Another area showing its age is Main Street, where the sidewalks are deteriorating rapidly and tree roots have heaved the sidewalks to the point that the Village crew has had to grind them down repeatedly to minimize tripping hazards. Also, some trees have died and others have outlasted their life expectancy. The village has managed to obtain two grants to cover the major portion of the cost of upgrading the Main Street sidewalks, replacing the trees, and restoring the street lamps and converting them to cost-saving LED bulbs. The first construction phase of that project will start as soon as the weather breaks. Several people have questioned the timing of the project and the need to remove the trees. No time is perfect for going through the disruption of a project like this or seeing old trees come down. This year we expect a large crowd for the Hall of Fame induction. However, a few years from now we will probably see a much larger influx of visitors for some really huge inductions. We have ensured that our contract requires the Main Street work to stop during the peak summer tourist season. Our target is to get all sidewalk work completed on the north side of Main Street prior to Memorial Day, with any uncompleted area cleaned up and accessible during the summer. The new trees will be planted as soon as the landscape subcontractor determines that they will have the best chance of survival, even if that means planting during the tourist season. The sidewalk work will start up again in the fall.
A number of less visible aspects are involved in keeping the Village going. For instance, last year we redesigned the employee appraisal system to help make clear to employees that part of their job responsibility is to help hold down Village expenses. While a direct link between such initiatives and subsequent benefits might be difficult to prove, we have seen a reduction in the amount of salt used, and the village crew has plugged up interior vents in the Village Hall to reduce the amount of heat escaping.