Work with county dept.

There are still a few empty storefronts in Gloversville’s downtown, but since the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market and Schine Memorial Hall LLC, a group of stakeholders caring for the Schine Building, took interest in downtown, Main Street has improved. A number of new businesses have opened along the street since the co-op’s grand opening in 2011.

The success has little to do with elected officials. It’s mostly due to the businessmen and women who want to improve downtown.

That doesn’t mean government can’t help to keep this success growing. It’s our elected officials’ responsibility to try to figure out ways to revitalize downtown.

We believe if elected officials, who change offices frequently, had a legitimate revitalization plan to hand down to successors, and someone ensures it’s followed, the future of our downtowns would be in good hands.

That’s why we want to encourage Gloversville and Johnstown to work with the Fulton County Planning Department on securing funding to hire a consultant and develop a revitalization plan.

Last week, the Gloversville Planning Board recommended the Gloversville Common Council allow the county Planning Department to seek state funding for the plan.

We support the Planning Board’s decision because Gloversville doesn’t have a Planning Department and city resources already are scarce. City elected officials have many other tasks at hand, so putting this one in the hands of experienced county professionals is a great idea. The local share of the cost would be 10 percent, but officials say that could be offset through in-kind services provided by the county department. County Planning Department Director Jim Mraz said a team consisting of downtown businesses, property owners, downtown residents, and local government and business groups would help the consultant come up with a plan that fits the vision of each downtown.

Municipalities should work together on this effort. Success in one city can overflow to the next. We praise the county Planning Department for staying on top of this issue.