Members Apply For Restore NY Grant
To Tear Down Hulk At Market, Chestnut
By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – There is no saving the Oneonta Ford building.
“We’ve had people inspect it and structurally, it cannot support the additional two, three floors as part of the Market Street project,” said Sandy Mathes, CEO of Otsego Now.
Mathes was responding in part to a letter sent by Karyl Sage and read by City Clerk Nancy Powell during the public hearing on Common Council’s intent to submit an application for a Restore NY grant with the intent of using the grant to purchase and demolish the building at 27 Market St.
“Demolition is not always the best answer,” Sage’s letter read. “Look at Bresee’s and the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. I ask that you consider rehab of the Oneonta Ford building. It could very well become the center for the Food and Beverage hub.”
“I don’t understand why this building has any historic value,” countered Anna Stave. “It’s not on the Historic Registry. Is it even worth rehabilitating? Meanwhile, the Armory is on the Historic Registry, maybe we could work on renovating that.”
“Was rehab ever considered?” asked Council Member David Rissberger, Third Ward.
“The IDA has looked at the building and for the cost and the use, rehabilitation just not practical,” said Mayor Gary Herzig.
“The plans feature two levels of housing,” added Council Member Russ Southard, Sixth Ward. “That structure would not support that.”
Council voted unanimously – minus Fifth Ward Council Member Dana Levinson, who was absent – to submit the grant application to support the cost of demolishing the 29,574 square-foot building. “This will allow us to access money for the demolition, to clean the lot and abate any asbestos,” said Mathes.
Previously, a Restore NY grant was used to demolish the back portion of Bresee’s in order to make parking for Klugo’s Parkview Place.
However, Mathes stressed that the design would take into mind the design of the building, built in 1912. “We’re committed to making sure that any project on Market Street is respectful to the Main Street architecture,” he said. “That history of the building will be incorporated into the design.”