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Batavia hears from property owners about vision for West Town area

Area is centered around Main Street and Mallory Avenue

Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 10:06 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:26 p.m. CST

BATAVIA – For 30 years, Ollie's Garage has been part of the neighborhood surrounding the business at 709 Main St.

Donna and Dave Beckman, who have owned the family business for 10 years, want to be part of the neighborhood for many more years. They attended an open house Monday hosted by the city of Batavia to hear about possible plans for the area.

"We are a neighborhood business," Donna Beckman said. "We love our location. If we can keep doing what we are doing, we will be happy."

City officials held the meeting to hear from residents and property owners in the city's West Town area on what their vision is for the neighborhood, and to present the city's possible plans for the area. The West Town area is centered at the intersection of Main Street and Mallory Avenue, and extends roughly two blocks north and south.

"Our job is to look 50 to 75 years into the future," City Administrator Bill McGrath told the crowd of about 30 people. "What we are trying to do is plan for the future."

McGrath said the city does not intend to make any businesses move.

"If existing businesses want to stay there, that is not a problem," he said. "There is no plan to forcibly take any property."

The city has explored creating a tax increment financing district for the area. Once a municipality creates a TIF, its property assessment is frozen and new or increased taxes generated by improvements are used to pay for improvements or other development incentives.

The area is comprised of both industries still in operation and abandoned buildings, such as a vacant gas station. Master Cast, which supplies permanent mold aluminum castings, is located at the southeast corner of Mallory Avenue and First Street. The building was heavily damaged in a March 5 fire and is set to be demolished.

The West Town area also is comprised of homes and The Elms restaurant. The city's comprehensive plan calls for a mix of uses in the area, including higher density, single-family uses, as well as industrial uses, city officials said.

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