By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA — The Common Council voted 7-1 last night to buy the dilapidated Oneonta Ford building for $425,000 from the Twelve Tribes, despite a new Council member’s suggestion to take it by eminent domain for half the price.
And, first, the deal must by signed-off on by the state Historic Preservation Office.
“The Ford building is part of a historical area of Oneonta,” said Bob Brzozowski, Greater Oneonta Historical Society executive director. “This must be reviewed by the state historic association.”
“We can add to the resolution that the demolition is pending approval by SHPO,” said Mayor Gary Herzig, who emphasized the urgency of the project.
The City of Oneonta was awarded a $477,915 Restore New York Communities Initiative Grant in several years for the demolition of the property, which has been vacant and deteriorating for years. But with just six months left to use it, there’s no time to waste, the mayor said.
“We’ve been in discussion with the state on this and they have indicated that we are getting close to the end and that if we don’t utilize the money soon, they would have to withdraw the award,” said Herzig.
And although there were concerns addressed at City Hall, Council member Scott Harrington, Ward 6, was the only nay.
“This is an opportunity to remove this piece of urban blight,” said Herzig.
New Council member Kaytee Lipari Shue suggested Council simply take the property by eminent domain and pay the price contained in a certified appraisal, but she was convinced to change her mind.