By CATHY NARDI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Connectivity is a future focus of economic development and Oneonta Council member Michele Frazier, First Ward, wants the Hill City to be a competitive presence.
“People are able to work remotely,” Frazier said. “They look for an ideal place to live, and we have a wonderful community, we are a perfect place for workers who want to live in a place like this and work remotely.”
Frazier asked that the board consider municipal Internet to be a possible infrastructure provided by the city. This coupled with a push to market the city to remote workers could be a new focus that has the potential to bring young adults to the area. A lot of businesses are eager to try a virtual office and other solutions that would allow employees to work remotely but this just isn’t capable yet because they often find their internet is far too slow to keep up with the demand.
This isn’t a new issue though as many businesses have already voiced their concern over the fact they would want to take more aspects of their business online by having employees use software like FilecenterDMS but being left unable to due to poor connectivity.
There were a couple of issues that kept coming back to connectivity for Frazier. She was concerned that city leaders were not informing residents about NIXLE, the communication network that sends tailored updates and warning to designated communication receptors including email, cell phone, and landline.
NIXLE is used to inform residents of many things including road closures and emergency situations. The roadwork currently underway downtown has inconvenienced many residents, Frazier said.
“I have a constituent who has a child in a wheelchair and she was not able to get to the ramp because of the road work,” Frazier said. “Many of these people would have made other arrangements if they knew how long the work would take. We need to keep them up-to-date when things change.”
Frazier said she went door-to-door asking residents in the First Ward to sign up for NIXLE so they could be updated on the changing roadwork.
“I think I tripled our response just knocking on doors,” Frazier said.
Rachel Lutz Jessup, Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of Destination Oneonta presented to Council many of the events and activities Destination Oneonta sponsored or cosponsored.
When asked if the organization was able to generate interest in local events from families visiting the area for baseball camps, Jessup said she was not satisfied with their attempts.
There is an app for that, Frazier said, referring to a smart phone application that visitors can download for instant connections to downtown activities and businesses.
“There is an app that is like a scavenger hunt where people try to find different things around the area and then local merchants might give them a discount if they find those things,” Frazier said.
Jessup talked to Council members about several partnerships Destination Oneonta has formed with downtown entities including Foothills Performing Arts Center. She said the group is interested in expanding Fabulous Fridays, which has traditional been limited to summer.
The Halloween parade and downtown trick-or-treating event will be held Halloween night, and early in December Muller Plaza will be turned into a Christmas scene with Santa’s Gingerbread House dressed for the season. The Christmas parade is planned for Dec. 1, and the traditional tree lighting will be held Dec. 6.