Weekly Feature



2018-01-24 / Front Page

Casilio touts town’s development, economic prowess in State of the Town address

by ETHAN POWERS
Editor

Town of Clarence Supervisor Patrick Casillio gives the annual State of the Town address during a luncheon held at Samuel's Grande Manor on Jan. 18.Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos atwww.BeeNews.com Town of Clarence Supervisor Patrick Casillio gives the annual State of the Town address during a luncheon held at Samuel's Grande Manor on Jan. 18.
Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos atwww.BeeNews.com
Clarence Supervisor Patrick Casilio highlighted the town’s financial strength and its ongoing redevelopment of the Main Street corridor during his State of the Town address on Thursday.

Speaking to a packed banquet room at Samuel’s Grande Manor, Casilio touted the town’s economic stability, noting that Clarence is now assessed at approximately $4 billion, increasing from last year by more than $55 million.

“The Town of Clarence has one of the lowest [tax rates], if not the lowest, for a ‘Class A’ town on this side of the state,” he said, adding that the average home price in Clarence is $368,000 and 127 new homes were built in 2017.

“With department heads always coming within budget and solid management from the Town Board, the town maintains its AA1 [bond] rating. This rating allows the town to take advantage of the lowest rates possible when borrowing funds for capital projects.”

The supervisor also described projects at the town park, involving a replacement of its nearly 60-year-old restrooms, new pickleball courts and an additional six acres that will include more parking space.

Also, Sewer District No. 9 recently completed another phase, said Casilio, and there is funding in place for completion of the district along Greiner, Salt and Schurr roads. He said Alexander Drive and Elmcroft Court sewer pipe has been installed, with street repaving and final hookups planned for this spring.

The opening of the new $6.8 million Public Safety Building on the Town Hall campus has given the state police more room to operate, featuring a new command center, rows of desks for detectives, and technology that can instantly process fingerprinting. There are also accommodations for 33 troopers.

Clarence also provides the space for a new sheriff’s office at no cost to the county, and the state police will pay approximately $1 million in rent for each year of its 20-year lease.

“Without the town’s aggressive approach in providing new barracks, those agencies easily could have moved out of the town,” Casilio said. “Between the two police departments, law enforcement presence in Clarence has drastically increased.”

Casilio pointed to a big year for the town’s Highway Department, which resurfaced more than 7 miles of road in 2017. The department’s 33 employees also accepted more than a mile of new road and restored more than two miles of ditches, which included removing more than 40 dams and blockages. The department also rebuilt and replaced 90 drain receivers within the town.

Casilio praised the town’s economic viability and lauded its department heads for being able to maintain a high degree of quality under the state-mandated tax cap, noting that future projects on Main Street will owe their success to the ability of the town’s officials to execute a long-term plan.

The supervisor pointed to completed redevelopment initiatives such as the new headquarters for Clarence Fire District No. 1, the Brickhall in the Hollow and the future location of the new Bar Bill restaurant at the former Old Red Mill Inn site as evidence of the Vision: Main Street plan’s foresight.

The plan — which provides a variety of recommendations related to streetscape, zoning, lane reconfigurations and pedestrian amenities — includes bike lanes throughout the town.

“The catalyst started in the Hollow with the success of the Asa Ransom House, new ownership of the Cornerstone, a major expansion of the Bistro Restaurant, and now four more projects that will help Main Street in Clarence become a destination for the public,” Casilio said, adding that the town will soon seek bids for the Main Street sidewalk project that will connect one end of Clarence to the other.

The town is also looking toward the creation of two “pocket parks” along Main Street, which, according to Clarence junior planner Jonathan Bleuer, will allow for more versatile neighborhoods.

“Basically, it’s a connection point. It’s a public space that can connect a neighborhood to some level of service, which could be a restaurant or a shopping center,” he said. “It creates a flexible space that can be utilized for several different purposes.”

Bleuer said one proposal would place a park between the Clarence Bowling Academy and the Brickhall in the Hollow.

“We want to connect the existing Hollow Farmers Market and head north with the extension of the recreation trail, continuing straight through. What this does, and it’s needed, is create a designated pedestrian crosswalk.”

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