2/13/14 Farming and False Endorsements If you are a real estate agent and you want to bring attention to your

business you use a technique called farming – A real estate agent might put out postcards or advertisements about houses they have listed or sold. An agent will farm the neighborhood or community they live in, work in or know the best. It creates a feeling that they are active and it implies an endorsement from the property and/or people that the agent represented or is friends with. At the 2/11/14 Sweden town board meeting, a town board member used my name and reputation and that of many others who have spent time and money restoring historic properties in the Village of Brockport. Such was an attempt at implied endorsement. But it is a false endorsement and I do not endorse or agree with that town board member’s attitudes or opinions. I resent her use and attempt to own my hard work and pride. At least half the people that the town board member named as Brockport restoration leaders are, in fact, supporters of the Clinton St. project and tax abatement. Many people in Brockport pitch in and help out because the cause is something they love and believe in; like weeding a garden, trimming a hedge or fixing a flat tire, the volunteer wants to share their love and pride in a place, activity or business. For someone to suggest that volunteers can tackle the 60 Clinton St. project – I say, “I’m volunteering enough already! And, I’ve got my own restoration projects to keep whittling away at.” Carol Hannan’s volunteer project has been facetiously mentioned as a model for revitalization, as if 65 Fayette and 60 Clinton St. are same. That is absolutely ridiculous! No one has stepped up to the plate, put their money where their mouth is and pursued the Clinton St. property in an earnest way – except Greg O’Connell – a guy who went to college in Geneseo and has returned to give back to area communities. You would think from the response of the Sweden Town Board that it is the 1950’s and they are trying to make him out to be a communist. Glib remarks have been made like: “Downtown businesses / investors are the sole reason for the success of Main St.” as if Clinton St. is a far off destination that will take business away from Main St. Lift Bridge Book Store owner, Pat Kutz said in essence, what is good for Clinton St. is good for Main St. (“When Brockport and Sweden are attractive and filled with viable businesses, we all thrive. The benefit of having Clinton St. an asset, not an eye sore, makes the abatement cost worthwhile.” Note: Pat Kutz granted permission to use her quote.) If you want an example of siphoning business from Main St. consider Tim Horton’s taking business from Java Junction and Coleen’s.

Abbott’s pulls business from Seward’s candy and ice cream. Lowes undermined Chase Pitkin and Stull Lumber and then, the big one, Wal-Mart, pretty much undermines every store in the area. Those box businesses not only diverted business away from the village establishments, they received tax abatements. Now, perhaps the Town of Sweden is concerned that the Clinton St. revitalization project with 3 apartments and a restaurant or retail space is going to undermine town businesses such as Bill Gray’s, MacDonald’s, Burger King or Wal-Mart? And would that be shameful? The town has made short, trite comments like - the village didn’t do their homework – “failed to look at repercussions” - on the abatement - and - the town attorney researched and found it is not in the best interest of the town. Where are the town’s supporting facts and documentation? There are none because it is all feeling – they are “feeling pressure.” Pressure because they are trying to decide between doing what is right for historic preservation and economic development vs political favors and pay back to the Republican Party. Another inane remark is the disparagement of the “out of town investor” who dares to revitalize Clinton St. Well, where do the owners of Hampton Inn, Wal-Mart and the Mccheesy restaurants live? They are making money off of Brockport and haven’t set a foot here. Many owners of village rental properties don’t live here either. Instead, they are from Pittsford, Honeoye Falls, Beverly Hills, the Villages in Florida, Greece, Spencerport… you name it. Hey, if you are going to have an unsightly cash cow in the village, maybe you should be made to live next to it, feel the heat and be shamed for prostituting historic Brockport housing, compromising real estate values, quality of living and thumbing your nose at the hardworking people like Pam and Greg Ketchum who do take a lot of pride in their property and do live next door to their investments. And speaking of investment in real estate, it has been said a few times recently that young couples / families need an opportunity. Well, it doesn’t get much better than Brockport. You could have bought an entirely remodeled house at 65 Fayette St. for $89,900 (including some closing costs). Other examples of village properties that have sold in the past 24 months:         5 Coleman Ck – 3 bdrm ranch - $90,400 59 Fayette – 3 bdrm colonial - $79,000 including some closing costs 14 Mercer – 3 bdrm cape - $51,700 90 Fayette 4 bdrm colonial – $86,000 39 Idelwood – 3 bdrm ranch - $85,000 4 Evelyn – 3 bdrm ranch - $89,900 including some closing costs 24 Kimberlyn – 3 bdrm ranch – 86,900 3 Graves – 3 bdrm colonial - $84,900 including some closing costs

 

228 East Ave – 3 bdrm ranch - $80,200 73 Barry – 3 bdrm cape - $72,000 advertised as “great home for students attending SUNY Bkpt”

As for rental opportunities, these are some of the investment gems that have sold in the past 2 years:            54 Brockway – 3 bdrm colonial - $74,900 “Gross $12,000/yr.” 100 Erie – 4 bdrm colonial - $65,000 107 Clark St – 2 family - $89,900 18 Union – 2 family - $92,000 48 Spring St – 4 family - $88,000 28-30 Union – 2 family - $92,500 41 Clinton – 2 family or boarding house - $99,900 “Net $15,464” 259 Main St – 2 family - $95,000 36 Brockway – 2 family - $94,000 “Net $12,709” 35 Spring – 2 family - $90,000 “Net $9,068” 57 Erie – 2 family - $75,000

These are affordable properties; some in great shape, some need a lot of work, all in the walkable Victorian Village on the Erie Canal filled with amenities, services and … if we are lucky a new business or 2 at 60 Clinton St. As for investment properties, if the family that owns the most rentals in the village (they are up to around 40 properties) is any indicator, business is good; they have acquired new “investments” within the past 2 yrs. All this boils down to - what should happen to the building at 60 Clinton St? It almost seems that someone has a “deal” cooking up their sleeve. And I bet it won’t involve historic preservation. It sounds like demolition to me and a COMIDA tax break that the Town of Sweden “has no control over.” Please, Town of Sweden, give us all a break; respect the time, energy, preservation efforts, volunteerism, professional research and planning that has gone into this project for the past, at least, 15 years - all attributes that you have coyly conversed concern about. Put 60 Clinton St. back on the tax rolls. Vote “yes” for the abatement and “yes” for increased sales tax and real estate tax revenues, increased property values and increased quality of living for the greater Brockport area. Pam Ketchum 91 Park Ave, Brockport, NY 14420 585-305-4656 pketchum@rochester.rr.com

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