment, but to develop the area into a place people want to live and visit.

"So we're looking to see what we can do to revitalize the whole community, the town and the village," said Tamburro. "It's a whole area going into the neighborhoods. What people want to see maybe 20 years down the road."

So far an advisory committee has been put together and the brownfield project lines are tentatively drawn. It consists of 470 acres, which are mostly vacant and along the waterfront.

Project leaders are currently in the first phase of the project, gathering information, doing field work, and completing studies. On Tuesday they held a public meeting to hear from the community and begin to create a vision for Frankfort.

"The Mohawk Valley needs these kinds of efforts, these kinds of community involvement to restore some of that pride we all remember from years ago when we were young," says Frankfort resident, Philip Tangorra.

People hope it will bring jobs and give people a reason to enjoy, visit and live in this part of the Mohawk Valley.

Project leaders are encouraging the community to get involved. During the next week, leaders want people to help establish goals and submit ideas on how to best revitalize Frankfort. Comments can be directed to the Frankfort village clerk.

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