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planning

DEAN: To Succeed, Otsego County Must Be Known

Column by James Dean, May 11, 2018

To Succeed, Otsego

County Must Be Known

Editor’s Note: James R. Dean, the Cooperstown village trustee, has been proprietor of New York Custom Curved Wood Stair Railings & Handrailings locally since 1973. In last week’s Part I, he analyzed out economic-development challenges we face. This week, Part II offers solutions.

James Dean

So what is the plan?
Almost everything that has been done so far to increase our population and business base, while very good, has not been enough to reverse our situation and we need to rethink what we need to do and how we need to do it.
As Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig often says, “We need more people.” I fully agree. Nothing changes in Otsego County without more people.
We need more people at the same time that we know we are in an imperfect situation for an ideal promotional effort. Knowing that, we should still move ahead to try to attract more people, businesses and outside money to Otsego County. The needed improvements will follow as our promotional efforts succeed.
Rebuilding Otsego County will not happen without a laser focus on promoting the big picture of “Otsego County New York” to the outside world. “Otsego County New York” are the four most important words that the outside world needs to hear from us. We need to reach out with public and private strategic messaging designed to capture the attention of people and businesses, that previously did not know about life in Otsego County New York.
Counties and businesses up and down the Hudson Valley, and elsewhere, are putting promotional and advertising money, and other resources into attracting new people and businesses to their area, and it is working. People are moving from the Hamptons to Hudson Valley where their money buys so much more.
I do not see that in Otsego County. To see what pride and promotional efforts of an area looks like, go to the Kingston area’s Luminary Media’s Arts and Culture website www.Chronogram.com.
Chronogram also has impressive print edition that is distributed free, in over 750 locations, from Stamford to Brooklyn, on both sides of the Hudson. It serves 51 towns and 9 counties in the Hudson Valley (see distribution). They are capturing customers, in a very organized way, while we are completely off the radar. Luminary media also has a real-estate advertising website http://upstatehouse.luminarymedia.com/, with similar print editions and equal distribution, reaching the same people. We have nothing like that here. How do we compete with that? At the very least we should try to be included in their orbit.

This image from Doug Decker’s 2015 video, “Oneonta, Life Enjoyed!”, depicts youngsters fishing. People would come to Otsego County if they knew about its charms, Jim Dean asserts.

People wanting to buy homes and property in Otsego County is a major component of deep, structural, long-term, local economic development. Zillow.com is a major real-estate advertising website that shows almost every home for sale in Otsego County (search Otsego County NY in Zillow). This is a tool that should be used to showcase Otsego County homes available for purchase. Local realtors already sponsor these Zillow ads and would handle most of the sales.
The Zillow interactive website platform is also an interesting model for a possible new, very visual, map based, all inclusive, fully interactive website, solely for the promotion of living and working in Otsego County New York. This new website could become the information destination for comprehensive and organized promotional efforts.
I suggest “OtsegoCountyNewYork.com” as the name for this possible new website. I have secured this name for possible future use. This new website would have click on/off layers for the major categories of interest in Otsego County like city, towns, villages, healthcare, churches, education, recreation, parks, businesses, shopping, real estate, restaurants, transportation, arts and culture, places to visit, etc. To see a simple Google Map prototype go to https://tinyurl.com/yaw5vm2t. Each similarly formatted layer would have mouse over icons that would identify the location, clickable points of interest that would open up with information, photos, audio, videos and/or “mini tours”. The purpose of this “master website” would be as a “central destination” for many outreach efforts for the “big sell” of all that Otsego County has to offer.
This new website would allow viewers to tour all of Otsego County on their own, at any time, from anywhere. This single focus new website would be fair and equal in providing information about all of Otsego County, from Richfield Springs to Unadilla (supported by volunteers from around the county, grants and donations) and would carry no paid advertising or preferential promotions.
Ideally, it would be developed and managed by a new, neutral entity, independent of any special or competing interests.
Quality of life is one of our major assets. Many people in other places have more money, but they do not have the quality of life, and they do not know where to look to find it. We want to paint our picture, and tailor our messages, to meet that need and welcome them to join us.
First, we sell them a forever home; then they help us build out the future of Otsego County. This applies to retired people, young creatives, entrepreneurs and self-employed people with businesses and families. Creating, and then conveying, a sense of pride of community and common cause will go a long way to helping Otsego County succeed.
I can think of no other publications that so beautifully portray, in pictures and text, so much of what we enjoy, need to convey, about Otsego County New York than “Otsego County – Its Towns and Treasures”, “Cooperstown”, and “Otsego Lake”, all three books published by The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. Also “Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York – 200 Years of Health Care in Rural America” for the rich history of the first-class healthcare that has always been available in Otsego County New York.
Our problem, in my view, is not that people do not want to come here. Our problem, in my view, is that people do not know that we exist.
It is very important, in my view, for Otsego County local governments, businesses, schools, public and private organizations and interested individuals to work together, and to invest, in this common cause.
Rebuilding Otsego County is the collective responsibility of every person, hamlet, village, town and city in our county.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAR. 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAR. 6

Healthy Living

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HEALTH PRESENTATION – 7 – 8 p.m. Nights at the Roundtable welcome Tom Hohensee, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Specialist at Bassett, to present “Lifestyle Medicine, Living Better Longer.” Cooperstown Village Library, Call 607-547-8344 or visit www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/

FAMILY COOKING – 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Cook for a dinner party which includes hors d’oeuvres, specialty dips, and carving with Executive Chef Jim Perillo. Cost $99/adult + 1 child. Includes all materials. The Otesaga, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-9931.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEB.14
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEB.14

Chess Night At SUNY Oneonta

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CHESS NIGHT – 7 – 11 p.m. Chess enthusiasts of all levels welcome to play. Includes free lessons for beginners. Hunt Union Cafeteria, SUNY Oneonta. E-mail dmv2012@aol.com

PUBLIC MEETING – 10 – 11 a.m. Discuss and comment on the Otsego county Draft Local Solid Waste Management Plan. Available for comment through Mar. 18. Meadows Office Complex, Classroom A, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-4225 or visit otsegocounty.com/depts/sw/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MAR. 16
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MAR. 16

CCS Play: ‘Miss Nelson Missing’

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SENIOR PLAY – 7-9 p.m. “Miss Nelson is Missing.” Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org

PANEL DISCUSSION – 7-8 p.m. Intersectional Feminism. Bresee Hall, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Info, www.hartwick.edu/campus-life/student-affairs/intercultural-affairs/ or contact Matthews at matthewsh@hartwick.edu or call (607)431-4428

WRITERS SALON – 7:30-9 p.m. Opens with an open mic followed by a presentation from author of the month, Joseph Mish. Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info, www.canoneonta.org/calendar/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, JAN. 5
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, JAN. 5

Meet Area Professionals

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NETWORKING – 6-7:30 p.m. Monthly networking mixer with the Young Professionals Network. B-side Ballroom, 1 Clinton Plaza Dr., Oneonta. Info, www.facebook.com/YoungProfessionalsNetworkYPN/

SKYPE CLASS – 1-4 p.m. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org

COLLEGE PLANNING – 6-7:30 p.m. For Juniors, Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org

FOMA MEETING – 7-8 p.m. Cooperstown High School Faculty Room, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org

CLICK FOR MORE HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO

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