Spring—and summer—are in the air and the Middleburgh Area Business Association is looking ahead to cleanups, 4th Fridays, and who knows, maybe even a Corn Festival.
Rusty Wissert, a Middleburgh native, is MABA president.
His wife Joan is secretary with Lindsey Giagni vice president and Monica Short treasurer.
Together they’re working on ways to grow Middleburgh’s businesses, make the community a destination for visitors and show it off—sometimes to people who’ve lived there all their lives.
First up is an April 24th community cleanup of Baker Avenue.
The event will run from 10am-4pm and everyone’s encouraged to turn out with tools and wheelbarrows and even trucks to help out.
Masks and social distancing are required; email MABAlovesmiddleemail@example.com to sign up.
MABA has even bigger plans for Baker Avenue, where the village owns about six acres after FEMA Hurricane Irene buyout, and they’re waiting for word on a grant that would open up the possibilities there, Ms. Wissert said.
May 28th will kick off MABA’s first 4th Friday, and while there won’t be live music, there will be vendors, the Best House will be open for tours by appointment, and there will be cruise-ins.
“COVID has been tough on local businesses,” Ms. Wissert said, “and as we move forward, we’re hoping this will bring a little bit of normalcy back.”
That’s also the goal of Maker’s Fairs, which will be held one Sunday a month, beginning June 13, like 4th Friday along Middleburgh’s main streets.
Looking to capitalize on the popularity of something the Valley’s known for—sweet corn—MABA is also working on ideas for a Corn Festival to be held over the July 4th weekend as part of the Middleburgh Rotary’s Arts & Crafts Show.
MABA is also collaborating with Rotary on other ideas.
In addition to events, MABA is working on reaching out to and highlighting local businesses, celebrating things like the Everything Shoppe’s move to a larger space, and adding signage to those a little off the beaten path.
“We know more than 3,500 cars go through Middleburgh a day,” Mr. Wissert said. “We need to get those people to stop” and visit things like the Art Park, Butterfly Park, and the Middleburgh-Schoharie Railroad Depot, which is under renovation.
“And there’s the Long Trail, the Eagle Trail…most people don’t know everything we have here and in Schoharie County.”
Another thing Ms. Wissert said she’s working on is canvassing local businesses to see what they need to be more successful.
The Wisserts’ American Heritage Restoration business is creating a small development of restored, historic homes salvaged from around the county and updated to make them energy efficient.
The second home there will be the Wisserts’ and Mr. Wissert, who moved back home five years ago, bringing his wife with him, said the history that those homes represent is another draw that all of the Valley should be making the most of.
“If we start taking the history out of the town, we all lose,” he said. “Middleburgh has good bones and we all need to invest in the places we live.”
Ms. Wissert agreed.
“There are a lot of good ideas here and a lot of people working hard to make them happen,” she said. “If Middleburgh’s businesses are successful, we all win.”