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Times of Wayne County

Villages

I know it is a hard pill to swallow for some residents and employees of the Village of Lyons. The voters opted to dissolve the Village government. Lyons will now simply be the Town of Lyons.

What caused this change in centuries of government? Let’s start with the changing times. Small villages, regardless of what the pundits say, are a duplication of services. The retail end of villages has crumbled due to changing shopping trends, and small stores find it hard to fit a niche market. The local pharmacy has evolved into super, large stand-alone buildings offering a wide variety of merchandise, including foods. The local grocer has fallen to the super stores, convenient gas/food marts, along with the added all-in-one pharmacies.

Some villages fall prey to the added change in traffic patterns. It is no longer ‘convenient’ to stop/park on Main Street. The Villages of Macedon, Red Creek and even Palmyra are good examples of that trend. It is harder to keep a small shop open and the retail market begins its trend towards second hand stores.

Village infrastructures have crumbled under the weight of falling property tax revenues. Less retail means higher water and sewer rates and fewer bucks to fix and repair. Some of the local village infrastructures date back 100 years, or more. Desperate property owners turn retail into apartments and the downward trend is only exaserbated.  Soon, buildings are in disrepair and, with little income or initiative to pour money into old structures, the property owners let them go for back taxes.

Add foolishness to the mix. Some villages fail to see the forest for the trees and continue to ignore common sense. They spend tons of money on stupid things in an attempt to put lipstick on the pig.

Lyons is only the first to fall in Wayne County. Red Creek literally has buildings falling down in their midst. So does Clyde and Palmyra. Red Creek should have thrown in the towel a decade ago, but pride and stubbornness come before the fall.

The Village of Macedon has been on a downward spiral for years, but once again, the residents believe there is a better tomorrow in butterfly paths and $8000 artificial Christmas trees. Regardless of the desire, the Village of Macedon will cease to exist when more of the older population realizes the property tax burden is no longer secondary to the heart.

At one time the Village of Newark considered becoming a city in an effort to gain federal dollars. In the end, it was hard to turn a main thoroughfare with only two stop lights into a city. Newark will survive due to its size and tax base, but it will not be easy.

Wolcott too still has a true identity and retail and tax base for survival. Luckily, they are far enough off the beaten path to maintain the present.

The same can be said for Palmyra, at least for the immediate future. Sooner, or later, it too will succumb to the realization.

As for hard feelings created by both sides of the issue, all things work out for the best.

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