Main Street Orion active, trustees hear

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

Main Street Orion wants to communicate regularly with village officials, trustees learned from Damon Seys, a member of the Main Street board.

The organization depends on contributions from the village, businesses and individuals. Trustees have been approving $10,000 annual contributions, but they have asked Main Street to prepare for smaller donations in the future.

At the village board meeting on Monday, July 7, Seys introduced the new executive director, Lisa Newman.

“She’s been an exceptional value to Main Street Orion and the board,” he told trustees.

The group’s recent events include:

• The Daddy-Daughter Dance in April, which grows every year, Seys said.

• Join Hands Day in May, which Shirley Carney organized, he said. During the last couple of years, the clean-up, spruce-up effort has grown to cover more of Orion. The only factor that could limit its growth is the number of volunteers.

• The community garage sale in June, which benefitted from Main Street’s organizing and advertising efforts, he said. People came from as far as Waterloo to browse 95 sales. Orion Lions Club and Orion Athletic Boosters raised funds with meals in the park, and businesses had additional customers during the day.

• The Got Junk? campaign, which allowed people who did not want to have their own garage sales to bring items to the Main Street booth during the community garage sale, Seys said. Leftovers were donated to nursing homes and other organizations.

• Free music-and-movie nights in the park, one each in June, July and August. Main Street finds a band to perform before the Orion Community Band takes the stage, and Main Street also provides the sound systems and sells concessions. The next music-and-movie night is Wednesday, Aug. 13, when the movie will be “Sleepless in Seattle.”

Trustee Mike Dunne said Orion is the only community offering anything like the movie-and-music night. His co-workers think it’s great.

Village President Jim Cooper added that everyone who has not been to a movie-and-music night should come and see for themselves that it draws all ages, not just kids who want to eat popcorn and watch a movie.

• Jazz in the Park, featuring Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, on Monday, July 21. Main Street has to charge admission to cover Allred’s fee, Seys said.

Drainage problem

Resident Al Saunders reported drainage problems in ditches between Route 150 and First Street, and between First and Second streets.

Concrete, trees and weeds fill one of the ditches, and water cannot pass through to a drainage tube, he said. If water ever did get as far as the tube, it would back up because the ditch is lower than the tube.

Trustee Karl Kane, chairman of the street committee, said he learned from Street Superintendent Neil Dahl that the property is privately owned.

Village employees normally do not go onto private property to clean it up, Kane said. He was not sure if there was an easement allowing access for cleanup efforts.

In other cases, homeowners have cleaned out ditches and put in tubes, Trustees Mel Drucker and Robert “Deano” O’Leary said.

Where a natural waterway exists, the property owner probably has no duty to keep the ditch cleaned out, Village President John Ames said.

A weed ordinance would allow the village to force the owner to clean up the property, Saunders said.

Cooper said he, Kane and Dahl would go out and look at the situation before the next meeting.

In other business

• To improve the looks of the village property on Fourth Street, village employees are starting to take down trees and weeds at the retention pond, O’Leary said. They will put down weed-blocking fabric.

• Village employees are 90 to 95 percent done with cleanup at the burn site, Cooper said. They have one more load of metal to haul out, and they need a couple of more weeks to finish removing other debris. He commended the employees for their hard work.

The village has received almost $3,000 for the metal it has recycled, Cooper said. Receipts will go toward a permanent fence at the burn site.

• Resident Dick Rossi is pleased with the “No Turnaround” sign the village installed in his court.

• Cooper and Drucker represented Orion at the Henry County Economic Development Partnership’s meeting for mayors. They picked up a lot of information and a better understanding of the partnership’s value.

Orion needs to concentrate on retaining businesses it has, Cooper said. He urged residents to participate in the Shop Henry County campaign, which encourages people to spend $5 a week more than they have been spending in the village.