Local documentarist produces downtown revitalization movie

Downtown Gloversville is shown in this 2016 photo. City resident Greg Hitchcock will premiere his latest short documentary, “Rising Downtowns,” at the Gloversville Public Library on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Leader-Herald file photo)

GLOVERSVILLE — A city resident will premiere his latest short documentary, “Rising Downtowns,” at the Gloversville Public Library on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Greg Hitchcock is a longtime print journalist who began making documentary films in recent years, primarily focusing on issues facing the local community.

“I try to create documentaries that help solve critical problems in our communities,” Hitchcock said. “I’m trying to spread awareness.”

This was the impetus for one of his earlier documentaries, “Heroin in Amsterdam,” that examined the local impact of the opioid crisis and tried to connect those in need of assistance with resources.

Hitchcock’s latest documentary focuses on downtown Gloversville, how it has changed over time and the present day efforts of city officials and residents to generate revitalization.

“It’s about how downtown is changing, from what it was before to what it is now and the future of what it’s going to be like 10 years from now,” Hitchcock said. “It’s primarily a modern take of what’s happening now.”

Hitchcock spoke to local officials for the documentary including Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ronald Peters, Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings, Gloversville Public Library Director Barbara Madonna, Johnstown Mayor Vernon Jackson and Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

While the film focuses on Gloversville, Hitchcock said he spoke to the leaders of local cities to demonstrate their ability to successfully implement revitalization, just as he feels Gloversville can with community support.

“My intention was to make sure that people know that downtowns will revitalize and have a rebirth,” Hitchcock said. “I think it takes not only the people in city government and county government, it takes people that believe in downtown and that there will be life in downtown again.”

Hitchcock noted that the film will premiere at the Gloversville Public Library at 58 E. Fulton St., which has undergone its own revitalization with the completion of a massive $8 million renovation project that is discussed in the documentary.

“The Carnegie room will be a great place to view the film,” Hitchcock said. “And to drive more people downtown.”

Following the screening, Hitchcock will be on hand for a Q & A and discussion about downtown revitalization with those in attendance.

Hitchcock’s goal for the film is to spread hope for revitalization among city dwellers and area residents.

“My hope is to let people know there are people working on this issue of revitalizing the downtown Gloversville area and within 10 years, maybe less, you’ll see significant change downtown,” Hitchcock said. “It will take a lot of time and effort, but down the road you will see improvements.”

“Rising Downtowns,” a short documentary film from Greg Hitchcock, will premiere at the Gloversville Public Library on Wednesday at 6 p.m. followed by a Q & A with the filmmaker. The event is free to attend and open to the public. Light food and refreshments will be served.

Hitchcock’s documentary will also be released online on Wednesday at commandvoicejournalism.com.

By Josh Bovee

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