2024 ARVBA Membership Meeting at JEMS

A HUGE Thank You to the
Jay Entertainment & Music Society (JEMS)
for hosting ARVBA’s 2024 Spring Membership Meeting!

May 30, 2024 @ 6:00 pm, The Amos & Julia Ward Theatre

Delicious sandwiches from the Black Brook General Store were served.


Almost 30 people attended the Spring General Membership meeting, which although it ran long generated a lot of positive feedback.


Welcome and Presentation by our hosts -JEMS:

Rance Bloom, President of the JEMS Board spoke about JEMS, its history and mission etc.  The board has some new blood and is re-energized and wants to offer more events and activities to the community.  Also focused on fund raising to cover costs for the theater and events etc.   Rance listed some upcoming events and it looks like it’s going to be a busy rest of the year.  It’s a great venue, and JEMS were very gracious hosts.

Opening welcome/updates by ARVBA
(Board member intro, Updates, membership, accomplishments, financial report:

Knut introduced the ARVBA board and excused those board members not able to make it, discussed the upcoming agenda, and discussed the boards efforts, and mentioned there are 2 board vacancies and encouraged anyone interested to join the board, or a committee, or just get involved to reach out to us.  As a growing organization there is a lot of volunteer work that goes into it, and we could need help.

Upcoming events, Seminar by the AEDC-small business lending, Presentation by the ADK Foundation on grant opportunities for businesses, and Jay Day on August 24th for which we will need raffle prizes donated as it is a very important fund-raising event for ARVBA.   Other ideas for seminars/presentation are welcomed to help the board decide what to offer, and if anyone is interested in a business showcase to let the board know.

It was mentioned that we generated about $1,000 in advertisement sales for the Whiteface Region Visitors guide, which the board has decided to allocate to the strategic planning initiative.

The Spring Newsletter is scheduled for late June.

Our membership just hit 50 members, and ARVBA continues to grow, which is exciting but comes with some growth challenges in terms of workload, reach, and focus, hence why we initiated the strategic planning initiative.  Our goal is to end the year with 55-60 members, and membership is open to businesses, non-profits, and community members/residents, and we currently have a nice mix of members.

A brief financial report was presented, including income and expense categories.  Our finances are solid and the books are audited annually.

ARVBA Strategic Plan:

Martha presented and spoke about our strategic planning initiative, the need and purpose of it, and the survey that is in process which we need feedback on, as well as our funding drive and the appeal letter that recently was sent out.  She also solicited members to be part of the initiative.

Town of Jay Comprehensive plan:

Wally Walter, ARVBA community member chairs the Town of Jay Comprehensive Plan update special board and spoke about the process and plans.  A grant was secured and currently RFP is developed to hire a consultant.  There will be several sub-committees focused on different components/areas of the plan.  This will be primarily a 2025 project.  Wally handed out index cards and asked attendees to submit some input.

Guest Speaker- NY State Assemblyman Billy Jones District 115:

A quite engaging discussion was held with regards to challenges for business in the North Country, especially as it relates to workforce housing and workforce development, which both are significant challenges for businesses.  This led to a conversation about Short Term Rentals (STR’s) and its impact on housing costs etc.  STR’s do provide jobs and tax revenue, but how do you balance that with the other impacts they may have?  Jay has some dilapidated properties, and utilizing the Essex County Landbank could be a means of putting some affordable housing back on the market.

ROOST Updates:

Eileen Mowrey, Whiteface Region Manager at ROOST provided feedback on the Eclipse event and financial impact it had, and an update on the Whiteface Region (WFR) Visitors Guide due out this summer.  She encouraged members to take advantage of the enhanced listing available on the WFR website, Events calendar, available maps, guides, and other collateral (which she also made available for attendees to take).  Preparation for the Iron Man race were discussed and the Code of Conduct for racers and spectators.  ROOST does a lot of social media outreach and welcomes pictures from the community to share.

Main Street Revitalization updates:

Town of Jay Supervisor Matt Stanley spoke about the Technical Grant received to hire a consultant to initiate a main street revitalization effort.  Start small, with some smaller grants in the amount of $300-500,000, and when success has been achieved with those, go for a larger $2-3 million grant.  There will also be some micro grants available.  In addition, there is a housing grant for low-income families being made available for major home repairs.  3-5 families will be selected.

Pictures from the Spring Meeting.

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