Beginning Nov. 3, the Livingston Area Transportation Service (LATS) will offer a weekly Thursday night bus service from MacVittie College Union to the village of Mount Morris.
The service, titled "Thursday Knights in Mount Morris," will run from 6 – 9 p.m. and will make three stops in the downtown district. The first stop will be at Main Street and Lake, the second will be the Genesee River Restaurant and the third will be Brian's USA Diner.
On Nov. 3, to celebrate the new bus service, certain downtown businesses will offer a 20 percent discount to students with valid Geneseo identification. Participating vendors include Finders Keepers, Questa Lasagna, Jane's Pantry, McDonald's, Rainy Days Cafe & Bakery, Letchworth Barn Antiques and Genesee River Restaurant. While the discount will only apply on Nov. 3, businesses will offer weekly coupons on the Main Street Mount Morris Facebook page.
In addition to the 20 percent student discount, two downtown businesses will offer free, live entertainment for students on Nov. 3. Theater 101 will host an open mic night beginning at 7 p.m. and encourage Geneseo students to participate. Rainy Days Cafe & Bakery will also offer live musical entertainment.
The bus service is an attempt to draw Geneseo students into Mount Morris's recently revitalized downtown district to support its local businesses.
Greg O'Connell, a New York developer and Geneseo alumnus, has been at the forefront of the revitalization effort. Over the past three years, he has been purchasing and renovating buildings on Main Street and renting them to business owners at about $5 per square foot.
"The revitalization has been a huge project," said senior Hannah Zimmerman, the Main Street manager for Mount Morris. "The town has just been brought back to life and there's dozens of new businesses … I just think that connecting the student population to a neighborhood that is seven miles away would be a great thing."
Zimmerman has been working with the bus service since June.
"What started out as a series of emails ended up as a meeting … we finalized the schedule and [now] kind of have this partnership between LATS and the town of Mount Morris," she said.
According to Louise Wadsworth, the downtown coordinator of the Livingston County Development Corporation, the idea for the bus service came about this past summer while a group of Geneseo Residence Directors came for a tour of downtown Mount Morris. Robert Bonfiglio, vice president for student and campus life, and Kimberly Harvey, director of new student programs, were also among the tour group.
"We talked about how it'd be great if the students had an easier way to get to Mount Morris," Wadsworth said. "We had asked all the merchants to be open late on Thursday nights anyway, so then we were thinking that that would be a good a night to bring the students over and have a bus service."
"I think the college is really interested in reaching out into other communities now," Wadsworth said. "It seems like they really want students to have the opportunity to experience more than just Geneseo."
Zimmerman encourages students to visit Mount Morris' new website at www.mtmorrisny.com for descriptions of each business and contact information