Waverly CAT REPORT _draft 11 by wpr1947


									           Waverly New York
  Community Action Team
               Final Report
              January 2004

Community and Rural Development Institute
           Cornell University

      New York Main Street Alliance
CAT overview

The purpose of a Community Action Team (CAT) is to help communities improve their
business districts through a holistic approach that includes the physical, cultural, and economic
issues facing them. The idea is to help communities plan for better visual and functional
appeal through a process that brings a broad base of community members together with
development professionals.

Community Action Teams are a collaborative network of faculty, staff, and students from
Cornell University, State University of New York (SUNY) institutions, and members of the New
York Main Street Alliance—with expertise in historic preservation, architecture, landscape
architecture, planning, leadership development, rural sociology, and economics. These
professionals lead a Community Action Team approach (CAT), working closely with a
community to identify development priorities and needs.

Each community involved with a CAT visit is assigned its own team of professionals who work
closely with a local organizing committee which includes community leaders, groups, and
Cooperative Extension Educators. The professionals who visit the community are selected
based on what is identified as the community's needs during a screening process. The local
team lays the groundwork for the visit including communications, logistics, and advertising.
The CAT visit is a fast-paced process and 2-3 day work session that involves the community in
identifying important issues. The purpose of the CAT visit is to help the community identify
those issues and suggest ways the community might approach them.

The CAT members work to develop a set of recommendations that reflect the needs expressed
by the community. At open community meetings and small group sessions, CAT members
have an opportunity to ask questions of community members and provide feedback. Small
group sessions may include meeting with business owners, retired citizens, and perhaps even
visits to classrooms to talk to students about their community.

Village of Waverly history

      {authored by Waverly resident Nelly Brewster}

The Village of Waverly has had many names and acted in many roles during its more than 150
years as a major player in the development of the Twin Tiers – first as a mill town, later as a
market and transportation hub and today, as a leader in community development.

From modest beginning along Cayuta Creek after the American Revolution to a railroad center
that drew buyers and sellers from many miles in all directions, the small settlement was known
at different times as Factoryville, Shepardsville, Villamont, and Loder before residents settled
in the 1850s on the name it all bears today.
Factoryville (East Waverly, today) came first. In 1796, John Shepard purchased 1,000 acres of
land along the creek and stretching north and west (forest then, Waverly today). Lying along
an important east-west trail, Factoryville grew quickly, boasting in its heyday in the 1850s,
more than 500 inhabitants, a post office, church, school, taverns, and nearly a dozen stores
and shops.

Meanwhile, tiny Villemont to the west, bided its time, waiting for the decision that would
launch it on nearly two decades of unprecedented growth. When the Erie Railroad chose
Villemont over Factoryville as the location for its lines and station in 1849, it resulted in instant
success for one and a backseat for the other.

In the period from 1833-1859, Villemont/Waverly grew from 15 buildings clustered around
Chemung and Waverly Streets to include an academy, more than 30 stores, half a dozen
hotels, three churches and a bank. Most were located along Broad Street in the vicinity of the
Erie tracks and buildings.
Factoryville was never again to challenge its young neighbor. It held out as a separate political
unity until 1889, when it finally annexed to Waverly.

As was the case for many communities that grew up around a railroad, Waverly enjoyed a
period of relative prosperity. Main and passenger trains, coal and freight trains all passed
through Waverly. Travelers could head south to New York City or west to Chicago and there
was no end to the merchandise available in local stores. Trains also provided easy access to
far-away markets for the products of area farms and local manufacturers.

There are dozens of chapters to add to Waverly’s story: the rodeo, the Tioga General Hospital,
beautiful Waverly Glen, the Muldoon Park bandstand, the schools and churches, fires and their
results, the important survivors (buildings and institutions).

While all are part of Waverly’s history, they are also part of its future. Mindful of the
importance of those traditions and the institutions that remain in place, Waverly residents are
working today to preserve the best of the village’s 19th century architecture and character.

Waverly CAT Visit

During the Spring of 2003, discussions were held between Cornell University’s Community and
Rural Development Institute and the Village of Waverly, with assistance from Cornell
Cooperative Extension Tioga County, Tioga Co. Rural Economic Area Partnership, and the
Waverly On Track citizen group. Based on well documented community need to focus on
Broad Street revitalization and the REAP plan 2002 , all parties felt that the village would
benefit from a CAT process and planning was begun to bring a CAT visit to the village in the
Fall of 2003.

Team Members were recruited from Cornell staff as well as members of the New York Main
Street Alliance.
(see addendum for member contact info)
The local organizing committee was formed and set about their duties, such as logistical issues
for the meetings and creating and implementing a promotional campaign designed to increase
awareness of the visit as well as to encourage broad citizen participation. Outreach efforts
     Direct one-on-one citizen contact
     Media coverage
     Flyers posted in community
     Letters to community organizations and focus group participants

(see addendum for member contact info)

The event kicked off on Thursday October 2nd, with a dinner and meeting held at one of the
local organizing committee member’s home. CAT members joined with the mayor, town board
members, and the local organizers to review the schedule of events and review logistics of
what needed to be accomplished.

Friday Oct. 3rd began with a driving tour of the Village of Waverly and adjacent South Waverly
in Pennsylvania and also a walking tour of the Broad Street business district. This allowed
CAT members to see first hand the geography and physical conditions of the village so that
they would be better informed for the upcoming discussion groups.
The first set of meetings was held in the morning. The CAT team divided into groups based
upon their expertise and interest. The first community groups that met with the team were:
                   Waverly Village Board
                   Waverly municipal Department Heads
                   Senior Citizens
                   Waverly High School youth

In the afternoon, teams met with a second set of groups:
                  County Government Reps
                  Broad Street Retailers
                  Service & Community Organizations
                  General Business owners

The Village was fortunate to have a visit by Congressman Maurice Hinchey as part of the CAT
event. The congressman visited with the entire CAT group and citizens who had participated
in the discussion sessions. The congressman listened to the citizens and commented upon
affairs of state. He underscored the role that vibrant main streets can play in local economies
and offered arts cultural initiatives as a potential driver for reinvigorating downtown centers.
Saturday, Oct. 4th, was the final day of the visit. Dual activities occurred during the morning.
A few of the CAT members hosted an open community meeting, allowing input by community
members who could not participate the previous day. The remaining CAT members began to
synthesize information from Friday’s meetings in order to develop recommendations and a
working presentation for the community for later that afternoon.

The CAT team gave a Power Point presentation of their findings to the assembled group. This
presentation included initial impressions of the community, recognition of the assets of the
village, identification of significant concerns, and a preliminary list of recommendations and
action steps that form the basis for this report.

Approximately 40 citizens attended the public session followed by a lunch hosted by the Tioga
County Rural Economic Area Partnership.

Through interviews with the various groups, the CAT members gathered information about life
in the Village of Waverly NY. The level of participation was excellent with extensive amounts of
commentary to the team groups during the sessions. During sessions citizens expressed their
likes and dislikes about the village, discussed what they felt were assets and liabilities, and
proposed ideas for what they would like to see the village become.

In a condensed and abbreviated form, here are what participants said they value about living
in Waverly:

             Residents are long term and felt like they ―belonged‖ here, many friends
             Physical beauty of the Valley
             Quality of the school system
             Opportunity to work with large employers in the region and an educated
             Good police protection and ―neighborhood watch‖
             Recreational programs
             Historic homes and buildings
             Bedroom community and small town feel
             Large senior citizen population

Assets are considered to be the ―strengths‖ of a community – and can be utilized and built
upon to improve the vitality of the community. Based on commentary from citizen
participants, the CAT members quickly realized that Waverly has an amazing wealth of assets
– both physically and socially – within the community.
         Family friendly, caring community, safe community
         sense of ―neighborhood‖, walkable community
         great schools and facilities open to public
         Village recreation program, (youth activities program, bike trails, softball, etc)
         Youth activity center on Main Street
         good infrastructure
         Rt. 17 access
         railroad access for manufacturing
         Waverly Police department
         Physical beauty of Valley & surrounding natural resources
         Gateway to the Finger Lakes
         Reasonable cost of living / housing costs that are attractive for corporate
         Architectural stock – residential, industry, retail
         Guthrie Clinic, health care & hospital in area draw visitors from other counties
         Rail road and rail history
         Local citizen group and mayor’s office interested in façade improvement program
         and working to pull together existing cultural organizations
         The Waverly Business Association
         Support for small businesses – entrepreneurial climate
         Work force: good productivity level, work ethic, Work force pool – well-educated
         & technologically developed
         Growing number of self employed who want to live in small town/rural area.
         Village revolving loan fund offered for business assistance
         VEDA – Valley Economic Development Association
The groups also identified a significant number of issues, concerns, and needs within the
community that they felt were important to have addressed.

   Needs and/or Problems

          Need for drugstores/ gift shops; inconvenient location of existing facilities in Sayre
          Need for movie theatre
          Need more dress and shoe stores
          Sidewalks need improvement
          Need for better access to mail boxes at post office
          Need for bike lanes on the street rather than on the sidewalks
          Need better curb cuts for easier wheelchair access
          Skateboarding facility on Elm St. needs improvements
          Problems exists between mixing of age groups within the community
          Problem with what to do with the NPL building (National Protective Legion).
          Nice stores come into town, but cannot get them to stay for more than 1 year
          Need for a bus to the grocery store & hospital from senior housing a few times a
          Waverly does not have its own Historical Society
          Belief that ―young people don’t care about history‖
          Needs of service organizations: space needs, networks, funding
Issues and Barriers

       People ―too‖ busy, over committed people, volunteer burnout, low voter turnout
       Need more employment opportunity
       Adequate & affordable housing
       Separation that exists in Waverly – philosophy v. politics, valley vs. other political
       Image of Waverly as part of Tioga County
       State border issues – tax differences
       Divisions or lack of communication at different levels of government
       Lack of adequate food pantries and kitchens
       Cultural expectations and perceptions
       Opportunities for people with special needs
       Individual development v. job training needs of business
       Benefits better in New York for people needing assistance
       Substance abuse
       Pregnancy issues
       Bars & noise gives bad impression of community
       Appearances, loitering on street
       Lack of building space inhibits growth
       Condition of rental residential areas
       Code enforcement non-existent
       Smell of cheese plant
       Signage within community: No signs establishing which way to go; need
       ―Welcome to New York‖ sign; need sign at the gateway to the finger lakes
       Citizens/ local businesses need to be supporting local businesses
       Youth involvement in the community
       Lack of local communication & citizen knowledge
       Valley is in two states
       Economy is stretched/ unstable
       Low participation in Waverly business association from local businesses
       Waverly Business Association struggling with what to offer businesses
       Absentee landlords & many buildings in poor condition
       Need staffing to follow through on leading community through ―next steps‖
What was also clearly heard was what the community didn’t need or want:
             more bars, more beauty shops, more thrift shops.

Successful community based planning relies not only on input from local citizens, but also
insight. Local knowledge can often be the most valuable tool in working towards correcting
needs within the community. The knowledge and creativity of the citizens of Waverly helped
to set the foundation for recommendations and solutions on ways to improve the community.

Suggestions for improving the community:

             Ideas for new drug stores
             Possible idea to encourage professionals to move into the buildings downtown
             Need to build upon artisans and galleries
             Outdoor cafes
              Improve housing

            More entertainment
            Revive old theater
            Have Concerts in the park – attract people to Waverly
            Better advertising of events throughout the town
            Welcome posters
            Need to build upon regular attractions throughout the community

             Improve appearance of public transportation

              Community service requirements for teens
              Need an additional skateboarding facility with improvements
              Support of youth center group

Main Street
              Sidewalk cleanups
              Improve downtown buildings
              Paint buildings
              Improve downtown parking

              Change the mentality regarding education
              Weekly articles in newspapers about the history of Waverly
              Ideas for improving NPL building
              Implement sidewalk/curb program throughout the entire village
              New Village Hall
              Football stadium improvements
              Parking Issues – Need to enforce 2-hour limit
              2-hour parking limit not enforced
              Preserve quality of what Waverly ―Is‖
   A subset of the discussion on ways to improve the community can be created by clustering
   ideas and concepts around specific concerns and viewing them as ―opportunities‖. These
   opportunities can be the target points for action steps.


            Targeting and marketing new artists
            Business development building/ Incubator
            More e-businesses
            Several ways to support new businesses ―Supportive Attitude‖
            Bring more recognizable retail stores
            Large senior citizen population = business opportunities
            Promote cheese factory instead of ―hiding‖ Leprinos
            Connect Cheese Factory with wine trails
            Need for motels
            Need a better mix of services for the people in downtown
            Health care & hospital in area draw visitors from other counties, offers B & B
            potential growth
              New approach to code enforcement – more of a partnership approach
              Reasonable cost of living / housing costs = corporate relocation
              Architectural stock – residential, industry, retail
              Interest in upper scale homes  increased new developments
              Bedroom community as home for commuters

            Need more restaurants and other eating establishments

             Draw people away from route 17/ Future route 86
             Gateway to the Finger Lakes – development of regional visitor center
             Rail road history – development of museum or historical theme

Main Street
              Marketing and Promotion needs to be more unified
              Cleanup/ Fix-up back of buildings
              Possibly paint murals
              50/50 sidewalk program – program to fund and enforce the repair of sidewalks
              Improved signage

              Build upon tourism

              Looking at the ―valley‖ as a region
              More sharing of inter-municipal services
              Broader land use management (regionally)
              More comprehensive plans, for both town and village, that relate to one another.
              Improved communication within the communication:
                    Weekly TV and radio shows
                    Barton newsletter
                    School newsletter
                    List serves and websites

From all of this information, the CAT developed a central ―vision‖ of what Broad Street means
to the community and synthesized the comments and information into central themes. The
themes allow individuals to be able to better understand the myriad of issues identified and to
cluster them into groups. These themes will be the center pieces of recommendations and
action steps to follow.

―Broad Street is the identity of the community and is the ―face‖ that is presented to
newcomers and visitors. Broad Street is as much, or more of an interdependent concept. A
thriving main street helps create a healthier and more vital community. Waverly is the
southern gateway to the Finger Lakes region.‖

The vision statement proposed by the CAT is the center piece of the team’s impressions and
recommendations. This is in some ways a summation of how important Broad Street is to the
entire community and the reason that actions should be taken. It is recommended that the
local committee construct its own vision and mission statements to direct the organization and
its efforts.

From the information gathered, the CAT team identified several ―emergent‖ or common
themes. The emergent themes for framing action steps that Waverly needs:

      Economic Development –
            greater opportunity for employment in high paying jobs with benefits
            regional cooperation to enhance opportunities and overcome barriers
            be more welcoming and appealing to visitors
            develop tourism plans
            Village should be proactive, plan access, signage, name, etc., relating to
            proposed state park.

      Main street revitalization –
             specific stores and a better business mix
             increased efforts in renovation of architecture / façades, etc.
             better Broad Street appearance, holiday decoration, street lighting, shop

      Government funding -
            A more pro-active approach by the village in finding funding sources for
            improvements / programs
            Architectural restorations for businesses on Broad Street , including tax credit

      Code enforcement –
            stronger policy by village in dealing with absentee landlords / architectural
            deterioration / general appearance and cleanliness of community
      Community capacity –
           more community involvement in affairs of the village
           Identity as in ―the Valley‖
           Greater communication within & between community groups / departments /

Recommendations and Action Steps
The Community Action Team recommends that the village and citizen group work
cooperatively towards developing an overall plan of action for revitalization of the village and
Broad Street. We recommend clustering ideas and prioritizing them by the amount of time
and resources required to complete the activities. Below are the recommended time frames
and suggested projects as proposed by the CAT members.

Work towards a variety of projects based on these time frames:

       Short Term Priorities –6 months
       Medium – 6 months – 2 yrs
       Long term – 2 yrs +

Short term (6months)

It is important that the community identify and implement some short-term, low cost/no cost
actions early in the revitalization process. This will give the organizing group some early
successes and build momentum for the longer-term challenges.

   Convene a Main Streets team

       from representatives of groups already involved and those reached thru the CAT
       Ongoing cooperation and visits by subset of CAT. NYMSA/CaRDI will offer continued
       technical assistance and will connect with potential speakers/resources
       Include presentations on historic preservation & main street design

       Applied to: Community Capacity & Main Street Revitalization Theme

       Resources / Technical Assistance Available: CaRDI, NYMSA, NY Historic Preservation
       League, Tioga Co. CCE, Tioga Co. REAP
Code enforcement & Demolition Moratorium

   Code enforcement – NYMSA / NYCOM provides basic practices. Village provides steering
   Short term strategy for vacant storefront
   Parking: Village needs to enforce 2 hour parking
   Work with owners to halt demolition of buildings
   Need to re-examine building codes that are forcing demolitions.

   Applied to: Code Enforcement & Main Street themes

   Resources / Technical Assistance Available: NY DOS, NY Planning Federation

Tourism / visitor plan.

   Wine & cheese as NYS tourism element, tie in cheese people
   Tourism, county – chamber of commerce, tioga county council of the arts, fingerlakes
   tourism council.

   Applied to: Economic Development, Main Street, & Community Capacity themes

   Resources / Technical Assistance Available: NYMSA, SEAGRANT, state and regional
   tourism promotion organizations

Vacant store fronts and seasonal decoration

   150th birthday celebration
   Gazebo done by December holidays, tie in with a Main Street wide holidays celebration.
   Store fronts – vacant window decorations themes, kids paint Halloween, Xmas window

   Applied to: Main Street, Economic Development, Community Capacity themews

   Resources / Technical Assistance Available: NYMSA, CaRDI

Planning of state park

   Find out what do they want? Greenway, bikes? Tie in with the Cartonouan greenway?
   Name of park, how to tie in with main street. ―Waverly state park‖

   Applied to: Economic Development and Community Capacity themes

   Resources / Technical Assistance Available: Tioga Co. CCE, Tioga Co. REAP, NYMSA,
   Marketing study and demographic analysis

      What types of businesses: including a ―drug store‖, visitors, shoppers, regional analysis

      Applied to: Economic Development & Main Street themes

      Resources / Technical Assistance Available: CaRDI

Medium term (6 months – 2 yrs.)
These possible actions will require a longer planning process and pursuing of funding
mechanisms to implement. However, many can build upon the short term organizational
capabilities of the community and community groups.

Main Street plan –
      Information package to present to potential retailers
      Main street center, resource packets, analysis materials
      Development of pedestrian study
      Back-side murals
      Lighting & streetscape improvements
      Improve condition of public lot (better lighting needed, etc.)
      Better signage to public parking
      Formation of historical society
      Obtain historic district designation
      Historic tax credits can be incentive for rehabilitation
      Village might offer property tax abatement to new property owners that rehabilitate
      property. (See section 405(B) of Real Property Tax Law
      Create village fund to condemn, take and stabilize threatened buildings
      Facilitate development of upper story housing
      Facade program
      Review of zoning & business regulations
      Village design incentive program for building rehabilitation

Main Street Business Development -
      brew pub
      Pizza and joint arcade as a combined business, or as separate businesses clustered
      Men’s clothing stores and encourage clustering near Women’s hair/nail salon
      Drug store
      Antique stores: some exist already - Is there an opportunity to create a more significant
      antique cluster?
Tourism Development Strategic plan -
      Local History – oral history project and connect to school projects, displays, historical
      signage, etc.
      Regional approach to tourism (greenway, gateway to finger lakes
      Cheese factory tour, cheese mobile idea so ea farmer makes a cheese.
      Build on railroad history

Recreational & Cultural Development -
      strategy towards state park
      Local water revitalization plan, Susquehanna River Basin and formalize relationship with
      Upper Susquehanna Coalition
      Native American tribe
      Visitor center & highway signage
      NPL –possible restoration as community center
      Culture/arts, preservation education
      Cultural resources & community centers feasibility study

     Representatives from Village board and Waverly Business Association should welcome
     new businesses.
     Establish a rapport/ dialogue for open communication into the future
     List Contacts: WBA, village/town offices, development agencies, code enforcement,
     small business
     Local official training
     Create awareness for local funding programs (better ambassadors)
     Improve knowledge of legal options in dealing with dilapidated structures and absentee
     Business Training
     Customer Service, merchandizing, financial assistance, and business to business
     partnerships, i.e. joint packaging/promotion
     Brochure and/or website to describe available assistance programs
     Broadband Access – high speed internet
     Regional maps – Waverly needs better identification as part of the larger Finger Lakes

Long term (2 years +)
These actions are much broader in scope and will require a great deal of mutual cooperation
with other governmental entities within the county and the region.

      Valley wide cooperation efforts
      Historical architecture strategy
      Develop theater as destination spot.
      Regional and county cooperation or social services
      Joint planning for village and town
Closing thoughts
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. This correctly describes
the community revitalization process. It can seem overwhelming at first, without an end in
sight. But that first step must be taken, and the Village of Waverly has done that.

The Community Action Team approach succeeds because of the local involvement and
commitment; the same is true for a community as a whole – it takes time, involvement, and

The members of the CAT wish to conclude the report with a few general comments and ideas
that we hope the local organizing committee will keep with them and refer back too when ―the
going gets tough‖.


          Situational appraisals take time. Don’t expect to have the answers immediately, and
          remember that someone – someplace has experience & knowledge. You don’t have
          to go it alone.

          Most communities (including Waverly) have gone through repeated planning
          processes before, but often nothing happens. The secret is that you must involve

          Most people hesitate to step up to the plate for the implementation phase.

          The process needs a manager/ facilitator lead / organization. There must be
          someone other than the local officials to commit to the time and effort required to
          make the process succeed.

          Small early successes are better than trying for the home run. Show that you can
          accomplish some things. Build the momentum, build the excitement. ―Nothing
          breeds success like success‖.

          Plant the seeds of success. Nurture the growth. Take care to build strong roots in
          order to harvest the fruits of your labor.
Roots and Fruits of Main Street Revitalization
        DESIGN                                                        ECONOMICS

                                EVENTS            IMAGE
                                                          LOCAL           ATTRACTION
   FACADES            PARKING            RETAIL
                                                          SUPPORT     RETENTION


Village of Waverly Community Action Team Members


       Bob Elliot – Exec. Director, NY Planning Federation
       Robert Dadras – architect, Dadras architects
       Dave Ziembiec – planner, Tug Hill Commission

Cornell University

       Rod Howe – CaRDI
       Tim Cullenen – CaRDI
       Karen Edelstein - Dept. of Landscape Arch
       Dave Kay – Cornell Local Govt. Program

CRP Graduate Student

              Jessica Holmes

Waverly Organizing Committee

       Mayor Ann Martin
       Larissa Avellaneda
       Andrea Giovenco
       Andy Fagan

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