Pittsford’s new TM looks to boost town’s economic development


PITTSFORD — “Everyone in the community has been extremely welcoming and friendly to me so far,” said Brenda Fox-Howard when speaking about her first two weeks as Pittsford’s new Town manager and her transition into that seat from the outgoing John Haverstock. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive.”

A native New Englander, Fox-Howard brings a wealth of experience to the table, including previous work in such wide-ranging fields as short-order cook; materials analyst for the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Conn.; rail fleet manager for Dow Chemical in Gales Ferry, Conn.; and Financial Manager III for the state of Vermont.

More recently, Fox-Howard was the town manager in New Gloucester, Maine, and was brought to Pittsford specifically as someone whose varied experiences will give her the ability to provide fresh eyes and a creative, out-of-the-box approach to the town’s vitality and economic development.

Fox-Howard is immediately tasked with helping fill several vacant positions, namely an assistant assessor, and vacancies on the water and sewer board and the select board; the latter of which she says will be in place by the end of Wednesday’s select board meeting.

As for the most pressing item on her agenda, Fox-Howard said the installation of a new culvert on West Creek Road was her top priority. The town is currently re-confirming the availability of previously awarded grant funds and awaiting official approval of construction plans before it can move forward with the project. She expressed confidence that the project would move forward in short order.

With regards to her longer-term plans, Fox-Howard emphasized efforts to include the townspeople in the ongoing brainstorming and decision-making on how best to use the town’s ARPA funds; ideas on Route 7 improvements; and the ongoing efforts to expand high-speed Internet throughout the town.

She spoke in broad strokes about economic development and her desire to clarify what that means, specifically to the different views residents of Pittsford have. She acknowledged there would always be some tension between developing and growing existing businesses and attempting to attract new ones.
Additionally, Ms. Fox-Howard expressed a desire to expand Pittsford’s potential to partner with neighboring towns wherever possible and she made a point to welcome any ideas from civic leaders in those communities.

When asked specifically for her thoughts on the business prospects surrounding the cannabis industry, Fox-Howard warned the town should proceed delicately due to the current lack of a town oversight board, the gray areas surrounding federal law, and an uncertainty about how any cannabis-related businesses might affect the town’s identity and its residents for better or for worse.


  • Appointing a new member of the select board.
  • Discussion about a Survey Monkey query with regards to ARPA funds.
  • Discussion of repairs needed to the First Response Building.
  • Drafting of events for the upcoming Memorial Day Parade.
  • Discussion of Route 7 paving bids.
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