By Kaitlin Carney
MONTICELLO Broadway in Monticello was a hubbub of activity during the Craft and Farm Fest on August 21 as the village celebrated the opening of the “new” main drag.
The day started with a parade at noon, followed by a festival full of crafts, baked goods, a variety of foods, games and inflatables for kids, and an antique car show.
In a nod to the diverse population of Monticello, visitors could try everything from fresh melon, Jamaican or Latin American food, fresh fish fry, zeppoles, and much more.
At 1 p.m. dignitaries assembled to cut a ribbon stretched the width of a refurbished Broadway, symbolically opening the main artery for businesses and pedestrians alike, and rekindling hopes of making Broadway a safe and attractive destination for both shops and shoppers.
Mayor Gordon Jenkins remarked that although the road project did help to revitalize the physical structure of the area, “we could’ve paved these roads with gold, but without the people and their care, nothing would’ve been successful.” He spoke with pride of being able to be there to cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark “the new beginning for Monticello, and the new Broadway,” and realized the day to be a culmination of more than a decade of dreams.
Senator John Bonacic spoke of the $20 million invested in the project, and thanked Broadway business owners for their patience during “three years of inconvenience” as the work was completed. He too was happy to be part of the new beginning, and thanked everyone for working together.
Legislator Leni Binder remembered the heyday of Broadway and urged the area to move forward with that success in mind. She also told the crowd that ‘’Monticello is the county seat, and the legislature is proud to have its home here.”
Town of Thompson Councilman and Sullivan Renaissance representative Richard Sush spoke of the opportunity of the many projects Renaissance has supported and encouraged during the road project.
“Sullivan Renaissance has been involved, primarily behind the scenes in developing projects to encourage groups to beautify their home area of Monticello,” said Sush. “We’ve received grant money through Maurice Hinchey’s office to purchase decorative streetlights that will soon be installed. We’ve seen an area reinvent itself and its very gratifying…”
Village Manager John LiGreci, who served as emcee, outlined some of the recent activity in the village’s revival, from applications for grant monies to provide a 75/25 percent match for new business to the $400,000 project at Dillon Park where locker rooms, a picnic area, barbecue pit, basketball court, and skateboarding area were added without a hit to the budget.
It was a celebration of a new Monticello, and a promise by all involved to look forward with hope and to work in collaboration.
LiGreci thanked the many participants who worked cooperatively to bring the day to fruition: the village government and trustees, the Monticello Business Association, The Spencer Daniels Group, Sullivan Renaissance, Bill Sipos from Mr. Willy’s, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, Monticello Parks and Recreation, the YMCA, Dr. Mark Hudes, Jeff Siegel, the Monticello Police Department and Chief Doug Solomon