COMMON COUNCIL OKS DOCUMENT
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – An office to market the city as a destination for arts and culture, the reuse of “zombie properties” and continuing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative were all recommended as part of Oneonta’s updated Comprehensive Plan, adopted unanimously by Common Council during their meeting this evening.
“You’ve given us a road map that will use over the years,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “It’s given us a clear vision…an action plan and some real goals.”
The city formed steering committee in 2017 to update its Comprehensive Plan, implemented in 2007, because “Oneonta was at the tipping point,” Herzig said, “where we found ourselves with new opportunities and resources to reinvent Oneonta and thrive in today’s economy.”
Steering Committee member Bob Brzozowski of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society, read the introduction to the committee’s vision statement aloud to council, which he said the committee wrote after its first open house and inspired and guided their work afterward.
The vision statement addressed Oneonta’s current strengths, such as “a strong urban fabric, surrounding natural beauty, strong educational institutions, and ones it continued to work toward, such as “ample opportunities for jobs, housing, culture, and recreation.”
Brzozowski also highlighted the committee’s “goal areas,” giving one goal for each area as examples of what they had worked on. Under “Destination and Image,” for example, the first goal was “to establish Oneonta as a destination for the arts, culture, and recreation.” Their recommendation was to have an office to market the city.
And with a lack of affordable housing a constant worry, they recommended facilitating “the reuse of zombie properties” and “to better market the state’s graduate-to-own program.”
“One of the goals of the housing section is to increase the variety of and affordability of housing for all ages and all incomes,” he continued.
The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee was made up of volunteers from a wide variety of community interests. Herzig noted the committee held 12 public meetings in which anyone could participate in and suggest ideas over the past two years.
“The committee gave full consideration of people’s input and ideas and it adopted many of them,” said Herzig.
The Committee also conducted focus groups and study reviews and performed economic and demographic analyses, among other tasks.
Steering Committee members attending the meeting were, in addition to Brzozowski, Seth Clark, Peter Clark Student Rentals’ Julie Dostal, LEAF Council; Mark Davies, Hartwick; Joan Fox, Realtor; and Russ Southard, 6th Ward Council Member were at the meeting. The mayor recognized them and Director of Community Development Judy Pangman.