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SUBMITTED by John R. Groves, Erie’s Restoration Interests Everyone, Inc. (13-Jan-2010)

An editorial is just that, an expression by someone who has been affected either positively or otherwise because of recent issues. The value of such comments gives us a window into what others may really think and feel, from which we can hopefully address those concerns.

Ron Holdraker sees and chronicles ineptitude and waste within local, state and national government. He equally sees our project as strong evidence of these malicious trends. He observes the Village as a stronghold of decay and lawlessness, so egregious that nothing could possibly ever change.

We too see that which Ron sees, but we also see beyond that wreckage and through our efforts try to turn a corner towards a better community. Most great journeys or societal changes begin within modest early stages; our small step of preservation is such a journey.

I really appreciate Ron’s dialogue, because within it are the very issues that must be addressed if the Village is to experience a renaissance. It is better to speak, even if it hurts feelings, causes anger, than to remain silent. By speaking out we begin to see, even feel that which is very important to us.

Community life remains static, often negative, when there is nothing being done towards change. When an act of change or kindness is seen, suddenly a community experiences hope and begins to realize that we deserve to be proud of ourselves.

A sense of change is abundantly seen when a community restores its heritage. Instead of suffering in the present a community restores its past, because in many ways that pioneering spirit (from the past) is still there. Few places in Up State New York have remaining industries so exceptionally attached to the Historic Erie Canal.

The Hotchkiss Essential Oils Company was one of many such industries in the Lyons community. Buildings abound that were also a direct result of even the earliest Erie Canal (i.e. 1825 Erie Canal) on Canal Street. Signs of a prosperous Erie Canal community are seen everywhere.

Kindness and a willingness to take personal time and effort to identify, protect and hopefully restore historic structures really define what a community is. Apathy hurts everyone. Kindness has an infectious ability to overcome apathy and build better quality of life, wherever it touches. To volunteer is an act of kindness, possibly selfish kindness because by doing so it brings tremendous personal satisfaction.

In most grants involving historic preservation a term commonly associated is “In-Kind-Services” Services, materials and volunteers provided gratis (free of charge), to mitigate costs of preservation. In doing this the businesses and people of the community share a common vision that we truly care.

I feel as well the awful risk of large expenditures on projects that seem, at the moment, to be unproductive. Yet, I am willing to ease these costs through personal efforts, because I know the people of Lyons are worth it. I know that when others reach out to others, great things can and will happen.

Ron has given us a tremendous and necessary gift of insight. He has shown the need for change in our community that is necessary if we are to continue into a bright future. Part of that plan must include the restoration of the historic Lyons infrastructure, reaching out to all within the community and by doing so making Lyons a great place to live. Implementing this risky plan will certainly be challenging, but doing nothing is simply foolish and will ultimately lead to the further degrading of the Village of Lyons.


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1 Comment to "An Editorial is Just That"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    I think this is a well written article and I am glad to see the acknowledgments and challenge to volunteer. This is an excellent chance to serve. I do hope that this project succeeds, and even though I still disagree with the manners in which is was promoted and pushed, My family and I will support it as we can.

    As you mentioned, Holdraker is known for speaking out against corruption and bad management in government. It was the manner and methods used by the village of lyons to get this passed that have been challenged. We as a community cannot accept a project worth $1 Million being pushed with little information publically announced, misinformation given, and State Laws avoided/loop holes used to get this passed.

    My family and I look forward to moving forward and helping the main st program and heritage society. I hope this community can continue to demand accountability from their government though and denounce the manner in which this has progressed. To allow misbehavior by village officials otherwise will not restore this community. It sends the wrong message. Lead by example, or don't lead at all.

    Andrew DeWolf

    Posted on Fri Jan 15, 07:53:00 AM EST


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