If you are curious about the opportunities for new housing, this update is for you. For the first time in years, we are witnessing construction around the city … and it is heartening to watch buildings rise from the ground or come back to life in a variety of neighborhoods. (Please note that this information is current at the time of blog posting and is subject to change).
100 West Water
Market-Rate mixed-use development downtown with Chemung River views
Rochester-based Park Grove Realty is the developer behind the 100 West Water Apartments, which will feature 51 market-rate apartments on three stories above ground-floor office and retail. This project is downtown Elmira’s first new construction in decades and will open March 2019. The ground floor will be home to engineering and design firm Labella PC and other businesses to be determined. For more information, click here for the 100 West Water website. The building is adjacent to the Promenade on Water Street between Railroad Avenue and Main Street.
The river views from the upper story apartments are spectacular. (courtesy
City of Elmira Code Enforcement on Facebook).
Affordable housing with support services within walking distance of downtown
Vecino Group is the developer transforming the former Jones Court complex into Libertad, which will have 91 affordable rental units (including 20 reserved for homeless veterans) and support services. The project is located adjacent to EOP and Ernie Davis Park, on Baldwin and Dickinson Streets. The target date for completion is April 2019. Potential tenants may contact EOP at www.cseop.org or 607.734.6174.
New and renovated housing units in a walkable neighborhood on South Main Street
As stated on the developer’s website, Chemung Crossing is one of the first of its kind in the area, a $15.1 million mixed-use project on South Main Street across from Aldi and adjacent to Gerould’s Pharmacy and Teall’s Tavern. This project includes six new multi-family homes on Henry and Harmon Streets and the rehabilitation of two historic buildings, totaling 45 affordable housing units and 2,482 SF of commercial space. The housing will be income-based and targeted for individuals and families earning from $13,520-$22,400. Housing Visions is accepting residential applications now (315.472.3820 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and expects to complete the project in March 2019.
Maple Avenue Apartments
New Housing Community to open for seniors in early 2019
CDS is constructing a new senior apartment complex on Maple Avenue in Elmira, with one-bedroom apartments, a fitness complex, laundry rooms, computer stations and other amenities. AIM Independent Living Center is accepting applications for the apartments with availability at the time of this post. The organization will provide ongoing support services for residents in partnership with NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The CDS Facebook page featuring renderings of the units is here.
Other recent and future housing includes several developments by Capriotti Properties, including the Richardson Row Homes and the Foster House, both on West Water Street, and the Historic Werdenberg Apartments on the corner of West Water and Main Street. Capriotti Properties will also be revitalizing the Arnot Carriage House thanks in part to a New York Main Street awarded December 2018.
A “complete street” refers to the inclusive method of improving roads and the infrastructure around them for all users. This means improving access for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and those who utilize public transportation. Complete streets are equitable, allowing adults, children, the elderly and the disabled to use road and sidewalks more safely.
Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Complete Streets Act on August 13, 2011. Since that time, more than 300 New York State municipalities have passed complete streets laws and policies at the county, city, town and village levels. Click here for a list of all municipalities in NYS that have adopted Complete Streets policies.
How is this relevant to Elmiraland, you might ask? The City Council adopted a Complete Streets policy in June 2018, effectively stating the local commitment to a more equitable use of roadways. Going forward, this policy may help the City secure additional funding for the design and construction of safer streets and a network of paths for bicycles and pedestrians. (View the Star Gazette article here).
What makes a street “complete”?
Various methods and investments in infrastructure make up a complete street. These may include:
- Visible and safe sidewalks and paths
- Distinguishable bicycle lanes
- Clear signage
- Well-maintained crosswalks
- Traffic calming methods such as medians or curb bump-outs
- On-street parking
- Bicycle infrastructure
- Bus lanes
These solutions can range in price (from low-cost to high) and implementation (some municipalities could paint bike lanes on their streets in a few days while other strategies such as dedicated cycle tracks or light rail could be years in the making.) The one thing all of these characteristics have in common is that they improve safety for all users.
Why do we need complete streets in Chemung County?
To increase safety.
Bicycling and walking through busy areas can be intimidating, especially since American planners and engineers a generation ago designed most cities and roads to cater to cars. As a result, many cities and neighborhoods are not particularly pedestrian- or bike-friendly. Within Elmira, the city is working on several projects downtown to slow traffic, install bike lanes and upgrade sidewalks; for example, the pending improvement of West Water Street is an example of a complete streets project.
To increase social engagement.
Many stakeholders are working locally to improve our older mixed-use neighborhoods while creating a more vibrant downtown with a variety of housing types and attractive amenities to attract and retain residents. Making the streets more comfortable for all users and providing them with opportunities to interact with one another will help make Elmira a more attractive place to live and visit!
To increase connectivity and equity.
Complete streets are responsible for more than improving travel infrastructure. Complete streets work to enhance connectivity, filling gaps within low-access communities (those that may currently lack sidewalks, bike lanes or transit options). Like all communities, the municipalities within Chemung County can benefit from social, economic and environmental goals that complete streets help to promote. The strategies mentioned above help to foster strong communities and economies.
Complete Streets provide a means for social interaction between residents and business owners who end up sharing public spaces more frequently. The City of Elmira and Chemung County are already promoting some complete streets strategies through implementation of the City of Elmira Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) strategies.
When people feel comfortable walking, biking, and parking in commercial areas, they are able to spend more time contributing into the local economy.
Users of local infrastructure will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (primarily through auto-related pollution) when public transportation, biking, or walking is safe and comfortable.
Upstate NY, “the hotbed for hot wings” as I’ve often called it; where every city has their own local spots that the citizens will say have the best wings out of anywhere. Elmira is no different.
I’ll start off by saying you can’t go wrong with any of these five options when you’re on the hunt to get your wing fix, but if you have lived in Elmira for any extended period of time, I’m willing to bet you know which two will be at the top. It’s an argument as old as time: Elbow Room vs. Bernie Murray’s. Everyone has their personal favorite, the place they need to go if they’ve left town for a while and need to get their favorite Elmira meal to make them feel right at home. I go back and forth between the two and have spent many sleepless nights deciding which one I will publicly claim as number one.
Well, I’ll stop wasting your time with the ranting and start wasting your time with my rankings. Here it goes:
1. Elbow Room
Like I said, this was an extremely difficult decision, but Elbow Room edged out Bernie Murray’s and the others for the top spot. The wings are amazing and what really pushed it over the top for me was the bleu cheese. While it isn’t part of the actual wing, it is part of the overall wing experience and given how close the two were, that is what broke the tie for me. The wings are crispy, delicious, and just all around fantastic, can’t beat ‘em! Preference: Hot with an extra bleu cheese (stingers if I’m feeling crazy)
2. Bernie Murray’s
Another establishment that is vital to the wing culture in Elmira, amazing wings that come out hot and crispy every time. What makes them a little bit different than Elbow Room is the sauce; the taste is pretty similar to Elbow Room but the consistency is a bit thicker which makes them stick to the wings better. Not sure if it’s less butter or how they go about it, but it’s fantastic. Look for them to contend again in 2019. Preference: Medium
This may be considered a sleeper pick – you don’t always hear them in the conversation for the best wings, but I personally love them (the pizza is amazing, too). The char grilled wings are delectable, and are great for when you’re looking for a change up from a normal wing. If you haven’t tried them yet make sure to move them to the top of your list. Preference: Garlic Parmesan
The wings at Pudgie’s remind me a lot of Elmira. To the outside eye maybe not the prettiest, maybe a little messy, but once you get familiar with them they will hold a special place in your heart forever. For Elmira natives, you’ve probably eaten these wings at pretty much every birthday party you’ve been to since the beginning of time. A party pack also makes for a great recovery Sunday meal if you spent your Saturday night at one of the local watering holes, as Elmirans have been known to do. Preference: Medium
5. Green Derby
I’m breaking the traditional mold here, and I may catch some heat for it, but that’s the risk you take when you get into hard hitting journalism pieces like this. Number Five for me is the popcorn chicken at Green Derby. Some might say that they aren’t wings, and this very well could be true, but I couldn’t write this article without including them, so feel free to berate me in the comments. Some prefer the larger boneless wings, but for me the popcorn chicken has been incredible every time, a true can’t-miss meal. Preference: Cattleman’s Gold
That’s my list; it ended up being a bit longer than I originally anticipated but it’s tough not to ramble when you’re discussing something you’re passionate about. I look forward to hearing about what I may have missed, or what your personal favorites are!
Opinions bravely contributed to Elmiraland by Mav Timson.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, that is. A collaboration between eight Chemung County agencies is mid-way through a year full of free and seriously awesome programming for kids at three Elmira community centers.
Frontline, Transformations, and Southside community center kids get to do hands-on and creative activities:
- The first program was Sept. 20th at the Southside Community Center when the Science and Discovery Center, in Elmira, taught the children at the center how to build cardboard and wooden ribs, that when joined together, form a lightweight, but sturdy wing.
- The Chemung County Historical Society focuses on birds and local history, like the story of the last Labrador Duck killed in Elmira; and the heavy use of birds and feathers in ladies’ hats during the Victorian era. Kids get to create their own bird-friendly hats!
- Tanglewood introduce students to live native owl and hawk, and share how birds live, eat, nest, fly and migrate.
- Community Arts of Elmira and the students use birds as inspiration for art and poetry projects to be displayed at a public reception at the end of the program.
- Chemung River Friends teaches the students about the fish hawks that live and nest on the Chemung River, and leads students on a guided hike to a river osprey nest.
- At the Corning Museum of Glass, students go bird watching in the museum’s galleries, identifying birds in glass and exploring how birds inspired glassmakers throughout history.
The program is financed with a $4,682 grant from the Triangle Fund in Corning, and a $500 grant from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes.
Well, the kids are having a blast, learning a ton, getting their creative genius on, and exploring outside. Tanglewood educator Laine Sempler has been impressed with the children participating in the program: “The way I teach a lot of times – I ask questions, and they teach me, so I get to know what knowledge the kids already have and where we can keep investigating. At Transformations, the older kids were really engaging the younger kids and encouraging them to ask questions and fill in the gaps. The older kids were great models in science! All of the children really enjoyed meeting Sophie the Great-Horned Owl as well – their eyes were almost as big as hers!”
At the end of the year, the children will have a gallery opening to show community members what they have created and learned over the course of STEAM Ahead Chemung.
Did you know that Chemung County has a FREE water park?
It’s called the Chemung River. It winds through our backyards and offers thrills, adventures and discoveries — on and in the water and along its banks and trails.
You can paddle, fish, wade and cool off in the river current. You can hike, bike, cross-country ski, watch birds and click spectacular nature photographs on the trails, levees and grassy banks. The river’s 10 public boat launches make it easy to access and enjoy paddle trips for a few hours to a few days.
We sometimes forget or don’t appreciate nature’s flowing water park. Too bad, because it’s a convenient and accessible destination for fresh-air recreation, education and a reconnection with nature and the river valley’s serene beauty.
That valley is a magical place where water, air and soil come together in a trinity of habitats brimming with plants, animals, fish and awe-inspiring wonder. You never know what you will see or experience, but you will always come away with good memories and river tales.
Our water park is a convenient place for outdoor exercise and for hands-on-and- feet-wet education about our environment, our place in it and our responsibility to protect and respect it.
The water park is open year-round, but the busy season begins this month when thousands of local folks, families, tourists and sportsmen and sportswomen take to the water and trails to enjoy some of Chemung County’s greatest natural resources – water, trails and outdoor recreation.
Our region is water wealthy. We are rich in rivers – Chemung, Tioga, Conhocton, Cowanesque, Canisteo and Susquehanna — and blessed with the Finger Lakes. Unfortunately too few people enjoy these blessings.
I invite you to do so. Hike the Chemung River trails in West Elmira or the grassy winding levee on the city’s Southside. Paddle a canoe, kayak or paddle board on the water. Ride a bike or walk your dog on the hard-paced dirt trails or the flat and grassy river plains.
Drop a hook, line and worm in the water and maybe catch a walleye, bass, pike or pan fish. While you wait, look for soaring bald eagles doing their own fishing, turtles sunning on a log or great blue herons standing stilt-still in the riffles.
Need a rest? Sit in the grass with your feet in the water and simply watch and listen to the river flow. Feel the breeze caressing your cheeks, the sun warming your shoulders and the cool water massaging your toes. There is no prescription medication that’s relieves stress and wash away the day’s annoyances, than river sitting. And there is no co-payment.
All it takes is your decision to give it a try. Visit our river, enjoy it and discover what it can do for you, your family and our community.
It’s free, accessible, open 24/7, no waiting in long lines, you never know what you are going to experience and you will learn much about the outdoors and yourself.
This has been a guest post by:
Executive Director, Chemung River Friends
On a snowy, wintry night, sometimes you give into inertia and pile three to twelve blankets on yourself and extend a chilly digit or two out from underneath your heat nest only to affirm with a click “Yes, Netflix, I am still alive, if not necessarily well, and I do indeed want to watch another nine solid hours of this series.” (Just… just me?)
But sometimes I’m brave enough to stomp out into the snow. Recently, I walked over to the Finger Lakes House, a very short walk from the historic West Side and from downtown.
“Sometimes” is going to become “very often” if the restaurant keeps up with their fascinating revolving tap options, deep B-side cuts from the region’s breweries, and straight-up delicious food.
Anyway, my ear muffs and I are glad we went out.
There were too many obscure, interesting, mysterious options to limit myself to a pint. So my husband and I went for two flights – me and my dark porters/stouts/interesting reds, and he with his might-as-well-be-bludgeoned-by-a-pine-tree hoppy IPAs. There was a striking diversity of breweries represented on the menu, some I’d not heard of before, and a ton of beers that I know I’ve never seen at Wegmans. Finger Lakes Whiteout Wassail was my favorite of my flight – beautiful rich walnut color and a little burnt spice scent on top of a mellow brown ale.
Rotating taps and the enthusiastic curation of the region’s beer renaissance means I will be coming back often to see what’s new.
POTACHOSSSSSSSSSSS. (Kettle chip nachos + three cheeses!) Their take on beer cheese dip with carrots, apples, and soft pretzels was so rich that we cleaned the bowl in minutes.
On a less dairy-indulgent note, we also ordered the sweet potato flatbread with a drizzle of balsamic and it was an amazing savory addition. The food is sized to share several small plates – if they have that flatbread again, we’re each ordering our own next time, and we’ll share one of the cheesy options.
Will demand another investigative journalism trip to the Finger Lakes House. Will be walking over there again in the snow soon!
The house itself is a gorgeous remodeled 1870s row house, just cozy and charming from the pretty tin ceiling down to the long wood table with a custom inset of local river rocks. The level of care in the dining room echoes the owner’s devotion to the local beer and wine. A sweet respite from the snow and sure to be a sunny space as the days get longer in spring and summer.
It’s an easy five-minute walk from the First Arena to the restaurant. On-street parking is limited; there is a small parking area for customers immediately adjacent.