The mayors of Cooperstown and Oneonta opted to take regional economic and cultural development into their own hands this month with the debut of a project they’re calling “The Cooperstown Corridor,” highlighting what they see as reasons businesses and people would want to relocate in Otsego County.
“Clearly Cooperstown has name and brand recognition all over the world,” Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek said in a discussion with The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta. “When we’re talking to people about bringing their businesses here or moving here, they like to know about Cooperstown and our connection to the village.”
“Think of all the people who come to Cooperstown All-Star Village,” he said. “We want to get them while they’re here. Find out about our main streets. See what that short drive between Oneonta and Cooperstown has to offer.”
Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh agrees, as evidenced by her longstanding observation that businesses and localities throughout the county benefit from the ‘Cooperstown’ brand.
“I’ve said it so many times,” she said. “Cooperstown seems like the only place around here that doesn’t have a baseball village with the word ‘Cooperstown’ in its business name. The Cooperstown name extends all over Otsego County.”
The two mayors – securing the support from their respective local legislative bodies – collaborated on a full-color brochure calling out to ‘retirees, young families, and businesses,’ bosting, “Now visualize yourself as a member of a welcoming community, surrounded by some of the most scenic landscapes in all the country, where a small city and quaint local villages provide entertainment, dining, shopping, and recreational and educational opportunities galore.”
“This is our shared quality of life in the ‘Cooperstown Corridor’ – the 25-mile long sceneic stretch from the city of Oneonta to the villages of Milford and Cooperstown,” the marketing piece reads. “We love it here. We know that you will, too. This is your invitation to join us.”
The two localities sponsor the brochure and its corresponding website – cooperstowncorridor.org — with the support of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, OtsegoNow, and Destination Marketing.
Mayor Tillapaugh calls the brochure outreach “a drop in the bucket” when it comes to marketing the region.
“Otsego County needs to do more,” she said. “They do a fine job attracting ‘heads and beds’ for visitors who come and go, and they enjoy the revenue from the hotel tax. We need people to come and stay. We need people who will volunteer for the fire departments and school boards. Shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants all year long. We need people who come to visit and like it so much they decide to stay and live and grow here.”
Mayor Drnek is optimistic the ‘corridor’ partnership will encourage local residents and businesses to participate even more in community-building activities and will serve as ‘ambassadors’ for Oneonta, Cooperstown, Milford, and the whole of Otsego County. He’s particularly bullish on building a relationship with the new owners of Cooperstown All-Star Village, located in the Town of Oneonta.
“They’re the third leg of Oneonta’s three-legged stool,” he said. “The colleges, the hospital, and All-Star Village. They’re all so important to us; they’re the economic drivers that bring the name recognition to town. I’m excited to have Cooperstown All-Star Village as a part of our planning, part of our city growth.”
“It’s the Cooperstown name,” Mayor Tillapaugh said. “If this ‘corridor’ idea helps my village get a little more visibility, visitors, and new residents from the people who are traveling to go to things named after Cooperstown, then that’s great.”