By PARKER FISH • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Picking up on Oneonta Common Council’s decision to sell the Westcott parking lot at 226 Main St., the county Board of Representatives today formed a task force to explore selling Old City Hall, located right next door.
Freshman Oneonta rep Danny Lapin, D-13, raised the task force idea at the meeting, and was named to chair it.
County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who chairs the Public Works Committee, told his colleagues he has had preliminary conversations with Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig about a prospective sale. But he emphasized, “nothing has been done as of this point. We have not made any decisions, and this is simply exploratory.”
Over the past year, the idea of selling the county-owned former city hall has been raised several times. It now houses the departments of Social Services, Veterans Affairs and Motor Vehicles, but the conclusion that security needs to be tightened there caused concern about the expense of a possible renovation.
“The main plan,” said Lapin, “is to establish a clear and consistent line of communications between the city and the multiple county committees to ensure that the proper information is flowing back and forth. We want to make sure that everyone has the same basis of facts, so that they can report to their respective governing bodies and move faster to achieve a solution that works for everybody.”
Lapin has not appointed anyone else to the task force at this point, but does have some names in mind who he hopes might be able to help.
“We still have to sit down and figure it out,” he said. “But hopefully, the ideal name that I can think of off the top of my head would be George Korthauer, the city manager for Oneonta.”
While the so-called task force is still in it’s infancy, it could accelerate the county’s actions regarding the building, which could drastically change the look of Main Street in Oneonta.