DANSVILLE — The Dansville community was able to suggest some highlights to the area that would enhance tourism, and the overall well-being of the village.
Louise Wadsworth, Livingston County Development downtown coordinator; Bill Bacon, Livingston County Economic Development executive director; and Dansville Mayor Peter Vogt talked about the topics at Downtown 2.0 on May 8 at the North Dansville Town Hall. Several business owners and community leaders were at the meeting.
The concept was to go over the priorities of the village and take care of the top ones. Everyone was able to voice their own ideas on the topics. In the fall Livingston County Development did a partnership with Larisa Ortiz Associations in Mount Morris. The forum was the result of that effort.
“They talked about what was necessary and what needed more time,” Wadsworth said. “You can read the full report on Dansville on the website. The idea is to think big, start small, and act fast. We need some initiatives we can accomplish soon.”
Dansville is one of the largest communities in the county, featuring a historic district. There are about 8,000 commuters on Main Street everyday.
“You have a healthy downtown. The window displays are very cheerful,” Wadsworth said. “We have some passive storefronts that are all shuttered up. If you hit four passive storefronts you are going to head back to your car. We need to work on that. Dansville could grow in downtown with more stores like sports, hobbies, clothes, and merchant.”
Bacon said they pulled the list of recommendations they got from the Mount Morris event.
“We want to get four priority areas to work on,” he said. “The top on the list is parking lot upgrades, public art on Main Street, wayfinding and signage, and retail attractions.”
Vogt mentioned that the village officials already talked a couple years ago about the need to improve the parking lots.
“We have been looking at some plans, and we hope to be able to start on the Sunrise and Credit Union parking lot soon. Right now all of our work is being done on Clay Street for a collapsed culvert,” he said. “We talked with Sunrise and the Credit Union to get that all taken care of. We want to dress up the lights and curbing to give it some distinction.”
Vogt added this is their immediate concern, because a lot of people trip and fall in that parking lot.
“We are hoping to level it off and get more control,” he said. “We want to take on the one here as well. The Post Office has talked about the need to fix theirs too. We don’t own all of them, and we lease four parking lots. We need cooperation with the owners too.”
Bacon said the parking lot issue is a high price item, and he is glad the village is taking care of that.
Wadsworth mentioned the desire to give the community its own identity, and to create signage that is unique to Dansville.
“We need to get people to downtown Dansville,” she said. “Public art is very high on that list. I know you do a lot with the fairy doors trail and ice sculptures. We are working on something countywide that came out of our office. It is called The Inspiration Trail.”
The Inspiration Trail would target all nine villages in the county, and enhance tourism to check out the downtowns. The idea is to have this ready by May 2019. All the art installations will incorporate an uplifting or inspirational quote. It can be one word or an entire sentence. It is being deemed the treasure hunt of inspiration. Interactive pieces will include wall murals, sculptures, and benches that could be permanent art in the villages. The storefront work would be up six to nine weeks.
Wadsworth said that this event should bring thousands of visitors to the area.
“We want to have nine benches made, which is one for each community. We want to have at least one permanent art piece in each downtown, so that people can take photos and put it on social media,” she said. “We would like to have wall murals on several buildings. We would also like to have a map that guides everyone to parks and trails.”
Vogt said that there will be an event call The History Trail in Dansville that will showcase 10 spots. It will be an audio trail that people can access through their smartphones as they enjoy the stroll.
There was also talk about safe streets that would be geared towards keeping residents secure. It would mean more lights and crosswalks as well as a bike lane.
Wadsworth mentioned that a lot of money has already been invested into the sign and facade program, and business owners should be aware of the benefits.
A website has been established that serves as a gateway for all the county events and programs. It is www.mylivingstonlife.com. It has a way to be alerted with newsletters to events happening every month.
“In order to entice people to come to downtown we need a mixture of businesses,” Wadsworth said. “We need to figure out what we need to compliment the area. We need to focus on the strengths of the community.”
Bacon said they will put an action plan to work and decide where to go next.