Finger Lakes communities working to boost their economy

Posted at: 08/15/2013 6:03 AM
By: Pat Taney

Pat Taney – the newest addition to the News10NBC Today team – took us to his hometown of Geneva. It along with other communities in the Finger Lakes are working hard to boost the economy and they are banking on tourism.

“There’s a lot of activity and a lot of belief in the future of this city,” says John Hicks with the Geneva Business Improvement District.

Take Bobby Stivers for an example. Years ago he began investing in Geneva and its lakefront. “We've got new buildings that are going up, we've got old buildings being renovated.” He tells News10NBC there are people coming to Geneva to support this.

Geneva and surrounding communities like Waterloo in neighboring Seneca County are finding ways to tap into what's going on out on the lakes.

Jeff Shipley, Executive Director of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce said, “The Finger Lakes region -- second largest tourism region in New York State. They're coming in the thousands, so how do we capture that and how do we bring people to downtown?"

Shipley says one way to do it is to work together. “All of the communities in the Finger Lakes get together on a regular basis and talk strategy and we've been doing that for some time. It's great to see more people are embracing that and more industries are embracing that."

And it appears to be working. Geneva has added nearly 30 new stores downtown in the last four years.

Developers like Stivers have opened high-end apartments -- some one bedrooms renting for as much as $1,300 per month. He has also opened up a unique downtown winery now luring lakefront tourists in. Coming soon -- a 30-room boutique hotel in a mostly vacant downtown building.

Still a gamble, some might argue but not Stivers. “I see Geneva as a booming success story. The more activities we put out there together, the more people that will want to come to the area. Therefore all of our little towns will be able to be successful."