Imagine a small town on the Erie Canal where tourists can come to enjoy some good food and quaint shops and maybe even take their families out to dinner and participate in a recreational activity.
Then imagine that residents of such a town would enjoy this place even more than visitors do.
The Pendleton Business Development Committee wants to do more than imagine such a place. It wants to work with Pendleton residents to plan and create one.
Committee Chairman William E. Poole and others made their case last week during a Town Board meeting. They advocated forming committees that will help create a comprehensive business development plan for Pendleton, one that will bolster the town tax base and improve the quality of life for town residents.
"We're trying to shape the scope of what the town will look like in 20 years," Poole said after the meeting. "We're trying to set some standards."
After watching the presentation, Supervisor James A. Riester said, the plan "needs more people and more [ideas] to flush it out."
Poole spoke Tuesday night to about 80 people who attended the Town Board meeting, and he urged residents to participate in at least one of seven action committees designed to bring vision and energy to Pendleton.
The first committee introduced by Poole was the Branding and Signage Committee, to be led by Town Councilman David A. Leible. This group will look to promote the overall town image through the marketing theme "Your Recreation and Relaxation Destination."
Leible said it will take time to identify town assets and develop signs that promote them, as well as figure out how to pay for the improvements.
The second committee, Recreation Based Business Development, will be headed by the town's recreation committee, Poole said. Poole said he would like the group to come up with some fun food and cultural activities and host some sports-related activities.
That committee could work in concert with a Cultural and Historical Business Development Committee, which will develop activities that might include establishing an annual wine festival, holding an outdoor summertime movie night in a park and conducting historical tours.
Councilman Gerald Farnham Jr. will serve as chairman for the Business Node & Trail Development Committee. This group will develop the town's trail system as a cornerstone of the business development program.
The Town Center and Architectural Standards Committee will work quickly to come up with an architectural building standard. It also will work to help design and develop Pendleton's town center. Among ideas are a wine cultural center, bringing Nine Mile Island into the mix for tourism, and securing West Canal Park at Tonawanda Creek and Townline roads as a key to waterfront and trail development.
The Tourism and Partnership Committee will promote and market the town for new businesses.
An Industrial and Commercial Assistance Development Committee will try to make it as easy as possible for large businesses to locate in town.
Councilman Joseph M. Frawley, who is the liaison to the Business Development Committee, said the plan isn't something that will happen overnight.
He called the committee structure "the basis and the groundwork for the plan."
"Now," he said, "we need to get the public involved."
Those interested in becoming involved should call Town Clerk Terry Pienta at 625-8833, Ext. 12; Frawley at 625-8705; or Poole at 505-5304.
Frawley said he would like to see some signs alerting people to the fact they've entered Pendleton. Maybe some businesses could help by sponsoring some of the signs, he said.
He also said he would like to get a separate ZIP code for Pendleton residences and businesses, some of which have the Lockport ZIP code. Others share one with North Tonawanda.
"What I've always said is that we need to identify Pendleton," Frawley said, "what we are and who we are."