A blog dedicated to the local government, development, and future prospects of the town of Geddes and the Fairmount area.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

aurora borealis in Geddes tonight

I took these pictures tonight, while freezing in my driveway. They were taken on a Kodak Easy Share Z730 on the Shutter setting. They were taken with a 4 to 8 second exposure, iso 400, aperture 3.4, and exposure bias ranging from 0.0 to 2.0.

I wish that I could have truly captured the beauty that I saw in the sky. This will have to do.

Click on images for bigger picture.

Thanks to Brett for tipping me off to the event.

The Gaudiest Advertising in the World = Kirby's

I just can't let another moment pass with out mentioning the gad-awful Kirby's Ad/Tractor Trailer parked in the lot at Westvale Plaza. I am amazed that this is a legal way to advertise for your business. What a freaking eyesore, and it's been there all winter.

Time to move it on out.

p.s. The only saving grace that it has is that it takes my mind off of the empty Pep Boys building behind it.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Who Owns The Marble Farms Dairy Building?

Does anyone know? I think that it might be the perfect site for a Syracuse Real Food Co-op Western branch. Especially if hooked up with a local organic dairy farm to get the milk and ice cream flowing again...

Plenty of room for a coffee, tea, and milkshake bar too. Free WIFI. Sound interesting to any angel investors one?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Spring Project

Something has been bothering me, gnawing at me on a daily basis as I drive by it.

It is the West Genesee St. medians across from the Wegmans plaza heading towards Geddes. Here's NYCO's apt description and accompanying "Zapruder film":

I’m sure everyone has had the mind-altering experience of one day looking at something very familiar and suddenly seeing it in a whole new way. Something you might have previously taken for granted, or totally ignored, one day really bugs the crap out of you and there’s no looking back. For me this week, it’s the Route 5/West Genesee Street medians near Wegmans Fairmount.

These are some ugly, ugly medians. They are about 10 feet wide — perhaps more than 20 feet wide in spots — and I can’t ever remember a time when they weren’t shabby-looking and overgrown with weeds, or when the asphalt wasn’t deteriorating. They remind me of footage I’ve seen of Russian cities where nobody much cares about weed control along the streets, or of depressed neighborhoods in American inner cities. I wonder… did these things ever look nice?

Ever since I reading her post, I have been thinking about ways that I could clean up this eyesore, and perhaps inspire others to beautify it.

So I am going to make it my spring project. Since finding out that these medians lie in the Town of Geddes, I think that I will start there at the town meeting. How about a "Welcome to Geddes" sign, a la Strathmore? Surely the members of the board would like to get behind a small beautification project to help brighten their constituents lives.

I think that some tasteful landscaping is possible, perhaps a wild flower bed surrounded by brick pavers? Perhaps a "Sponsored by Lowe's" sign (or Home Depot?) Whoever would like to pony up a (relatively) small donation to get the thing built, and a few hundred dollars a year to keep the flowers growing and the weeds pulled. Not a bad cost for a "in perpetuity" advertisement.

The other disgusting problem - Karma is coming back to bite me on this one - is all of the cigarette butts forming drifts up to the curb, especially off the exit ramp from 695. If you see a sign that says "The World is NOT Your Ashtray", you'll know who put it there. Maybe I can at least get the town to donate a push broom and a dust pan to my efforts.

Anyone interested in helping me push for this, email me at baloghblog [at] gmail {dot} com

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bye Bye Walmart - Camillus, you can have her.

Inspired to post again at Geddesblog, here is a few farewell shots of the old Walmart in Fairmount:

I can't wait for Target, hopefully the building that they put in is reminiscent of their Fayetteville store, and looks less "big-boxish".

...though the environmentalist in me wonders why the heck they couldn't have retrofitted the Walmart to suit their needs and just put a new facade on the building. Seems like a tremendous waste of time, energy and materials...

Called out - Kirst is a Mindreader...

As I toured the far end of Terry Rd. this morning, I saw a beautiful sight: an OPEN sign in neon, and newly painted parking stripes on the lot of the newest "geddes" area development. Renee's Salon is the first tenant of the new commercial building that occupies the land that this used to stand on:

Now I didn't have my camera at the ready, so I'll have to swing by there and grab a comparison pic tonight. What a turn around though. And to see it come to fruition has been wonderful. A dump turned into an oasis.

I've been thinking about leasing one of the spots in there and opening up a coffee shop, and small book store. What do you think? Worth the investment? Would you stop in for a cup of fair-trade coffee, free wi-fi with any purchase, and a small collection of books to peruse and purchase? Speaking of investments, any angel investors out there with some start up money? (heh heh).

I agree with Sean, the stone work and landscaping really works for me too.

Like I said, pics later.


[View from the road]

[up close - Mrs. B loves the little flower cart!]

What a difference, huh? I am excited to see what fills in the other shops. I think that this building should be a big hit overall, and has brightened Taunton Corners.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Unhappy median

I'm sure everyone has had the mind-altering experience of one day looking at something very familiar and suddenly seeing it in a whole new way. Something you might have previously taken for granted, or totally ignored, one day really bugs the crap out of you and there's no looking back. For me this week, it's the Route 5/West Genesee Street medians near Wegmans Fairmount.

These are some ugly, ugly medians. They are about 10 feet wide -- perhaps more than 20 feet wide in spots -- and I can't ever remember a time when they weren't shabby-looking and overgrown with weeds, or when the asphalt wasn't deteriorating. They remind me of footage I've seen of Russian cities where nobody much cares about weed control along the streets, or of depressed neighborhoods in American inner cities. I wonder... did these things ever look nice?

The very worst parts of it are right by the end of Route 695 -- adjacent to the Off-Ramp to Nowhere, a now-deserted mesa where human sacrifices to the Snow God were performed by the local high priests in ancient times. (The Off-Ramp to Nowhere is, in itself, a mildly interesting story of a neighborhood-slicing bypass that never got built, but let's leave that for another day.)

This partial aerial view doesn't really convey what it's like to drive past these things every day, so I took a movie of the drive instead.

A couple of notes about my little Zapruder film. It starts at the Terry Road intersection and proceeds west past three of the four medians (seen on the left), coming to a stop in front of the fourth and final one (which is about 20 feet wide, if not more). The picture quality isn't that great, but hopefully you can observe the lovely fringe of weed and the weary asphalt surfaces.

Also, note the white blobs on the ground next to Median #3. When I first really noticed them, I was confused because I knew it wasn't crabapple blossom time -- and in any case, there are no crabapples along the road there. No, those are cigarette butts, piles of them, shifting like sand or snowdrifts. Yes, as people wait at the light to turn left into Wegmans, they toss their ciggies right there. (Either that, or there is a weird traffic-turbulence current that is piling them all there.) It was realizing for the first time what this white pile was made of, that made me grossed out enough to write about it -- and this video doesn't even convey how thick the drifts sometimes get.

This particular stretch of road is a median in two ways. Not only does it separate two sides of West Genesee Street, but this series of dividers happens to be almost right on the Camillus (Fairmount) and Geddes town border. Unfortunately (in my opinion, anyway), the net effect on the two towns' appearances is not the same. By a slight quirk of topography, you get a different overall effect driving by these medians depending on which direction you are headed. If you are headed toward Geddes, you are going slightly up a hill into a wooded, suburban area, and you might not notice the sorry condition of the dividers that much. However, if you are headed west, toward Fairmount, what you get is totally different. Fairmount being a dense commercial district along West Genesee, the stark, weedy expanse of these dividers just adds significantly to the overall sense of haphazardness, clutter, and anti-greenness. Unless you think the weeds are "green enough" -- but while the common chicory (Cichorium intybus) blossoms in July can be very pretty, I think somehow we could expect a little more than just Mother Nature's bounty.

In starker terms, it makes Fairmount look (even more) like crap -- but these medians appear to be wholly located in Geddes. There may be similarly neglected highway dividers in other burbs around town, but these are probably the ugliest in a highest-trafficked suburban area. Of course, the high traffic is the reason for the dividers, and part of the reason why you can't just plant some petunias there and hope for the best. If you sent out some homing pigeons with miniature pollution detectors in the greater Geddes-Fairmount area, you would probably find lots of air pollution from all those tailpipe emissions -- and just as many of these cars are headed for points west as well as points east.

So why hasn't anyone done anything about this?

First, it's possible that the dividers are trapped within Doug Adams' famous SEP Field ("Somebody Else's Problem" Field). The maintenance of the roadway is possibly under county or even state jurisdiction. I don't know if it's fair to hold the Town of Geddes fully responsible for their appearance, so this post should not be taken as a slam on them. However, that may not get Geddes and/or Camillus town officials -- and ultimately local residents -- off the hook from noticing and tugging on the shirtsleeve of whoever does have the responsibility for upkeep of the dividers.

Second: in an imperfect world of physical and budgetary realities, what to do? I think flowers have already been eliminated as a possibility. But you can at least make a quick list of potential solutions besides flowers, such as: (1) removing the asphalt and replacing it with attractive, weed-resistant pavers or gravel; (2) keeping the asphalt but hiring someone fearless to weed-whack or apply herbicide to the weeds on a regular basis; (3) planting grass; or (4) putting realistic fake turf in. (Ironic that many people don't want fake turf at the baseball stadium in Syracuse -- whereas fake turf might be a terrific, if high-end, solution for this problem. So if there are city officials who are really counting on a sweet deal for their fake-turf-selling friends, maybe they could be directed out our way instead.)

One last thought: If no one wanted to pay for a solution, perhaps Benderson could get involved. Benderson is the company that is planning on revitalizing good old Fairmount Fair (which will start soon with the construction of a new Target) into a nicer shopping destination. Although the worst stretches of Dividerland happen to be closer to Wegmans (which is in Geddes), they are a gateway into the Fairmount Fair area as well (which is in Camillus), and it would only enhance the image that Benderson is trying to create. They haven't got a whole lot of real estate at FF to work with in the first place, so why not "expand" into the road that is going to bring in most of their traffic anyway?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Salt City Roasters

Mrs. Balogh and I just checked out the new restaurant in Fairmount - Salt City Roasters. We were more than satisfied with our meals. Not being that adventurous to start out with, we both opted for 1/4 chicken white with 2 sides.

The chicken was moist and smoky with great skin. Better than Boston Market, 2 steps above Wegman's rotisserie (which we like very much as well). Served as boneless breast which was a plus. The sides we more than ample. I had the stuffing and salt potatoes. The potatoes were fresh and delicious, in real butter (or at least it tasted just like it...) The stuffing was good, maybe a little heavy on the herbs in my opinion. My wife had some homemade mac and cheese, and the potatoes which she raved about.

The staff was very friendly. Go support this new local establishment and enjoy a great meal!

Next time we'll delve into some of the other appetizing sounding options like the roast pork, meatloaf, and pot pie...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sad to see it go... Doust Gallery to Close

That's what the sign on the street corner said anyways. That is too bad. Though, it must be tough to keep a place in business when you are only open 2 days a week. Stop by there for some great prices on home decor items, and wish the owner well.

Not to fear, the Geddes blog is not dead...

I was just overstretched for a period of time, and trying to keep up writing for 3 blogs, work full time, and have a life was becoming a little difficult.

Look for updates soon.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

Not that I take any credit for it, but it is nice to see this eyesore removed:



Hopefully the architects will create a building that fits into the style and character of the area, and that they don't hire the same design firm that created this gem as their signage:

My question to you is, if you were in charge, what would you like to see go into this small business plaza? Comments below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coming soon:

The next local business to be reviewed:
Sanctuary Spa on the corner of Terry Rd. and West Genesee St.

email me any thoughts on the business at baloghblog [at] yahoo.com

First impression - incredible job fixing up that old home on the corner!

Town Meeting last night

I attended the Town Council meeting last night. Two quick points of interest:

1. The Byrne Dairy scheduled to be built in Lakeland seemed to have support among most constituents, despite what appeared to be a harsh tone. The residents that spoke up passionately against the store were more against the hours of operation, and increased traffic on the side streets that would affect local homeowners.

I have to agree - why does a Byrne Dairy in Lakeland have to be open 24 hours a day?!? Will they really be doing that much business from 12-6 a.m.? Shut the lights off, lock up and come in early in the morning again. Sounds simple to me. The issue of safety for residents and workers is a valid issue.

As far as the traffic goes, I don't think that it is realistic or good for the town to try and limit "traffic" on State Fair Blvd. It is the main road into the business district there, and anyone who bought a home on it, must have realized that from day 1. For the side streets, I think that it is a legitimate concern regarding speeding and blowing stop signs, and cutting through into the parking lot. I have to imagine that this could be curtailed with new street lights, increased law enforcement of stop signs and speeding in the area.

I think that if these issues are addressed, then there will be little opposition to a vacant building with no purpose being torn down for the addition of a Byrne Dairy.

2. The town website will be updated soon, and they will be working on getting meeting agendas up ahead of time, so that residents can find out what is up for discussion and vote prior to the meeting, and then have minutes of the meeting afterwards to review.

I left early - It was Valentine's Day, you know... Anything else interesting happen? Any comments?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

New Thread on Geddes Electric Commission

There has been plenty of interest and debate over the idea of expanding Solvay Electric to the entire Town of Geddes area. I will summarize both sides of the debate, and welcome expanded discussion of it. I see merit in both arguements, and to me (so far) they carry equal weight.

1. For those living in the Village of Solvay (and Lakeland):
I think that Solvay Electric is the best thing that the village has going for it, and it is the main reason for me to stay in an area that is taxed higher, and has a lower ranked school (education wise) than Westhill. I don't believe that it should be expanded because all it will do is cause people to leave the village for the Westhill district, and will increase energy rates for those that already have Solvay Electric service.
2. For those living in the Town of Geddes outside the Village of Solvay:
There is no reason that the rest of the town should not enjoy reduced electrical rates that the village currently pays. We should be able to expand the municipality to allow increased energy distribution to homes in the rest of the town. Bulk purchases of energy are still below NatGrid rates, and would save residents hundreds of dollars. Cheaper energy would also boost property values for the entire town.
As I said, I can see both sides of the argument.

Time to stir the pot, and play devil's advocate:

Do we really need two separate police forces? Separate governments? Zoning boards? Garbage pickup? And yes, even - school districts? Would a broader municipal government and municipal electric be a better choice for residents? Would combining Solvay and Westhill high schools into a larger comprehensive district improve education to all within the town borders?

Wouldn't we save taxes, reduce governmental redunancy, and decrease energy costs for all?

Deeper questions: Would Solvay School District residents share their muni power with the rest of the town in order to meld the district into Westhill? Is this even possible? Would Westhill school district residents welcome their classic rivals into the district in order to raise education levels? Would anyone be willing to cede power to streamline the government, save taxes, and pursue consolidation?

My guess is none of this will take place. But it will at least get people to start thinking outside the box. People in the village need to start thinking seriously about what they would want out of the deal. There must be something worth having the rest of the town included in muni power. You have powerful bargaining chip. Is it worth not taking advantage of it to say, "we have it, you can't and that's just the way it is"? For residents outside of the village, what would we be willing to spend or do to get the muni power? Should we not still provide some incentive to stay within the Solvay borders for residents and potential homeowners?

Now that I have gotten everyone fired up... Start firing away.

New Local Business in Solvay -- Euro Delicatessen

The Euro Delicatessen is located at the corner of Milton and Cogswell at the bottom of the hill. I have seen the Grand Opening sign as I made my commute into work, and had to stop in. My wife and I were greeted at the door by the owner, who was extremely nice and gave us the tour of the place. I am not sure if it is a family business or not (I didn't ask) but all 3 people working were very helpful and happy to have some new customers. They asked me to spread the word and handed me a few flyers to pass out:

(click to enlarge)

This is the best way I know to pass them out to people in the area. This trio of Ukrainians offer a authentic trip to an Eastern European Deli. Smoked meats, fresh bread, shelves filled with imported beverages and juices. We went with the smoked bacon and smoked ham (canadian bacon) as well as pelmini (meat-filled pierogies). My wife also picked up some imported tea. The shelves were stocked full, and offered quite a selection. The "tasting" that is mentioned in the P.S. of the flyer was an interesting "corn nectar drink" which tasted like a delicious honey beverage. The deli was set up for hot items which the owner promised would come soon, and he also mentioned that the upstairs overlooking the rail line would eventually be open with tables to enjoy sandwiches after purchase. The smoked salmon was a quick sell out, and I was sad that I missed it. I will be back in for a few more items soon.

I cooked up the Pelmini tonight and served it with sour cream. Delicious! I highly recommend a trip to the Euro Deli. It is a taste of Europe in our backyard.

Support our new neighbors as they get their business up and running. Can't wait for the hot food.

Leave a comment with your experience at the Euro Deli, and let others in on this place. If your heading over there, print this out, and let them know their neighbors are supporting them.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Support Local Business: Camillus Cutlery SALE

From the Post-Standard:

Well, look at this. There's Camillus Cutlery Co., right in our own backyard. Wouldn't you think they might have a big sale once in a while?

What's my point? Hey, you're pretty sharp.

One word: sale.

And you know if it's Camillus Cutlery, home to the famous Camillus Knives, this sale won't be dull.

Friday and Saturday, indeed, it's the 130-year-old company's inventory-reduction sale, it's first ever, I'm told.

It's noon to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Inventory being reduced includes pocket and hunting knives and novelty items covering about 35 styles of knives. Have your knives at home lost their edge? Bring 'em in to be sharpened for $1 each. That service is free if you buy three items or more.

Cash only - and all sales are final.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Development Opportunity #3

Yes, I know it's not technically in Geddes, but it is the southern gateway to Geddes. This miserable barely standing piece of "architecture":

The "house" and the brownfield that surrounds it needs to be bulldozed over and redeveloped. Why isn't this property valuable land? It is passed daily by thousands of cars, and must be zoned commercial, no? What about a small mixed use plaza with a coffee/internet shop, hair dresser/barber, and small retail? Add a few jobs to the local economy, and a few services that residents wouldn't have to bike, drive or walk very far to get to - sounds good to me!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Manny Falcone to chair committee to look into lowering electricity rates in Westvale

From Syracuse.com Neighbors West Forum: (A thread on municipal power)
Good evening , last night at the Town of geddes board meeting the Town Supervisor appointed a committee to look into the possability of lower electric rates in the Wesvale area. I am Manny Falcone and I will be Chairing the committee, the meetings on this issue will be public informational meetings and the dates and times will be posted in the town hall, and I am also hoping to have them posted on the town website. if you have any questions please feel free to call me at 575-1858 , thank[s,] Manny Falcone.
I encourage all Westvale residents to come out in force to these meetings and help steer the committee towards municipal power for Westvale residents. I know that people from Solvay wear their low-cost power as a badge of honor, but there is no reason that residents from Westvale should not have the opportunity to decide if municipal power is right for them. (Lakeland already enjoys muni power, although not physically in Solvay.)

I will post updates on this issue and committee as it is a topic I hold near and dear to my heart. I hope to speak to Manny Falcone on the record (so-to-speak) and find out what the town is working on.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Baloghblog: Storing summer solar heat for the winter

I had the reverse (converse?) idea of this earlier - capturing the winter cold, in the form of pykrete, to cool buildings in the summer. This planned community is doing the opposite, capturing heat from the sun and storing it for winter.

Via Treehugger, Drake's Landing:

How it Works

  • 52-house subdivision to have space and water heating supplied by solar energy
  • Solar energy captured year round by 800-panel garage mounted array
  • Combination of seasonal and short-term thermal storage (STTS) facilitate collection and storage of solar energy in the summer for use in space heating in winter
  • Borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) is an in-ground heat sink for seasonal energy storage
  • Short-term thermal storage (STTS) tanks are central hub for heat movement between collectors, district loop (DL)/houses, and (BTES)
  • DL moves heat from the STTS to the houses

Location: Okotoks, Alberta. 51.1 deg N, 114 deg W, 1084 m elevation
Weather: Winter -33 C; Summer 28.3 C DB/15.6 C WB

Huunh? Alberta, Canada???

that's a tad north of Central New York even!

Pretty ambitious plan. Here is the link for how they plan to do it. Outside the box thinking to provide heating to residents - that is what CNY will need as the winters stay cold and the cost of gas and oil continues to climb.

(Yes I know that natural gas fell to $9 and change today, but I bet on the first cold snap she'll be right back up there to $12-14)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Took the Christmas Holiday off, now I'm back

(long exposure on the Christmas tree)

Looking forward to 2006 and expanding coverage on geddesblog. Looking forward to getting more exposure and reader input as well. I could spout on for days on end, but it's much more fun and educational with feedback from readers. I would like especially to hear from local business owners big or small, as always my email is geddesblog [at] yahoo [dot] com.

What I am working on for next year:

Interviews with the newly elected councilors to the Geddes Town Board - including what their hopes and visions are for the future of our neighborhood.

More local business reviews and information on what services and products are available to you locally. (Remember to support your neighbors and shop local!)

2006 will provide many tax incentives for switching to renewable sources of energy and hybrid technology for cars on the state and federal level. I will be posting on how you will be able to save money while living a more "green" and sustainable lifestyle.

I will be putting more pressure on the local officials to update the Town of Geddes website, including posting the minutes and agendas of the town board meetings and planning board. This information is public record and should be distributed to the community in a timely manner. The local officials should be encouraging more participation at meetings and letting people know what is up for discussion would do just that. (The last, and only, available meeting agenda is from August 9th, 2005.)

Again any input on what else you would like to see here would be appreciated.