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ENDORSEMENT: Some progress in Fredonia

During a Sunday June afternoon in 2017, Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis was in her office at Village Hall. Outside was a perfect day. The sun was shining and temperatures were near 80 degrees.

Inside, she was in the middle of a major project: finishing a major Smart Growth grant application as part of the Buffalo Billion 2 that had a strict deadline. Unfortunately that year, all the long hours she put in that day did not bring the results she wanted.

In 2018, however, her efforts brought rewards. The village of Fredonia won that $2.5 million state grant to help in renovating the Fredonia Opera House and assist in pedestrian improvements that include signage, crosswalk updates and sidewalk replacements that will make downtown a greater destination in years to come.

Landis, who has been criticized by her opponents as being too controlling or unwilling to listen, has a proven her dedication to the position by making things happen in the last four years. In fact, when Brooks Memorial Hospital announced it was looking for locations for a new hospital, she went to the first meeting with a plan that turned out to be the health-care facility’s current choice: the former Cornell Cooperative Extension land on East Main Street.

During her tenure, she has overseen some tough, unpopular changes that include a new Department of Public Works supervisor, the elimination of a village administrator and — after years of complaints by James Place residents — took action to eliminate a problem with discolored water. Landis even is now talking about being part of the North County Water District, which is a major step in the right direction.

On the campaign trail, however, no one has worked harder than her opponent and current Trustee Douglas Essek. He has a flawless record of attending community functions and meetings while reaching out to village residents to hear their concerns regarding what is going right and wrong in the village.

His platform of looking at sharing services, specifically a police facility, is something this newspaper strongly backs. Essek also promotes a team approach, which is something the triumvirate of Republican trustee hopefuls also espouse.

If Essek is defeated, he will keep his voice on the Village Board through his trustee seat. We have backed him in the past, but as the news organization that has been to every Village Board meeting for decades, we actually have seen some progress in a village that in previous years had a record of being somewhat chaotic. Landis has earned another four years.

Agree or disagree?

The OBSERVER encourages letters to the editor regarding local and state races. Letters regarding the election must be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday. We will be publishing letters on the election through the Nov. 2-3 edition. Any questions can be directed to jdagostino@observertoday.com or 366-3000, ext. 401.

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