ROTTERDAM: Firm plans Exit strategy

Residents were given a large-scale aerial map of the study area and asked to place orange dots on places where they would like to see change.

Every map had orange dots along the Hamburg Street corridor and every one of the nearly 40 residents said they would like to see change to the Grand Union property.

Joe Malatesta lives in a development off Hamburg Street. He said he is tired of seeing an ugly vacant lot every time he leaves his house. He likes to think eventually something better will be developed on the site where a bowling alley used to stand.

"If you don't dream about it, you'll have nothing," he said.

Joanne Schrom said she has lived in the western part of town her entire life. She attended the public visioning seminar because she wants to see some change in her hometown.

"I've lived in Rotterdam forever, and I'd like to see a change," she said.

In addition to the sewer issue, many people have said the main problem with the area seems to be in its current design.

"The community needs an identity, a core," Law said at the merchants meeting.

According to Hale, good design has smooth transitions from residential to commercial. He pointed to Union Street as a good example, where homes have been converted to offices before entering a commercial area.

Sidewalks are almost non-existent in the Exit 25 corridor, so walking and bike riding are difficult.

"You have an area where parents are always driving their children everywhere," Law said. "We could create a place were that is unnecessary."

Hale said landscaping could do wonders for the area.

"You have a lot of area where paving is unnecessary. By tearing out the pavement and creating green spaces, you can do a lot with little effort." Hale said.

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