Improvements aim to enhance Fredonia

The recent comments and opinions regarding the Barker Commons Project are interesting, but seem to be resistive to effect positive changes in the village of Fredonia.

What is it that this village wants or needs to do? Some things we need to examine: 1) attract new business, 2) work with our merchants to encourage appealing businesses, attractive storefronts and increase awareness and shopping in the village, 3) attract tourists.

It seems logical to examine other, prosperous villages throughout New York and New England to see what makes them attractive. In traveling around these regions, you can see Colonial villages, Victorian villages, waterfront villages, or other themed villages. They are all similar in that they have 1) themes, 2) physical presence, 3) historic presence, 4) merchant presence. Sadly Fredonia is lacking in consistency of these characteristics.

Physical presence: Neat, clean, picturesque, with vibrant and active downtown; brick walkways, fenced parks (The beautiful Victorian villages of New England have fences everywhere, around parks, churches, cemeteries and it unifies the look of the village. Do some homework and look around at what is effective beautification.), unique and informative signs, houses with porches (with railings, could these be called fences?), painted storefronts, effective lighting, etc. Welcome Centers that are attractive and large enough to offer products from the area, lots of local information, maps, local books, postcards, etc, and even more.

An interesting note: Many European villages are entered through a roundabout. The roundabout is an indication of the well-being of the village. If it is well kept with trees, flowers, etc. you can expect a well kept, prosperous village. When not, it is not a village that is attractive or attracts positive attention. Take note of what you see at ALL entrances to the village. It is discouraging.

Historical presence: Local history frames the community. For us, that could be our gas well, First Grange, historical structures, historical societies, historical significance of nearby villages, etc and more.

Merchant presence: Welcome center with local products-produce, maple syrup, grape products etc, festivals, wine and beer walks, a more permanent farmer’s market, college presence-downtown bookstore, signs, more associations of village and college. Attractive and coordinated signs and storefronts.

It is this opinion that a fence project will enhance the theme and beauty of our parks. It will coordinate with the White Inn and cemetery and maybe the fence idea can eventually enhance our gas well (if/when we create a small park around it somewhere?) It is a start to some changes, get people thinking and working on low-cost, visual changes that encourage pride in our village.

It’s time to work together, Fredonia residents, and effect some changes that make a difference. Opinions and different outlooks are important to brainstorm, share ideas, and solve problems. It is time to get something done, besides complaining. I would like to see all the energy and ideas used in a positive way to breathe some life back into the village of Fredonia.

Joanne Mansfield is a town of Pomfret resident.