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Batavia hopes to re-energize volunteers

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

BATAVIA — Mayor Jeff Schielke has issued an open invitation to citizens interested in the revival of the Batavia ACCESS Committee.

The Action Committee on Community Environment and Social Services (ACCESS) was an initiative started 25 years ago by the late Ted Schuster, who saw that Batavia could tap into the resources of interested and talented residents for community service projects.

“I have received a number of calls and comments from residents of Batavia who tell me they don’t want to run for office but would like to be involved in the community,” Schielke said.

Batavia has several citizen volunteer committees that are high profile and working positively for the well-being of the community. But they need tweaking, help and an infusion of new volunteers, the mayor said.

Schielke noted the ACCESS Christmas Toy Drive lost its co-organizer in July.

“We all know we had a major hit on the leadership of the toy drive with the death of Mildred Bailey,” Schielke said.

Bailey, who died in July, was a leader in the toy collection for the city’s needy families, and also a leader of Batavia’s Interfaith Food Pantry and Clothes Closet.

Schielke said another area of need is the city’s windmill collection.

“We have a tremendous growing historical collection of windmills, but we really don’t have anybody to maintain them,” Schielke said, adding the logistics of the work can be done through the organization of the ACCESS committee.

The mayor said other opportunities for volunteerism are the fireworks committee and ongoing maintenance of the Batavia Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk, he said “has places in need of repair and (foliage) cut back. There are places I am told we have a Riverwalk where you cannot see the river.”

Schielke said he would like to call a meeting this fall for residents interested in serving on the existing projects or who might have ideas for new ones.

“All we try to do with ACCESS is good public policy projects that truly support the Batavia community,” Schielke said.

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