By LIBBY CUDMORE
Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Council member Russ Southard, Sixth Ward, Greater Oneonta Historical Society Executive Director Bob Brzozowski, developer Seth Clark and Destination Oneonta’s Rachel Jessup were all named this evening to the Steering Committee to update the city’s comprehensive master plan.
“This is the group that will facilitate the update to the 2007 comprehensive plan, incorporating the City’s vision, addressing the railyards and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative,” said Mayor Gary Herzig.
Since the arrival of Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes, communities have learned that, to win state grants, they must have a current master plan, and craft projects that are in line with that master plan. In the past three years, Cooperstown, Richfield Springs and, now, the Town of Maryland, are updating their plans to enable economic development.
Led by Elan Planning of Saratoga Springs, which has also worked with the three other communities, the updated plan will include an inventory and analysis of existing conditions, a vision statement, goals, and recommendations; further, the plan update will include a deeper examination of the City’s housing and parking assets and needs.
Also on the committee are Al Rubin, A&D Taxi; Dennis Finn, the engineer and City of Oneonta Planning Commission; Hartwick College’s Mark Davies, SUNY Oneonta’s Alex Thomas, and realtor Joan Fox.
“I’m assuming there will be routine representation from department heads?” asked Council member Joe Ficano, Eighth Ward.
Herzig said that Judy Pangman, Community Development director, and Meg Hungerford, finance director, will attend each meeting. “This way, they can stay informed and be a resource for the committee.”
No chair has been selected, and Herzig believes the committee will choose its own.
And the people of Oneonta will have their chance to weigh in. “Community input will sought with one-on-one interviews, focus groups and public engagement sessions,” said Herzig. “They are tasked with getting this input.”
“People sometimes feel like they don’t have a voice,” said Council Member Melissa Nicosia. “But they do. If you’re going to have these public meetings, people need to feel like they’re being heard.”
The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 5. The committee was approved by a Common Council vote, minus Council member Paul van der Sommen, who was absent.