STATE OF THE STATE BREAKFAST
This Year, Oneonta
Will Bloom With DRI
Money, Mayor Says
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – This will be the year, Mayor Gary Herzig said, that the City of Oneonta begins to see the results of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants
“In 60 days, we’ll unveil the redesign of our downtown,” he said. “And this redesign is not by City Hall, but by 80 downtown business owners who have submitted proposals for $2.5 million in funding for improvements. This is a downtown made possibly by the energy of our local businesses.”
Herzig, alongside Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, spoke at the annual State of the State breakfast, hosted by the Otsego County Chamber this morning at SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall.
“This is a true tradition,” said Seward. “We’ve been having this breakfast for 22 years, and I’ve been at every one of them.”
In addition to the Main Street renovations, Herzig said the city is looking into submitting a proposal to redesign the Lettis Highway to make it safer and more accessible to pedestrian and bike traffic. “Every day we see people walking out there, and it is not safe,” he said. “We want to make it more attractive and a safer, more accessible way to walk through our city.”
In Cooperstown, Tillapaugh touted the Village’s upcoming street renovations, including the $2.1 million Main Street building project, which will include new sidewalks, signage improvements and new stoplights at the Main and Chestnut intersection.
“We will no longer be a one-stoplight town,” she said.
Additionally, new crossing signs will “chirp” for the hearing impaired, bringing the Village closer to ADA compliance.
With Democrats now in control of the state Senate, Seward reiterated his commitment to Upstate infrastructure. “When they talk about fixing the MTA, I’ll be at the table saying we have huge road and infrastructure needs here,” he said. “Whatever is done to the MTA, we need like amounts to address our needs.”
He also said he hoped to expand the STAR program to small business owners, as well as continue to expand rural broadband access.
“I’m not interested in shouting or finger-pointing,” said Seward. “I’m interested in getting results for the people of our region.”
And Herzig stressed that cooperation between the City and the Village, as well as the state, was vital to the health of all.
“Moving across the finish line requires shared vision and compromise,” Herzig said. “We need to think about the greater good, not just self-interest, and we need to accept change and innovation.”
He continued, “Opportunities like this don’t come very often, and they do not come easy, but we’re up to the task.”