By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND — A local man is taking leadership of enhancing the community through the powerful organization Wayland Area Revitalization.
Mr. Eric Williams II has an overwhelming passion to see his hometown blossom into the place he envisions it can be.
Wayland Area Revitalization or W.A.R. began this journey in 2007 with the help of a handful of eager citizens. W.A.R.’s Founder, Marian Crawford is still persistent in her ideas on making this community a better place to live, work, and grow.
“My role will be president of the organization, one of my first priorities with the organization is to reestablish a board of directors, I’ll be looking for people that have passion and energy to make change by being the change,” Williams said. “We live in a community where many folks are okay with staying content. Which is why I believe the business population has went down year after year. We need excitement, we need energy and we need people that will be consistent.”
“After I establish the board, we will reach out to the businesses in the Wayland area, and have a meeting with them all to come up with things they are struggling with as a business, what they would like to see in Wayland, and from Wayland,” Williams continued. “The local government can’t expect businesses to come to Wayland and not be supported by them. Then I plan to sit down with local government and collaborate on how this organization can help Wayland flourish and be the beautiful town it is.”
Williams plans to continue the projects already in the works. There are several legacy projects such as The Point, The Nature Trail, and overall beautification of downtown.
“Next, I’ll continue on with the project that the organization was already working on, which was The Point... That’s located at the end of north main intersecting with North Lackawanna,” he said. “Marian Crawford worked very diligently in obtaining that piece of property to be owned by the Village, and even though the previous occupants owed back taxes, she was able to get the property taxes wiped away and it was purchased for one dollar. The hope was to have some type of signage saying it was Wayland and about the Southern finger lakes. So, we will continue to partner with the American legion on that project.”
Williams has some bright ideas for the future of the town, so that the youth has a nice place to go for study, play, and relaxation.
“In the future, I’d like to work with the village and come up with something to do with the lot that was just taken down by the Village across from Five Star Bank. It’s right on Main Street, it definitely needs to be beautified. Maybe with a gazebo, and a flower garden of some sort. I’d also like to tackle Victory Park. We need a better playground for our kids, so I’d love to work with the community and work to get the park redone.”
The downtown business district has needed a lot of work over the years. Williams needs someone who understands the process of grant writing to join the team and help make Wayland Great Again.
“I want to apply for grants and help the village spice up our Main Street, so we would need to work with the village, and see what their vision is, and help them make it happen! Those are just a few of the things I plan to take on,” he said.
Williams reached out to Crawford about keeping this organization alive and breathing new life into it as we go into 2020.
“I got involved because I love this community, Wayland has so much potential, but not enough folks that step up and make it happen. After listening to the founder of this organization, Marian Crawford, and her love for its possibilities, I knew then I had to be a part of it. I’m super excited about this opportunity, it’s a blessing to be able to join, and to make things happen. If any business owners or residents of Wayland want to talk, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.” Williams concluded.
As of next week, the new board needs to be available. Williams needs a director, treasurer,
secretary and someone who can write grants. This is a non-profit organization, so all positions are run by volunteers. If you have a passion for the community and want to help, make it great call Williams at 585-519-8579.