By Nathan Mayberg
LIBERTY December 9, 2003 A group of Cornell University students and faculty presented some of their findings from a recent survey and held a steering committee meeting at the Presbyterian Church in Liberty on Thursday.
The team was hired by the village to assist with new ideas to improve Liberty. A survey distributed to village residents was part of that effort.
Jennie Heinlein, an undergraduate student majoring in developmental sociology, gave a video presentation after meeting with local youth. Some of the needs and concerns of local youth, she explained, included the lack of indoor and outdoor facilities and activities, tension with the police, and a lack of entertainment in the town.
Heinlein also said that local youth felt like they had a "lack of voice in civic affairs." Jobs they would like to see include amusement park work, computers, or anything "interesting."
Mike Powell, a graduate student at Cornell in the Department of City and Regional Planning, said that as part of the African-American outreach, citizens voiced concerns over the indifference of local leadership to minority anger and frustration over police harassment of youth on Main Street.
Powell also released the Cornell groups physical conditions survey that found 70 percent of the buildings in the village are in good to excellent shape. Most of the structures in poor shape tended to be in the most visible areas, he said.
The group also concluded that many in the public wanted to see better code enforcement in the village and a local developmental corporation be established.
Steering committees consisting of Liberty residents came up with ideas that included building a community or youth center, which could also be used as a computer learning center. The common problem the groups found with this idea is a lack of money to fund it.
A skate park was also suggested, but the committee thought that a "city center" was more important.
The Cornell group will next meet with Liberty residents in January, where they will form action teams, said David Driskell, Project Manager for the Liberty Economic Action Project.