Herzig: Winning Cuomo Contest
Will Put City Over ‘Tipping Point’
By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig this evening announced the City of Oneonta will be submitting an application by the 4 p.m. deadline next Tuesday seeking the whole $10 million Governor Cuomo has designated for downtown redevelopment in the Mohawk Valley.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the League of Women Voters, Oneonta chapter, Herzig said the City of the Hills “has been pushing a boulder up a hill … When you get to the top, it only takes a little push to get it over the top.”
Oneonta is at “a tipping point,” he said.
The $10 million, he said, is that little push, all that Oneonta needs to move dramatically forward, to leverage private investment to address the city’s two key needs: more good-paying jobs and sufficient housing, now lacking “at every income level.”
He put those two needs in the context of numerous assets, and he ticked them off: a historic downtown “surrounded by remarkable natural beauty,” an Interstate, railroad access, an expanding airport, plenty of good water, “two fine colleges,” all “30 minutes from a national tourist attraction,” the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The money Herzig is seeking is part of a $100 million statewide downtown-redevelopment contest Cuomo included in this year’s budget, $10 million for each of the state’s 10 economic development regions.
The money can be allocated to a single city, or it can be divided up. Utica-Rome, said Herzig, are “the gorillas in the room.” But to Utica-Rome, the money would just be another $10 million among hundreds of millions of state and private funds going to nanotechnology development at SUNY Polytechnic.
In Oneonta, $10 million “is a resources that can really be transformative,” the mayor said, allowing “an authentic place” – authenticity (and walkability) being what Millennials want – to flower.
His daughter, a lawyer in Brooklyn visiting with friends recently, gave him added confidence in that. When they departed, his daughter observed: “Oneonta is a cool place.”