The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

June 19, 2013

MBA looks to expand horizons

Medina Journal-Register — Medina’s burgeoning downtown renaissance has excited many, and on Tuesday the Medina Business Association was presented two different ways to market the area.

The first way, described by community organization consultant Ted Pietrzak, involved using Bent’s Opera House as a hub in the development of a “destination tourism plan.”

Pietrzak, who was invited to give his presentation by the Orleans Renaissance Group, said Bent’s and the rest of downtown could be part of the Sandstone Trail Tourism Initiative.

The idea behind such a thing is to “knit together businesses” all along the Erie Canal, many of which prominently feature sandstone. The trail would stretch from Medina to Holley and create a nice corridor of travel with Albion in the center.

Destinations on the trail would include, but not be limited to, agricultural stops, restaurants, wineries, and others, Pietrzak said. Such a trail would draw visitors from Lockport, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls to the west and Rochester and other points east. 

“Things have changed dramatically in terms of the way we deliver what we want,” Pietrzak explained. Today’s tourist, he said, is looking for “experience tourism” and places in and around Medina can offer that.

As Bent’s Opera House is only in its beginning restoration stages, Pietrzak said he was not prepared to ask the MBA for any monetary support yet. “I want to propose a plan that makes sense for downtown and Bent’s and the ORG,” he said. “Just saving and restoring the opera house won’t sustain it unless we have a plan.”

He did note, though, that once finished, Bent’s should be looked at as a possible showcase on the Sandstone Trail.

“Bent’s could be the beginning of the experience as a building that symbolizes the Sandstone Trail,” he said.

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