Letter: Sauers Played Early Role on Main

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your profile of architect Aryeh Siegel (The Beacon Look, Sept. 16). There was, however, an historical inaccuracy. The reporter related that when Siegel and his family first considered moving to Beacon in 1999, “much of Beacon’s Main Street was boarded up or vacant.” This is not true.

The redevelopment of the east end of Main Street was led by Ron and Ronnie Beth Sauers shortly after Mayor Clara Lou Gould was elected in 1989. The City Council, led by Gould, invested heavily in new sidewalks, lighting and curbing for much of that portion of Main and antique shops and small restaurants such as The Little Pie Shop replaced abandoned buildings by 1999.

The Sauers then took their talents to the west end of Main and, once again, the council encouraged the redevelopment by passing an amendment to the zoning ordinance that gradually eliminated the first-floor residential occupancies which had discouraged commercial growth. The west end was thriving by the time Michael Govan decided to bring Dia to Beacon. In fact, I believe that Beacon’s revitalization was one of the reasons he chose us over the original site in Massachusetts.

There is no doubt the opening of Dia:Beacon (and the arrival soon after of gifted artists and professionals like Siegel) was the catalyst for the incredible commercial growth we are enjoying now. It should simply  be noted that the seeds were planted for Beacon’s growth well before 1999.

Peter Forman, Beacon

Forman was the Beacon city attorney from 1990 to 1999.

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