New mayor sets sights on tourists

NORTHVILLE – Northville’s new mayor is looking to help bring more tourists to the village.

Along with that, John Spaeth – who began serving as mayor last month – said one of his major goals is to help generate more publicity about the village.

“There is stuff here, but people don’t know about it,” he said.

In March, Spaeth, 64, was the first new mayor elected in the village in nearly 20 years.

James K. Groff had served as village mayor since 1994.

However, Groff had to step down to serve as the Northampton supervisor.

Spaeth, who ran for village mayor unopposed, said he was approached by town residents and others to run as the village mayor.

The new mayor served the community for several years as part of various groups – such as the Sacandaga Valley Arts Network – and served for 12 years on the village Board of Trustees.

“I have no ambition to do this, but I have lived in this village for 41 years. I have always been involved in many things,” Spaeth said. “… I have never been one to sit by and just let everybody else do things. I like to stay involved.”

Spaeth said he is confident in taking over the mayor’s office, thanks partially to Groff’s tenure.

“I’m fortunate to follow [Groff]. The village is in great shape,” Spaeth said.

However, Spaeth wants the village to become more of a destination that brings in greater numbers of tourists and, eventually, residents.

To do this, Spaeth said, the village needs two things: a vision of how the community can develop, and a master plan explaining how that development can occur.

“Our master plan was done in 1989,” Spaeth said. “And most of that was turned into our current zoning laws.”

Patrick Barnett, a village trustee, has known Spaeth for more than 40 years.

The trustee said the Gloversville-born Spaeth would be “a good fit” for the community.

“I believe anyone who runs for the boards should not have a specific grudge or axe to grind,” Barnett said.

Spaeth, Barnett said, raised his children in the village for many years, and is known to be easy to work with and intelligent.

“He has an idea for what is best for the community without having an unknown agenda,” Barnett said.