The Keuka Arts Festival won’t be held until June, but plans are already underway for the annual event, and some of the organizers met with Penn Yan village officials last week to talk about improvements and changes they’d like to see.

Festival Chairman Chris Vaughan told members of the Penn Yan Village Board the festival would like to contribute $2,000 to help cover the cost of  improving water drainage near the boat launch, to provide better parking and access to the festival site.

Vaughan also said the committee would like to help the village with cleaning up an area between the Liberty Street and Main Street bridges. Vaughan says the festival committee would like to expand the rows of arts and crafts vendors further east along the Keuka Outlet Trail, and eventually reach all the way to Main Street. But the area just east of the small playground near Lake Street has stumps and overgrowth that needs to be cleared to make way for the eventual location of vendor booths.

Susan Harris, director of the Yates County Arts Center, offered her experience in grant writing to help incorporate culture and arts in community development. She said one of the issues she’s concerned about is accessibility from the Keuka Outlet to Main Street for people with disabilities or limited mobility. She suggested a serpentine pathway from the trail to the area near the Lake Street end of the Main Street bridge would be possible. That suggestion brought a smile to the face of Director of Public Works Dick Osgood, who explained such plans are included in a parks grant application.

Trustee Wayne Davidson, who represents the village on the Waterfront Development Committee as Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, invited Harris to participate in committee meetings.

Vaughan also asked the village board if the winery booths at the festival could be located inside the tennis court to provide a way to control access to the winery concessions.

Because there is only one entrance to the tennis court, the crowd size would be limited, so the board authorized Recreation Director Dan Doyle to get an estimate for the cost of adding another gate to the tennis court security fence.

Other business at the Jan. 18 village board meeting included:
• LAND: The board declared two village-owned properties as surplus real property. One lot is located northeast of McKinley Avenue. The other is about 160 feet of frontage located on the north side of Lake Street between Main and Liberty Street. Both properties will be appraised so a sale price can be set. Mayor Robert Church says there may be interested potential buyers for the properties.

• DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS: Village Board members and representatives from the Municipal Utilities Board thanked Osgood for his service to the village. Osgood will retire from the village in February, but his last day of work was Jan. 24. Trustee Mike Christensen said, “All his work and efforts came from the heart, and I can’t thank him enough.”

Church said, “Thanks for all the advice and help you’ve given me. You’ve been a tremendous help to me in every respect.”

Dan Banach, a MUB member said, “He’s responsible for getting things done and getting it done right, and making us far and above other villages.”

“He’s also given us a list of things to do,” quipped MUB chairman Rom French.

• WATER AND SEWER BILLING: The board unanimously approved a resolution for a proposed local law amending the village code to change the method of billing for water and sewer use. Church explained this is the first step in converting to a billing method based on equivalent units rather than solely on water use in gallons.

• FLOOD PLAIN: Church reported on efforts to help some village residents with high flood insurance premiums.

• WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT: Davidson reported on developments in establishing zoning for the Waterfront Development and Conservation District along the Keuka Outlet.

• HOUSE FIRE: Church said Fire Chief Rick Retorick is working on a way to recognize the civilians who helped rescue people from a Lake Street housefire late last year. One was a fireman from Livonia the other was a man from air traffic control in Rochester. Church says he was just passing through Penn Yan and noticed the fire. Before fire fighters arrived on the scene he directed victims to safe locations on the roof of the house.

• FIREHOUSE AVENUE: Following a public hearing during which there were no comments, the board approved a resolution establishing a 5 mph speed limit on Firehouse Avenue.

• EXECUTIVE SESSION: The board conducted an executive session for 30 minutes to discuss the work history of an employee, and another executive session at the conclusion of the routine agenda to discuss a grievance.