[This Commentary originally appeared in the November 22, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]
(N.B.: The author is a member of the Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Community Task Force and gratefully thanks everyone in the Mendon Fire District for completing their survey.)
By now, many of the households in the Mendon Fire District should have received their Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Community Opinion Survey. Being only one page in length and with return postage provided, it’s very simple to fill out. In addition, it’s very important as many households as possible fill them out.
What’s Behind the Issue? The Mendon Fire District includes all of the town of Mendon outside the area covered by the Honeoye Falls Fire District. In other words, the Mendon Fire District services a little over half the geographic area of the town of Mendon. In response to greater needs, the Mendon Fire District built a new firehouse on Taylor Road.
The move left the former firehouse – the old cobblestone building next to St. Catherine’s Church – vacant. Residents in the district earlier this year voted down a proposal to sell this building. As a result, the commissioners of the Fire District convened a public meeting.
During this public meeting, Jim Robeson, President of the Mendon Business Association, proposed to the commissioners that they establish an ad hoc community task force to search and recommend alternatives. Those attending the meeting embraced the idea and a community task force was soon formed.
The Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Community Task Force, established in August, includes people with diverse backgrounds. It consists of Mendon Fire District Commissioners, Mendon Business Leaders, Town of Mendon Officials and local residents. As one of its guidelines, the task force itself takes an impartial view o the disposition of the old firehouse.
As its primary objective, the Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Community Task Force wants to make sure its recommended options faithfully represent the wishes of both the Mendon Fire District and the town of Mendon as a whole. The Community Opinion Survey denotes the first step in assessing the many alternative solutions.
Some Important Facts: You may be aware the old cobblestone firehouse was built in 1825. For a long time, it served as the Mendon Academy. In 1950, the local school district sold the building to the Fire District for one dollar. The building has very little land associated with it (St. Catherine’s property surrounds it).
The building is currently zoned residential. While the exterior remains in food condition, the interior needs some work. The amount of work required – and the cost of renovation – depends on the building’s ultimate use. Likewise, the septic system needs replacing, with the total cost dependent on the building’s ultimate use.
About the Survey: Several organizations have donated their time and money to administer the Community Opinion Survey. The Mendon Fire District, the Mendon Business Association, the Honeoye Falls Rotary and the Mendon Town Republican Committee all have contributed the dollars necessary to pay for postage, printing and envelopes. As a community, we should express our gratitude for the kind service these organizations give back to us.
CTO Research Associates, an independent market research firm, has assisted in the design of the survey. It will compile and analyze the results. These results, once distributed to the Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Community Task Force, will be made available to the public (as well as this newspaper).
Finally, as an added incentive to get residents to complete the survey promptly, all surveys returned with postmarks no later than November 30, 1990 will be eligible to win a free dinner at DiPalma’s restaurant. (Thanks Bob and Carol.)
What Will Be Done With The Survey? The Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Community Task Force genuinely wants to make sure the residents of the Mendon Fire District have a say in whatever happens to the old firehouse. The Task Force intends to use the results and analysis of the survey as a basis for further research into alternative solutions. In this manner, the opinion of the people – as reflected in the survey – will influence the recommendations made by the Task Force.
Ultimately, and as it should be, the citizens in the Fire District will have the final say. Any alternative the commissioners opt for which includes the sale of the building will likely require another vote. If the commissioners, as a result of the Community Opinion Survey, choose to retain the old firehouse, then no vote will be necessary.
Make sure your ideas are part of the solution. Please fill out and promptly return you Old Mendon Cobblestone Firehouse Survey.
[What is this and why is here? See Interested in Discovering My Time Machine? for more details.]