For years, the GRIP (Greece Residential Improvement Program) has assisted homeowners in Greece with providing grant funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. To date, the town has successfully assisted 2,200 homes in providing $6,000,000 in funding support since its inception.
“Today, we turn our efforts toward our small businesses. As a former small business owner myself, I have been imagining how devastating this COVID-19 shutdown would have affected my business and my former employees. As your Greece Town Supervisor, I have seen first-hand the devastation many of our small businesses are experiencing. We have certainly been doing all we can to assist wherever possible” said Supervisor Bill Reilich.
Small business are the backbone to every community. During these difficult and challenging times, they have countless worries that extend beyond the fear of losing their business altogether. They bare a heavy responsibility to their employees and their families and also to the community.
This morning, Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich and the Greece Town Board were thrilled to announce the introduction of the GROW Greece Program.
GROW is an acronym for:
G - Grant Support for Businesses
R - Retain Jobs in Greece
O - Opportunities Provided
W - Working Together to Move Small Business Forward
Supervisor Reilich and the Greece Town Board made the decision to launch a program which will initially be funded with a supplement to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds. This fund will initially have $100,000 immediately available. There is already a plan in motion to increase potential funding for Phase I and further enhancements to the program for Phase 2, which will offer small business loans.
The first stage of GROW Greece will consist of up to $5,000 as a business grant to qualifying businesses. The criteria for applying for the grant are:
- Business must be located in the Town of Greece
- Must be a retail or service business with between 5 to 50 employees
- Be an established business in the Town of Greece for at least one year
- Be able to document economic loss as a direct result of the COVID-19 health crisis
- Be in compliance with applicable codes
- Not have any outstanding taxes
After this initial funding of Phase I, the town will evaluate before making a decision to add additional funding toward this grant program. The long term plan that is being put in place will offer revolving small business loans. After analyzing this program, an announcement will be made with more details for what we will call Phase II.
Initially, the main goal is to put forth an effort to assist small businesses that are struggling, but as we rally past the ill effects of this Pandemic, this program will continue to exist with an overall purpose of assisting small business growth and attracting small businesses eager to set up shop and GROW their business in Greece.
“I have formed a group of management individuals who I am charging with reviewing the applications, verifying the information provided by the business and selecting the recipients. These individuals will be certain the funding is being used wisely and also ensuring it has a positive effect on the community” said Supervisor Reilich. “I am excited to launch this new program, in particular at this point in time as we are starting to celebrate in a small way our phased opening and the path to what I would like to coin as “A better normal”.
This isn’t a race of who can open first or faster or better, it is about who can help rescue what will be left of our small businesses. No one wins as each day passes and each of these business owners comes closer to making the difficult decision to close their doors forever.
What is frustrating to me and to the business owners in my town is that while Greece is the largest town in the “Finger Lakes Region”. We haven’t been included in any discussions whatsoever. So if there is an impression that we are “moving ahead with plans,” then perhaps it is because we have never once received a call from anyone in state government whatsoever about decisions or conditions or even health updates. These regional leaders were put in place, one would assume, to reach out to their regions with updates and information.
I know from a recent email from Empire State Development; that was received after our announcement that they (ESD) have been in discussions with the City of Rochester to model a plan, likely similar to the one we have proposed in Greece. Though we did not get any advance notification or a “heads up” independently we formulated a plan that would safely allow outdoor seating. It was an “outside of the box” idea yes, but based on our current Special Use Permit for outdoor seating and it was an attempt to streamline our process, with no charge and to help those that contribute so much to our economy.
My job is to be the voice of our residents and our businesses. My other main priority is their safety and security. What we are noticing that is already happening in Greece is that people are setting up their own “outdoor” seating. They are pulling chairs from locations into parking lots, they are setting up lawn chairs in larger parking lots, they are bringing their blankets and card tables and taking their “take out” or “pick up” food and eating together. And of importance to note is the same employees that are delivering your food to your back seat or your trunk are the same people that would be safely delivering your food to your clean and socially distanced table. This desire to be together as a community is happening despite anyone’s attempts to control it. My concern, is there are no safety measures; no stanchions, no fencing, no provisions to protect them from traffic whatsoever. We have Special Use permits that are typically submitted by various restaurants, they are typically seasonal in nature; there is a permit fee and a review. What we wanted to do was offer this opportunity to anyone that could safely provide outdoor seating that would be monitored. We would review and inspect their proposal for safety, proper cleaning protocols and social distancing, issue a 90 day permit with no charge for the inspection and allow them to open up outdoor seating. We wanted to improve on impromptu, unprotected gatherings that will occur and are occurring. We have over 150 restaurants; we don’t have enough staff to monitor these establishments to be certain residents aren’t “dining outside” 24 hours a day. This permit never purported to alter any laws or regulations that are in place or those stipulations as required by the State Liquor Authority, they were meant to provide safety and to help our businesses, period, no grander plan, no political motive, just help where it is desperately needed.
I listened to the Governor once again yesterday – we heard good news – all the numbers are good – deaths are down, new cases are down, hospitalizations are down, and then there was the concern for small businesses and blue collar workers and we all waited to hear about the potential for relief but alas it did not come. Instead we heard of everything else but what help was coming to the small business owner; the restaurant owners who have been serving the public who have chosen to stay home.
I have no issues with those that choose to continue to isolate at home, those that are immune compromised and their desire to continue to distance themselves because of their condition. If they indeed are not going out, are practicing social distancing, are wearing their masks, then this would not purport any additional harm to them because this is already going on. Again, this is as much a safety decision as an economic one and I feel the responsibility to try and assist these businesses so that after we walk through these phases there is a chance that some of them make it through to the other side.
What has changed today is that Greece businesses are now receiving threats from the Liquor Authority and through Bob Duffy’s office. No one wanted to get ahead of the Governor, we wanted to lend a helping hand before it’s too late, we wanted to be a common sense partner in keeping these restaurants open.
Yes we have restaurants applying for permits, but indeed, I would never want to cause them harm – these threats are meant to punish businesses and threaten their attempt to try to survive at the same time we are trying to support them.
This morning we also learned that salons have been switched to Phase III, again no notification, no warning, just a line or two moved on the website. That line or two move, that week or so will make a difference. Many are saying they won’t make it another week. We need help and we need it now. The metrics are showing we’ve done our job why another roadblock.
Please note, there will be no additional statements at this time.
Do you have an online registration account for Town of Greece activities?
If you do not – or if your registration is not current – please follow the instructions below to create or update your account.
*You must have a current account to register for the Drive-In Family Movie. Registration for this event opens tomorrow (Friday) at 8:00am*
Wishing there was a drive in movie located a little closer to home? No problem! Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich and the Greece Town Board are pleased to invite Greece residents to join us for our first ever “Drive-In Family Movie Night” premiering at the Greece Town Hall Campus.
Pre-registration is required for the screening of Disney Pixar ONWARD. To ensure social distancing, we will be limiting this event to 85 cars. The price will be $5 per car, which includes a bag of popcorn to enjoy. Please also feel free to bring your own snacks and a lawn chair as well and join your neighbors for an evening of fun under the stars.
“I think we all feel a bit of nostalgia when we think of the old time drive-in movie theaters” said Supervisor Reilich. “We are so happy to be able to bring this outdoor movie experience to our Greece Residents. It’s our first official event of the summer and we have so much more in store. I hope you can join us”!
Registration will begin Friday, May 29th at 8:00 AM. Those interested may register on-line by accessing our Rec-Trac system on the Greece Parks and Recreation website https://greeceparksandrec.greeceny.gov/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/splash.html?InterfaceParameter=WebTrac_1
Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich is pleased to announce an effort to assist local restaurants and eateries by providing the ability for them to apply for a permit to operate with outdoor seating.
This temporary Outdoor Seating Permit will be issued by the Town of Greece Fire Marshal’s office within 24-48 hours after businesses supply supporting documentation. Once businesses have been emailed their permit, they are able to begin the outdoor seating immediately. There will be no fee for this service or the permit itself, but business owners must supply a floorplan or request a free walk through inspection in order to be certain they are in compliance with the following stipulations:
- Proof of adequate amount of social distancing between tables.
- Clear access to the parking lot or sidewalk.
- The ability to denote the area that is being used with stanchions or fencing, etc.
There is no permit fee being collected. Upon approval, the business will be emailed a permit that needs to be placed in the front window (or adjacent to the outdoor seating). Compliance will be monitored.
“As a former small business owner myself, I can relate to the struggles that many small businesses are going through right now due to the extended shut down period” said Supervisor Reilich. “I want to offer our food service industry an option to be able to serve more residents and do so safely. I am hopeful that this ability to generate more seating will help cut some of the devastating losses they have experienced”.
We are now offering patrons of our Greece Public Library 5 checked out items per visit. Our current library open hours are Monday and Friday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Tuesday and Thursdays from Noon until 7:00 PM.
For the past several years, the Town of Greece has been proud to partner with Greece American Legion Post #468 in purchasing flowers to be planted at the gravesites of our local veterans. The photo’s attached capture members of Greece American Legion Post #468 planting flowers at the cemetery at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, Falls Cemetery, and the Greece Legion Post.
“When I was a member of the New York State Assembly, I provided the funding for the monument that sits in tribute at the legion post” said Supervisor Reilich. “It is our honor to recognize our hometown heroes not only on Memorial Day but every day. The Town of Greece is honored to have so many brave men and women who have fought for our freedom and our great Nation. It is our privilege to pay tribute to all Greece residents, and all of our military men and women throughout our country, who so selflessly served our nation”.
For anyone interested in visiting the plots of the freshly planted flowers, please visit Our Mother of Sorrows Church cemetery, located at 5000 Mount Read Boulevard, Falls Cemetery, located at the intersection of West Ridge Road and Latona Road, or the Greece Legion Post, located at 344 Dorsey Road.
As far back as anyone can remember, the Town has partnered with the Post to honor and pay respect for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while wearing the colors of our great nation. However, in light of all that is happening in the world right now, fears of inadequate social distancing and gathering of large crowds coupled with the vast amount of planning that we typically begin several months out, Supervisor Reilich and Commander George Dadson, Jr. made the difficult decision to cancel this year's Memorial Day activities.
Due to the prohibition of large crowd gatherings, Supervisor Reilich and Commander George Dadson, Jr. worked together to host a virtual ceremony to pay homage to our great men and women of service. The ceremony was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Please click here to view the virtual ceremony: https://youtu.be/ovZ_cBWh0oI
Every year, the Town of Greece receives applications from war time veterans who’s names will be engraved on our Gary Beikirch Veteran’s Memorial Wall, located on the East side of Greece Town Hall. This year, we added eight new names to the wall. These individuals served during the Vietnam Era and the Korean Conflict.
Donald Charles Lippens
Richard Anthony D’Imperio
George P. Lewandowski
William G. Spall
Edward F. Ostrowski
Glenn Wesley Allen
Donald N. Gramlich
“As the son of a twice-wounded WWII vet myself, I know the importance of this day and the lifelong impact the loss of these fine men and women takes on a family and an entire community. Thank you all for your understanding of this difficult decision the Commander and I have had to make in canceling this year’s Memorial Day activities. The Commander and I were both proud and honored to use the alternative method of a virtual ceremony to pay tribute to the fine Americans who have selflessly served our great nation” said Supervisor Reilich.
The flags on the Greece Town Hall Campus will be flown at half-staff for the next three days. The lowering of the flags is to observe Memorial Day and commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service. The flags are also being lowered to honor and remember the victims of COVID-19.
We have had a handful of residents inquire why the town made a decision to tear down School #5. This is indeed not accurate. In fact, when the Planning Board became aware of the potential for this building to be demolished, they sent a letter to Greece Central late last year inquiring as to the status of their project and the fate of this historic building.
In addition to our correspondence to the Greece Central School District (GCSD) we are including the link to the "Talk of the Town" which was sent to every household in the Town of Greece in October of 2019 and has been posted on the Town of Greece website since that time (Volume 6, Issue 3): https://greeceny.gov/residents/talk-of-the-town-newsletter
This information is also posted below. We thought at this particular juncture that the residents would like to share in a bit of the history of the first school - Greece District No. 5 School (this information is also posted in the photo's below).
A 1929 fire of the one room Greece District No. 5 School caused significant damage and resulted in the construction of a new, four room brick building across the street that still stands today. Located at 1790 Latta Road, the new District School No. 5 was built in 1930 at a cost of $50,000. It included a gymnasium, auditorium and started with a student body of seventy five pupils. The cornerstone houses a time capsule that includes an April 30, 1930 Democrat & Chronicle, some old coins and a list of ceremonial attendees present at the laying of the cornerstone. By the mid 1950’s, the population boom in Greece required the building of a new, eleven room school on the southwest corner and the District School No. 5 building was used as an administrative building. Currently, it is occupied by the Greece Central Professional Learning Center.
This "page" can be seen below in addition to the letter that was sent on behalf of the Planning Board and the associated response that was received by the Planning Board from GCSD.