LETTERS

Dana Lyon School Complex Ideas

Staff reports

I would like to offer my ideas for the Dana Lyon school complex for consideration by the parties involved.

In addition to the fine arts, please include agriculture in the equation, since public schools no longer offer agriculture education.  The Dana Lyon school is an ideal facility for classes ranging from agricultural engineering to basic backyard gardening.  We have two excellent colleges nearby, Cornell and Alfred, as potential partners, along with 4H clubs and Cooperative Extension.  With the Steuben County Fairgrounds right next door, we have a place for livestock and horsemanship demonstrations and lessons. I see the development of that long sought-after tourist attraction, something unique to Bath.

Recently over 2500 people attended Farm City Day in Pulteney. During October I worked Saturdays  at the Windmill selling locally grown grapes, where I watched a steady stream of hundreds and hundreds of shoppers and browsers.  These events are clear evidence of the drawing power of agriculture. (By the way, it is estimated that for every one dollar a farmer spends, ten dollars of revenue are generated in the economy.)

Beyond agricultural opportunity, I foresee classes in the  manual trades like electrical skills, plumbing, locksmithing and the likes. Also traditional hand-crafting like spinning , weaving, embroidery.  Blacksmithing,  woodworking, culinary school, rehearsal space for Keuka Lake Players, you name it.  We already have the experienced tradespeople in our midst to teach us.  We just need a place to gather together.

The Dana Lyon schools were built in times when human workmanship and good quality materials were valued.  They are rock-solid. The question is not whether the buildings should stay or go,  nor is the question about  property tax revenues, because we all know that the more you feed the government its taxes, the hungrier the monster becomes. 

The real question is whether the parties involved can see that there are no financial riches to be grabbed on this corner, only the riches that a cultural / educational complex can bring to a rural community of talented and deserving people. Not all riches are found in  the bank, after all.  

Patty Rice

Bath