The buildings that are empty are mostly next to buildings that house folks that don't care about their living conditions. Codes enforcement needs to clean those buildings up and businesses other than head shops and tattoo shops will want to come back to a quaint main street setting. If you doubt it, question some of the remaining business what they feel about their neighbors.Same old, same old.....
You can get all the codes enforcement you want....would not make a bit of difference. Empty buildings are empty buildings regardless of the code and how many millions of little rules you may have.
Business has to be confident that they can make money in that location. Making money means making traffic. The flow of traffic in Herkimer revolves around Rte 5, not Main St. So I am investing in what ?
If you happen to meet one of our village justices in a store, ask them how many codes violations have come before them in court. I bet the number is zero.