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funding

Roadwork Can Mean Life, Death

Editorial for August 24, 2018

 Roadwork Can

Mean Life, Death

The Good News: Oneonta,

Cooperstown Projects Moving Forward

If DOT engineer Peter Larson thought it was going to be a ho-hum hearing that Dec. 15, 2008, at Oneonta High School, Kay Stuligross quickly advised him otherwise.
“My husband was killed right there,” the former county representative told Larson, pointing to a spot where Lettis Highway enters Southside, in front of McDonald’s.
Stuligross’ husband, Jack, a retired Hartwick College economics professor, had been riding his bike when it was struck by a car there on Oct. 2, 2007, just 14 months before.  He died of his injuries.
Just being there, Kay Stuligross underscored: road improvements are matters of life and death.  That’s often lost in the excruciating process of state and federal permitting.
Despite her testimony, the Southside roadwork – Project 9120.43 – was never done, as federal money dried up following the Great Recession that had begun just a couple of months before the OHS hearing.

From Hometown Oneonta archives, 2008 – Kay Stuligross signs in at the DOT hearing Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, at Oneonta High School on safety improvement on the Southside.

That speaks to the complacency that sets in on road projects, as well as the competition among needy municipalities.

Nonetheless, the past few days has brought good news on two projects, long on the books and long debated.
One, in Oneonta, the city and town jointly applied Thursday, Aug. 16, for $8.7 million in state funds to beautify Lettis Highway, add a sidewalk there, and build a sidewalk on Southside Oneonta from Lowe’s to the east to Home Depot to the west.
Two, in Cooperstown, for a redesigned traffic-light setup at Chestnut and Main, the village’s only traffic signal. The Village Board, that same Aug. 16, let a $1.9 million contract to Upstate Companies LLC, an Mount Upton firm, to do the work, beginning the Monday that Labor Day Weekend ends.

Mom Marcia Doyle of LaGrangeville, Dutchess County, crosses the expanse of Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, with son Patrick and daughter Devyn. Inset is Lettis Highway, Oneonta, as it is today.


In Oneonta – if the grant comes through; perhaps by January, Mayor Gary Herzig hopes – the sidewalks could finally address the major concern underscored by Jack Stuligross’ death.
As important, perhaps moreso, would be construction of a sidewalk on one side of the whole length of Lettis Highway, the four-lane that connects Main Street with the Southside strip.
Many Oneontans who work in the big box stores must now walk precariously along Lettis’ shoulder to their jobs, a long-ongoing danger that now may come to an end, Herzig hopes.Right now, Lettis Highway – at I-88’s Exit 15, the main entryway to the city – makes a poor first impression to the generally charming City of the Hills. Some of the city’s money would be used for less stark lighting (that would illuminate the roadway AND the sidewalk). And it would create a landscaped green median strip, a welcoming replacement for the Jersey barriers and asphalt.

The Freeman’s Journal

Some of the Cooperstown grant – a TEP, for the USDOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program – will be used for further beautification of Main Street – more new benches and the like.
Foremost, though, it will “bump out” the sidewalk in front of Mel’s 22, narrowing Chestnut Street there, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh said. “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs will clearly guide pedestrians at all four crossings.
For years, anyone trying to cross that intersection on foot – but particularly tourists, some 500,000 a year – don’t know what to do. Drivers passing through can see the apprehension on their faces.

Both of these projects are long-awaited: Oneonta’s, a decade and more; Cooperstown, five years, since the original TEP application was submitted.
As the work begins – in Oneonta by next summer, it can only be hoped – let’s keep Jack Stuligross in mind.
What happened to him didn’t have to happen. Let’s do what we can to ensure it doesn’t again to someone else.

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Seward Delivers Funding To OFO To Combat Domestic Violence

Seward Delivers Funding 

To Fight Domestic Violence

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announces funding for Opportunities for Otsego’s domestic-violence prevention program at OFO’s West Broadway headquarters Monday afternoon.   With him, from left, are OFO Crisis Intervention Director Will Rivera, Catholic Charities Executive Director Lynn Glueckert, Delaware Opportunities Executive Director Shelly Bartow and OFO CEO Dan Maskin. OFO and Catholic Charities of Otsego and Schoharie counties will receive $15,000 each, and $7,000 each goes to Delaware Opportunities and Liberty Resources (Chenango County). “These community programs provide vital services for those in dire need,” said Seward, “We are fortunate to have so many local organizations providing help to vulnerable individuals, and I am pleased to assist them in their efforts to make our communities safer. These agencies are lifelines and, in many cases, are all that stand between a domestic violence victim and further harm.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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