About The Coalition for a Better Brewster
The Coalition for a Better Brewster, Inc. (CBB) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1992 by a group of business people and residents from the village and surrounding areas; for the purpose of the revitalization of Brewster Village, particularly the downtown/Main Street area. The first president was K. C. Anderson [1992-2008] and she worked tirelessly to make CBB successful; KC still works behind the scenes. Members include business owners, residents, landlords, and supportive visitors that are committed to keeping our village a real community where people work together. CBB works with governments, churches and other organizations.
The Coalition’s early efforts targeted clean-up and promotion as affordable visible changes and a means to attract positive attention to Brewster Village. Main Street had at that time 13 vacant storefronts and a burnt out derelict bar/hotel within a three- block area. Local resources were optimized through improved communication and collaboration with the various entities in Brewster, including Village and Town governments, residents, property owners, merchants, churches and other organizations.
The 1992 Re-Discover Brewster Program, sponsored by CBB, received a first place “Main Street Award” from NYCOM for its downtown revitalization efforts. Through this program CBB coordinated cooperative advertising, special sales days, clean up campaigns, holiday displays and the first annual Founder’s Day Street Fair.
The Street Fair continues to grow as an inclusive celebration and attraction drawing participants from surrounding counties. The 25th Annual Founder’s Day Street Fair is scheduled for September 18, 2016. True to its collaborative beginnings, the day starts with Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Annual Putnam County Fall Classic, a half-marathon and 5K walk/run that has the Start/Finish line in the middle of Main Street.
An annual event that the Coalition instituted in 1992 was a Christmas Tree Lighting (a Main Street walk and singing of Christmas carols, beginning at the Southeast Museum and looping around Main Street, culminating in the tree lighting at the Walter Brewster House). This has grown into a Holiday Caroling and Tree Lighting sponsored by the Southeast Museum.
Many former residents return to participate and the new tree lighting occurs on Main St next to the Brewster Flower Garden; owner Mark Buzzetto has been decorating the tree since 2008 with the assistance of locals.
The Village of Brewster provides refreshments.
Landmarks Preservation Society has their annual holiday celebration at the Walter Brewster House following the tree lighting.
In early 1993 the Coalition started the Main Street Market Days which became the Brewster Farmers’ Market. The BFM started with seed money (one time award of $5000.) from the Town of Southeast, in-kind services from the Village of Brewster, and located over the years in the Town or Village municipal parking lots.
The year 2016 marks the 23rd season of this FMNP market, which has now moved to Wells Park.
The farmers market continues to draw to the downtown and serves as a forum for people to meet, greet, and celebrate improvement.
Other events: efforts have included a banner program, the Brewster Project (a site-specific Arts exhibition), downtown music festivals, and group advertising and promotions.
CBB applied for and received a grant from ESDC to hire a consulting firm to develop a formal downtown analysis and recommendations package, completed in 1999 by Saccardi and Schiff. This was augmented with funds acquired through Assemblyman Willis Stephens, Jr. to create a marketing package presenting a cohesive view of the Village for potential investors in the Brewster area.
The CBB Wish List has been pretty well covered as critical water and sewer infrastructure improvements have been addressed by Mayor John Cesar, a series of proactive Village Boards and the engineering firm of J. Robert Folchetti & Associates. Village storefronts are mostly full, façade improvements (Jack & Jill, 20 Main St., and others), the complete rehabilitation of 50 Main into housing and new Village of Brewster offices, the Village Clock which was funded by Senator Vincent Leibell and a major investment by MTA in a new station plaza are all enormous visible changes accomplished by state and local collaboration. Team Brewster, founded by Putnam County in 2005, has helped co-ordinate efforts and initiatives too improve Main Street. Many downtown and government entities still participate in monthly meetings held at the Village Court House (met previously at Walter Brewster House).
A primary purpose of the CBB continues to be encouraging the type of events and promotion of activities to remind folks that Main Street is still the heart of our community.
*Board Members (2016)*
Jack Gress President resident, owner Someday Retirement Community
Mark Buzzetto V P business owner Brewster Flower Garden
Laurie Manning Treasurer resident, manager Harvest Property Group
Mark Anderson Secretary business owner Reservoir Realty LLC.
Verna Bergstrom Director resident and former Village Trustee
James I. Nixon III Director community designer, owner Nixon Architecture
Robert Morini Director vice president, branch manager at Houlihan Lawrence Realty
The Coalition for a Better Brewster, Inc.
12 Main Street, Suite 305, Brewster, NY 10509