Making the Village of Hamburg a Better Place to Live, Work, and Play

When, on a cold January day in 2001, the group of community volunteers that would eventually become Imagine:Hamburg first sat down together, few would have believed they’d be together working for the good of the village more than 10 years later.

Nor could they have imagined (despite the group’s name) that the sadly deteriorated central business district that existed then could have been so totally transformed in so little time. But such is the power of caring people working together for a good cause.

The story of how Imagine:Hamburg came to be is well known to many but probably not to others. In January 2001, former mayor John Thomas called together a group of volunteer citizens to brainstorm the options available to the village before the state’s major reconstruction of the Main and Buffalo Streets business corridor. Having seen a presentation by a charismatic “walkable communities” guru named Dan Burden, Mayor Thomas convinced the Village Board to hire the consultant, and the rest as they say, is history.

Thanks to the visionary Burden’s innovative “traffic calming” ideas, the New York State Department of Transportation’s willingness to listen to options, the village administration’s foresight, the patience and faith of the business community and village residents, and the countless hours of volunteer work by so many, we all enjoy the beautiful village center we see today.

And the improvements keep on coming, just as Dan Burden promised they would once the roundabouts, pedestrian crosswalks, “pocket parks,” new lighting, and other streetscape amenities recommended by the community and the Reconstruction Committee were in place.
Once its road project responsibilities ended, many members of the committee felt the need to continue working together for the village’s benefit, and before long Imagine:Hamburg had developed a mission and goals.

Simply put, the group is dedicated to making the village a better place to live, work, and play.

Made up entirely of volunteers who live in the community (village and town) and receiving no monetary support from the village or any other source, Imagine:Hamburg raises money for its projects through fundraisers such as an annual Lockwood’s hanging basket sale, selling original Menches hamburgers at Burgerfest and pretzels at Oktobefest, and holding fundraising social events at local restaurants and other venues.

Currently, Imagain:Hamburg has approximately 30 members, of whom take pride in working together, not just as volunteers with a common cause, but as friends. The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Hamburg Community Center on Prospect Avenue. Communication among the members is facilitated by use of a Yahoo group website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IMAGINEHAMBURG/. New members are always welcome.

For further information about Imagine:Hamburg, or to become a member, contact any Imagine:Hamburg member or email us at ImagineHamburg@gmail.com.