By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA — The Common Council met in person Tuesday, July 6, with an atmosphere of visible joviality and relief after spending a year meeting via Zoom.
“This is something we haven’t done in a long time,” Mayor Gary Herzig said, which elicited some appreciative chuckles.
Some of the agenda items passed included motions authorizing the acceptance of a state grant for the development of Hartwick College’s Grain Innovation Center, which would be located at the future Lofts on Dietz Street, as well as motions that appointed candidates to the recently formed Public Arts Commission and the Housing Commission.
However, the highlight of the meeting was the acknowledgement of the strides that Oneonta residents have made for the city. This included recognizing the work of Lou Lansing, parks administrator, who helped to renovate sparsely used tennis courts into pickleball courts.
Lansing was recognized with an “Employee of the Quarter” award.
“I remember saying ‘what the hell is pickle ball?’ I’d never heard of it,” Herzig said. “Who knew today, across the country, that pickleball would be the fastest growing sport in the country. …These courts are so wonderful.”
Herzig and others also took a victory lap about the Independence Day celebration.
“In the last six years, I had many memorable days, but I don’t think any have been as memorable as this past fourth of July,” Herzig said. He said that people passing by would stop and tell him, “this is so wonderful.”
It was a “full day of perfection,” Herzig said. “We’re just so fortunate for people in this city.”
Carol Mandigo, who helped organize the Independence Day celebration, said she “didn’t know until the last minute if they could do a Fourth of July celebration.”
David Hayes, another organizer, estimated there were 10,000 people in Neahwa Park on Independence Day.
“We’re all just happy to be out of jail,” Hayes said.
Other highlights from the council included the financial report, where Virginia Lee reported that despite COVID, the City was doing much better than anticipated.
“The city as a whole did outstanding,” Lee said.
There was some discussion about members being appointed to the Housing Commission who were not residents of the city, and a couple of them got voted down for that reason.
Overall, the meeting showed that the Common Council was back in the swing of things with in-person meetings. However, councilmember Scott Harrington offered a quip that harkened back to the Zoom era.
“We do have to hear ‘you’re muted’ one more time,” Harrington said .