42 years in business.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Progress - Property Values - Community Morale

Before the second meeting and final vote for the I-Square PILOT, I wrote an email to the Irondequoit Town Board members. I decided to share the letter publicly now that some time has passed. It is copied below. I did not receive a response from any of the board members.

 A lot has happened in the past couple of months.  A new town board member was elected, Irena Skrobach-Scoglio . She makes promises to help with the progression of the I-Square project. There has been a public workshop and video developed by I-Square to educate the public on the PILOT and why it is beneficial to them but ultimately to the town and its citizens as a whole. You can view the information and sign a petition on their website by clicking here.

There was a lot of outrage expressed when the PILOT was not passed. There has been a ton of discussion from both sides about what is best for the town. Regardless of what you think about the Nolan's seeking PILOT approval, the fact that we have something to discuss as far as economic and cultural progress in our town is amazing in itself. 

The letter I wrote reflects my opinion as a real estate broker and a life-long resident of Irondequoit. It is important for everyone to understand the present and FUTURE impact that a project like I-Square will have on our community. Some of the benefits Irondequoit will reap in the future are: retaining residents, obtaining new residents, rise in property value, job creation, boost in morale for community, a community gathering place, spending money in Irondequoit vs. other suburbs, supporting our residents small businesses.

  I was also inspired to share my thoughts when I saw the large pine tree standing in I-Square where the new road will eventually lie. They are having a tree trimming party December 1 from 10 am to noon. What a great opportunity to create new town traditions. I envision the lit up tree with the finished buildings in the background, benches, street lights and tons of people gathered together. Our own Rockefeller Center.

While it's true that none of know exactly what the future holds, we should have some faith and see this opportunity for what it is- a gift we have been waiting for.


To the members of the Irondequoit Town Board and Supervisor D’Aurizio,

I am a real estate broker. Our company has been based in Irondequoit for 41 years.

Over the past decade I have helped people buy and sell their homes in Monroe County. Most of my business is done in Irondequoit. A lot of my past and present clients are long-time Irondequoit residents. In the past several years I have seen many native Irondequoit residents decide to leave our great town to make a life in another suburb of Rochester. There are several reasons, but the most prominent is that Irondequoit  does not have a shopping district, a town center, restaurants, and other amenities that are found in different communities. The younger generations want to see progress- change with the times. They want to have a quaint area for strolling, shopping, and gathering. And now that prices have come down, many first time buyers are able to afford homes in other areas. Irondequoit is still a very affordable place to buy a home, despite our taxes. If people choose to start their lives here, when it’s time to move up, many are deciding to buy their second or third home somewhere else. I recently worked with someone I went to high school with. They sold their West Irondequoit home and  moved to Penfield. They felt that Penfield had more to offer them and their growing family.  It saddens me to see our town continually lose its roots. We used to be such a deep rooted community and now more than ever we are becoming a transient community.

I-Square is the hope that I have been looking for to revitalize our town. We have so many wonderful features- water, parks, schools, and pretty neighborhoods. But we are missing the final piece of the puzzle. We need to see more shops, restaurants, arts and businesses. The location of I-Square was such an eye-sore. It was run down and looked horrible and did not leave a very good impression of our town. It screamed negligence and lack of development. And young people do not want to see that. They have plenty of other places to live.

I-Square will bring people in and will keep people here. The completed project will add value to our town and will help sell our community to those who want to be in Irondequoit and those who are just discovering Irondequoit. This value will filter over into our property values. Over time assessments will be raised creating more revenue.  Hope will be restored that Irondequoit will get a second wind. We sell many homes of residents who have lived in their homes 50+ years. We sell the homes of parents of classmates, either my generation or my father’s generation. The sad part is that as these folks leave or pass away, we are not seeing their children remain residents of the Irondequoit. Please let the Nolan’s continue on with their endeavor to breathe new life into Irondequoit. LET PROGRESS HAPPEN!

People keep saying that you were burned by the Medley Centre. You’re being cautious. Let the “precedent” be that if someone wants to invest their own money into the town, government and citizens alike will be supportive.  Mike and Wendy Nolan are the real deal. Who else would invest 13 million dollars of their own money, without asking for a dime from anyone, to create a project that will better our community? It will create jobs, create a buzz, fill a HUGE void in our community. I grew up next to the Nolan’s. The Walther family knows them personally. They are upstanding members of society and completely legit. Look what Mr. Nolan did with his own business. Take a look at his beautiful home on Kings Highway North. He built it from the ground up on a vacant piece of land so his family could remain in this great community.

Mr. Nolan will follow through on his plan and then some. He’s a no nonsense, straight shooter who is looking to make this project a complete success. He has been fully prepared for any and all meetings. He has looked to you for help in making the development portion go more smoothly and with a hands-on, work-together approach.

The PILOT is essential to making I-Square and all its beautiful plans become a reality. It will enable the Nolan’s to keep rents lower so that small businesses can afford to a be part of I-Square and not get pushed out.  Let’s finally seem some reality in all the talk for making Irondequoit a better place to live and raise our children. I want my children to grow up in this town feeling all the great things I felt as a kid. I want them to have a Casey’s toy store, a book store, a venue to watch plays and hear music. I want them to love all that is Irondequoit including this beautiful town center.

Do what is right and vote YES on the PILOT. What the Nolan’s are doing is a gift. They are private citizens investing their own money into our town. What are you waiting for? This opportunity will never come around again. Please make this happen and let the Nolan’s continue on with their project. I want to see people moving back into Irondequoit. I want to see residents put their house on the market in order to purchase a bigger home in Irondequoit. I want to hear people say, the way they used to, that they will never leave this town- that there is no better place to live than Irondequoit, NY.

Erica Walther Schlaefer

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Small Business Saturday

Have you seen the advertisements for Small Business Saturday sponsored by American Express?

What a great initiative to get Americans to shop small. Entrepreneurship is the key to America's success. And even more essential is the small business. We are the backbone of the American economy. Our success is dependent on the American people investing and taking the time to frequent our shops and utilize our services. Many small business do not have a physical storefront but a virtual storefront, and it is imperative to take a little effort to find out where and how you can support small business.

Small Business Saturday is a positive step toward promoting the necessity of maintaining the businesses owned and operated by our neighbors. These are the individuals that dedicate their lives to their product and community. And they take on the risk of operating a business, especially in a tough economy.

Without the local hardware store, the florist shop, the real estate office or gift shop, our towns and communities would lose their individualistic and unique identity. Our homes would be settled in a sea of big box labels and we would have no namesake reinventing our own communities.

Visit the website and find out how you can support your local small businesses.

Have a great Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!