The Seneca Falls Development Corporation (SFDC) released an update on ongoing economic development efforts for Seneca Falls early Friday morning.
The SFDC, formed as an arm of the Seneca Falls Town Council, is committed to economic and community development within the Town of Seneca Falls. Comprised of volunteers and a Director working on a part-time basis, the SFDC works to improve and boost the Town’s visibility, commercial growth, and area appeal through the planning and implementation of relevant programs and projects.
Updated Economic Development Plan
The Town’s current economic development plan is 10 years old and elements are not only out of date, but have minimal relevance in today’s business climate. The SFDC has been working in conjunction with the Town Council, community members, business leaders, and consultants to update each of the plan’s components.
The Findings Report, available here, is now current and provides an overview of the Town’s immediate and surrounding influences, impacts, and status.
The Action Matrix is currently being updated through a series of community workshops, whereby residents and business owners alike can come together and contribute ideas, recommendations, and discussion. Community Workshop dates will resume in September and be posted on the SFDC website.
The Comprehensive Plan is currently undergoing a complete overhaul in order to make it more current, relevant, and actionable. With 10 years passing since the Town’s economic development plan was last updated, a considerable amount of work is required.
Once each component is updated, which is anticipated to be by the close of 2017, Seneca Falls will present an updated and streamlined 2017 Economic Development Plan. Having such a plan in place is critical when it comes to State and Federal funding, grant opportunities, rehabilitation efforts, and project approvals.
Seneca Falls Farmers Market
The SFDC is responsible for the operation of the Seneca Falls Farmers Market, which continues to grow in popularity. Despite farmers markets regionally and nationwide seeing a decline in numbers, the Seneca Falls market is seeing an increase in both vendors and attendance.
The market features locally-grown just-picked produce, fresh baked treats, artisan goods, beef and poultry, local maple syrup products, locally-harvested honey, and more. Children’s programs, Live music, and an on-site BBQ truck help fuel interest. The market is open every Wednesday from 9am – 1:30pm in People’s Park right along the waterfront at 15 Water Street and runs through early October.
To help provide a more viable platform for communication, exposure, and resident/business outreach, the SFDC recently completed its website. SFDC documentation, meeting announcements, business virtual tours, area information, and presentation literature for businesses considering Seneca Falls are all available.
The SFDC will soon be reaching out to area businesses about adding their location to its Virtual Tour component so that we can collectively promote all our area has to offer.
Seneca Falls Presentation Packet
The SFDC also recently completed a new full-color 12-page presentation document as part of its upcoming brand initiative for expanded economic development efforts. Designed to inform, intrigue, and engage prospective employers, employees, commercial developers, and families, the publication is available on the SFDC website at http://senecafallsdevcorp.org/welcome.pdf and will soon become part of a more comprehensive package that includes available commercial real estate, an events calendar, a snapshot of things to do in and around Seneca Falls, and more.
Updated Property Listings
The SFDC has assembled a downloadable document that showcases all available commercial real estate within Seneca Falls…from Fall Street to the outlying areas. By combining listings from multiple sources, business owners can have a more streamlined view into what’s available. Updated on a monthly basis, the Seneca Falls Properties document is available to any business considering relocation, construction, or expansion within Seneca Falls.
Social Media Marketing Program
In an effort to help bolster existing Seneca Falls businesses and strengthen our town from within, the SFDC will soon be unveiling a social media marketing program that will be available exclusively to Seneca Falls businesses at no charge.
This initiative coincides with the SFDC initiative to try and “attract” rather than “pull” businesses to our area. By assisting and strengthening the core businesses that already exist in Seneca Falls, we can better attract others through a position of support and encouragement.
Through a series of walkthrough instructional videos, worksheets, and guides, businesses will learn how to better navigate social media and use the channel to their benefit. From introductory level guidance on building exposure to high-level Facebook advertising and retargeting, the program will showcase something for everyone.
Grant & Funding Pursuits
While highly dependent on having an updated economic development plan, the SFDC is working closely with the Town Council and grant consultants to investigate and apply for grants and funding support relevant to our town’s growth.
From our pursuit of a $10 million DRI grant in 2018 to exploring Brownfield rehabilitation funding to smaller grants that can help foster consistent improvements, no opportunity is left unexplored. The SFDC mentioned that grant pursuit efforts will ramp up considerably once the 2017 Seneca Falls Economic Development Plan is completed at the end of this year.
5Star Medical Expansion
5StarMedical is an emerging leader in medical device manufacturing and is in the process of relocating its headquarters, and ultimately, its manufacturing center, to Seneca Falls. With a spike in employment opportunities expected, their presence will help bring additional cutting-edge technology and industry to the area.
The plan for high-end apartments and beautification on Van Cleef Lake continues to progress and the SFDC is excited to work with Longley-Jones to help facilitate the project. Revitalizing and remodeling the old hospital and municipal building will bring a welcomed change and invite further development.
Asked about the new development projects, Greg Lazzaro, Seneca Falls Town Supervisor, said, “It’s great to see 60 State Street and the site of the former Town Municipal Building back on the tax rolls and undergoing renovations. We enjoy a solid relationship with the SFDC and know this is just the precursor to ongoing economic development in the Seneca Falls area.”
SFDC Facebook Community Portal
In mid-September of 2017, the SFDC will be launching a Facebook community built specifically for the exchange of ideas and updates between businesses, residents, and community leaders. Intended to help inform and facilitate economic development progress, the group will be open to all Seneca Falls residents and business owners.
Commenting on the progress to date, SFDC Director, Greg Zellers, said, “Looking down from a mile high, it may not seem like much has changed, but it’s important to remember that proper economic development starts with a strong foundation. Without it, efforts can collapse from their own weight. Our goal is to establish a stronger core for Seneca Falls as we work to draw others in, and this starts by streamlining processes, lowering the barrier of entry, and supporting our existing businesses.”
Zellers went on to say, “By improving municipal procedures and providing business owners with tangible assistance, we can better set the stage for expansion. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I’m extremely pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish in the nine months I’ve been active here. While mine is a part-time position, the health of Seneca Falls is a full-time concern. We all want to see Seneca Falls healthy again and that starts by strengthening its core.”
Rather than have Seneca Falls remain a footnote in the regional landscape, the goal is to become more visible, more vocal, and more viable. All of which relate to the SFDC’s primary objectives for sustained economic development.
The SFDC welcomes community input, ideas, and suggestions. Residents, business owners, and community leaders alike are invited to contact the SFDC via its website to start a dialogue and interact.
Development is underway throughout Seneca Falls through a variety of new projects and the goal of the SFDC is to build upon this momentum. Through a series of new communication channels, the SFDC will work to keep the Seneca Falls community updated on progress, pursuits, and achievements.
Revitalizing Seneca Falls isn’t just a Town Council effort. It isn’t just an SFDC effort. It’s a community-wide effort. And the SFDC is working hard to help make this a reality for businesses and residents alike.