BOLIVAR – After six months of effort that brought together local government officials, community organizations, residents, and Allegany County Planning staff, the Town and Village of Bolivar are pleased to announce the completion of the first Strategic Plan in the municipality’s history. The creation of this Strategic Plan is timely, as the Town and Village of Bolivar will work with Alfred State College’s Architecture Design Studio on a Community Visualization Study this fall.
Bolivar’s Strategic Plan provides a framework for growth, development, community engagement, and community beautification – taking stock of the community’s assets and proposing strategies for improvement. Within five chapters, or action areas, that include “Business Development,” “Historic and Cultural Assets,” “Streetscape Improvements,” “Community Spaces and Recreation,” and “Community Pride,” Bolivar lays out its goals, objectives, and strategies for the growth of its business and tourism economy, preservation of its historic and cultural assets, and future plans for transforming its public spaces.
In February of this year, the Town and Village Boards each passed resolutions to create and appoint a special board for the purpose of planning for community revitalization, referred to as the Comprehensive Plan Committee. Members appointed to this board include Village Mayor, Bob Mitchell, Town Supervisor, Ricky Gould, LaRae Best (Bolivar Community Improvement Group), Tracie Edwards (The Hearing Aid Shop), Chris Evans (Bolivar Community Improvement Group), Cathy Fuller (Bolivar Free Library), Dan Fuller, Halley Kottwitz, Robert Mountain (Bolivar-Richburg Foundation), and Robert Salzer (Village Board). Thanks to the effort of this committee, and support from the Allegany County Office of Planning, Bolivar has a solid product that will aid and direct the Alfred State College students as they undertake this fall’s Community Visualization Study, which will focus on “revitalizing the existing downtown business district into a vibrant public realm” (Re-imaging Downtown as Destination: A Vision for Sustainability and Growth in Bolivar, NY).
The Architecture Design Studio course, taught by Professor William Dean, is an Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission with the intent of building real-world leadership skills and immersing students in their local communities. Similar to past Community Visualization Studies in the communities of Alfred, Andover, Canaseraga, Cuba, and Wellsville, Alfred State students will conduct public meetings with Bolivar stakeholders and community partners; investigate and accumulate data on economic, social, environmental, and historic characteristics of the community; illustrate the appropriate development to create a more socially vibrant, walkable, and connected community; and finally present their final product at a public meeting for the community.
“Completing this Strategic Plan is an important step forward for Bolivar, especially in planning for the future of their community and going after future grant opportunities,” said Angela McKay, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Planning at Allegany County. “The Office of Planning was happy to assist the Town and Village in accomplishing this task and we look forward to supporting them in their upcoming project with Alfred State.”
Electronic and hard copy versions of the Strategic Plan will be made available to the public at a future date.