ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The River District Business & Neighborhood Association held its first meeting of the year at WMC North Bar & Jazz Club on Wednesday. The group, made up of business owners in downtown Elmira, met to discuss issues including safety, parking, infrastructure and economic development. It was the group’s fourth meeting so far after being formed last year. Wednesday, business owners got a chance to voice their concerns directly to Mayor Dan Mandell and City Manager Michael Collins, who attended for the first time after receiving an invitation.

“This meeting initially was just meant to be more for business owners and our downtown development to talk through the creation of an official subcommittee” said Andrew Roosa-Decicco, co-owner of Copy Express. “However, once the traction started to pick up, I put out some letters and emails, people told people, people told people, and then it was recommended that I invite Mr. Collins and Mr. Mandel as well, and they did join.”

“What were some of the top issues that were brought to the attention of Mr. Collins Mr. Mandel here?” asked 18 news reporter Nicolas Dubina.

“Issues with parking and safety, that we’ve lost spaces downtown, that we are now having new meters put in that are card only. There’s been a lot of displeasure over how the city has kind of been choked downtown by a lot of the new developments and everything” said Roosa-Decicco.

“There is a recommendation that this group that met today, maybe become a subcommittee of Elmira Downtown Development, and certainly that would be up to the Downtown Development Director to consider, as well as the board of directors that she would report to” said Elmira City Manager Michael Collins. Kylene Kiah, the new director of Elmira Downtown Development also attended the meeting, as well as 1st District Councilman Nick Grasso and 2nd District Councilman Corey Cooke.

“A think tank of local creatives and local business owners is not just a good idea. I think it’s a necessity” said Dustin Griffith, Owner of Finger Lakes House on West Water Street. “There’s so much potential here, especially with the local creative scene. It’s good, it’s starting to seem that a lot of others are seeing this potential. Not only recognizing it but they’re putting some energy into it. That has to happen and it’s exciting, man. It’s really exciting to see that happen, so I’m happy to be a part of it,” said Griffith.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 5th. To find out more, you can reach out to the co-owners of Copy Express, who also help organize the River District Business & Neighborhood Association. You can email them here: orders@copyexpressny.com