Under new management

Spring just hit this area with a POW! this week. Everything is strangely accelerated, almost as if summer is just around the corner. I can definitely feel a slowdown in the vibe on the University hill (in summer, everything there slows down). I wonder if this is one of those springs that will make some sort of difference to the area. You know how you can’t get out of bed and get going on a Saturday when it’s gray and blah out? Maybe we find it hard to get going in a year that starts with a raw spring. But on a beautiful day, you feel like getting up and tackling the day. Who knows, could this be a week that changes a year, and maybe a year that changes history around here…?

There are two local businesses under new management this week. The former Kristen’s ice cream stand on West Genesee Street, across from Pizza Hut and Jesus Hut Holy Family, is now Carol’s Polar Parlor, a spinoff of the venerable Peter’s Polar Parlor down on Milton. Word is they are going to be specializing in hard ice cream (yum).

The bigger news is that the empty Pep Boys in Westvale — the former Genesee Theater — has been bought by the Oneida Nation, Inc., for use as a brand-name outlet shop similar to the one they’ve been operating in Chittenango. Yes, they plan to pay taxes, since it is not on Oneida land. (Gov. Paterson wants to finally start collecting taxes from all the reservation businesses; see Danger Democrat for some debate over that.)

This brings some closure to a sad story, and for moribund Westvale Plaza it’s a big deal. It will bring in some jobs, and it is good to know the place won’t be empty forever. Still, one could definitely dream a different dream about that space. (And one wonders if the Onondagas have different dreams for it — the months continue to tick by on the LRA, with no news…) Maybe we can do better than shopping for castoffs. Can the corner of West Genesee and Charles ever become someplace with some kind of cultural meaning again, maybe even something more than it was?