About those lights

Photo courtesy of Jason Walter

We love sports here in Glens Falls. The recent defeat of the lighting proposal for the Glens Falls High School football field is no reflection on our love for our sports teams or our High School. Here in Glens Falls, we also love common sense.

Just across the city, we have a publicly owned sports field complete with bleachers, ample parking and … yes … lights. True, the lights are old. But, they are paid for and they are in working order. Common sense tells us that our city could offer the use of East Field to the school district.

Background for the lighting proposal is here on the Glens Falls School District website. In the presentation slides, there are several pretty photos of new lighting towers from a lighting manufacturer. Notably absent is any analysis of alternatives. The only statement that resembles analysis is a quote published in the April 6, 2017 Chronicle:

Mr. Jenkins responds that traveling to off-campus facilities for games and practices “often creates significant expenses for athletic departments, can create additional expense and inconvenience parents/fans, often limits revenue gained from ticket/concession sales, typically creates scheduling difficulties,” and he notes the district would have to pay to rent East Field.

Note that there are no dollar estimates of the “significant expenses” in any readily available publications on the topic. The voters were given a choice to spend up to $691,200 or nothing. On May 16, they chose wisely.

In the Cirino administration, the City will be open to a conversation with the school district on sharing facilities, and additional conversations on other ways to work together to deliver superior services at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

In the meanwhile, we can see GreenJackets football at East Field. The first game of the season will be on July 8 against the Watertown Red & Black.

How a Cirino administration in Glens Falls will work.

glens-falls-collaborative-logoSome of you may know about the Glens Falls Collaborative.

The Glens Falls Collaborative is a civic organization and I have served it from various roles since its founding in 2012. I have been its President since the spring of 2016. The Collaborative is not a political organization. Its work is civic, and its mission is to promote Glens Falls as a desirable place to visit, to work and to live. Here are a few facts about the Collaborative:

  • The Glens Falls Collaborative has done some great things in the past year. Its 2016 Membership encompassed 114 organizations, a record number. In 2012, the Collaborative consisted of a handful of retailers and restaurants. Today’s Collaborative Membership also encompasses artists and art institutions, financial, technical, media, real estate and legal professionals, lodging, human services and wellness providers, civic groups, churches, a town, a city and a political party. As an organization, it is larger, more diverse – and consequently – more capable than ever before.
  • The Collaborative produced events in Glens Falls on 23 different days in 2016. Wing Fest, Pet Fest, Art in the Park (7 days), Take a Bite (8 days), Grandma’s Table, Fit Fest, Take a Bite at the Movies, Boo 2 You, Hometown Holidays and New Year’s Dance Party. This was a record number of days when we delivered on our objective to “Put feet on the street” in Glens Falls.
  • The Collaborative distributed 15,000 visitors’ maps from Sloatsburg (I-87, near NYC) north to Saratoga, Exit 18 and Lake George. That’s up from 4,000 just two years ago. New for 2016, our map included 57 different Members’ events.
  • In 2016, the Collaborative’s Downtown Glens Falls Facebook site grew past 5,000 likes, and promoted Glens Falls with over 60 posts per month.
  • The Collaborative’s role in Glens Falls is vitally important. For measurable evidence, see questions 6, 8 and 10 in the recent Glens Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative survey results.
  • The cost of Membership has stayed level at $240, and has never been such a good value for promoting our community and our Members’ organizations.

Leadership - Energy - SkillThe Collaborative demonstrates how the Cirino administration will work for Glens Falls.

  • I will work with a wide circle of people and organizations, and engage them to work together on projects for everyone’ benefit.
  • I love Glens Falls, and want more people to visit, work and live here.
  • I will be Glens Falls’s #1 promoter. We deserve a Mayor who is active with Citizens, visitors, businesses and other government organizations and is always promoting Glens Falls.
  • I will be actively communicating the City’s business to you. Does the current administration have a busy social media platform? Is it easy to navigate the City’s website to find what you need? Do you know only from the newspaper, what the City is doing? My administration will be open and transparent in operations and in planning.
  • I understand the value of a dollar. You work hard to earn your income, and then pay over a chunk as property tax. I will treat your tax dollars with respect, and use them wisely. I will deliver good value, and representation, in return for the taxes you must pay.
  • I don’t do all this on my own. The Collaborative has an active Board, involved Members and volunteers. Together, we do great things. As Mayor, I will work collaboratively with our City’s employees, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and neighboring jurisdictions to accomplish greater things for you.
  • I’m running for Mayor because I plan to be more effective for the entire City. The core of the Collaborative’s Membership is in Downtown, and I have been effective there. Glens Falls is more than its Downtown, and I’ll bring my energy, skill and leadership to the entire City.

Why I’m Running For Mayor

UnCorked New Year's Eve 2008
UnCorked New Year’s Eve 2008

Glens Falls is home. Margot and I moved our wine store to the Wood Theater storefront in 2005, and then we moved ourselves here in 2007. From day one, our Downtown neighbors welcomed us, and soon our store was a hub of community activity. Many of you will remember it as a “must visit” stop on the Third Thursday Art Walks, or as the store with the public piano, or as the store with a binder full of restaurant menus at the checkout counter, or as the store where we would find the wine you wanted, no matter how obscure. UnCorked Glens Falls was a bright, cheerful and lively pool of light on Glen Street.

We also saw our neighbors struggle. Beloved stores and restaurants opened and closed around us. You may remember “Dog Ate My Homework”, “Red Fox Books”, “The Chocolate Mill”, “Sterling and Co.” and “Rare Earth Wine Bar”.

In the wake of Dog Ate My Homework’s closing, seven of us formed the Glens Falls Collaborative. Our mission was to cross-promote our businesses, and make sure that every visitor knew there was plenty to do and enjoy here in Glens Falls. Collaborative membership consisted of about a dozen businesses in its first year.

We closed UnCorked Glens Falls in October 2013, but we continued our involvement here in Glens Falls. The Collaborative has grown to over 130 members, and in 2016 it organized public events on 23 different days. It has attracted many tens of thousands of visitors to Downtown. Today, I am President of the Collaborative and Margot is a very active volunteer. We don’t do this for the money, and we haven’t had our own business to promote since 2013. We do this because Glens Falls is home.

But, why run for Mayor? For the past 24 years, I have developed significant, government leadership experience. Since 1993, I have worked full-time, deep within NYS government, in analysis and in program management. For sixteen of those years, I managed several lines of business, with thousands of Customers, combined revenue of $61 million per year and a crew of 18 to 25 employees.

I know government, and how to do it right. I have energy. I have skill. I love my home and I am ready to bring it all to the Mayor’s Office of the City of Glens Falls.

Rich Cirino