Study To Find Use For 200-Acre Site
By JIM KEVLIN • HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Edition of Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
Santa Cuomo didn’t have everything the Otsego County IDA wanted in his sack of state economic-development funding this year, but he has handed out $47,500 for a marketing study for Oneonta’s long-vacant 200-acre D&H Rail Yards.
“We’re eager to get the process started,” said Sandy Mathes, CEO of the county IDA, after the governor announced this year’s awards Thursday, Dec. 11.
The county IDA – the Industrial Development Authority – plans to move forward on a proposal from Clark Patterson Lee, a consulting firm with offices in Albany and Rochester, to prepare an ec-dev plan for the rail yards, Mathes said.
The governor’s announcement underwrote three other IDA “consolidated funding applications” (CFAs) for state ec-dev funding:
• $400,000 for Springbrook to renovate 10 group homes throughout the region where the school’s special-needs students live.
• $200,000 for a county Agricultural Microenterprise Program, which, in collaboration with CADE (the Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship, on Elm Street), will train 10 farmers to market products to the New York metropolitan area.
• $58,000 for Cooperstown’s update of its comprehensive master plan and a strategy for development, led by Elan
Planning, which was involved in the revival of Saratoga Springs and other Upstate communities.
This is in addition to $2 million in CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) money the governor awarded to the county on Dec. 4, including $200,000 to train 80 people at the IDA’s new Susquehanna Regional Center for Growth on the fifth floor of 189 Main.
While the D&H funding was appreciated, Mathes expressed disappointment that other IDA projects – the Upper Susquehanna Regional Ag Center at Chestnut and Market and a commerce park in Richfield Springs, in particular – weren’t chosen as well.
“We’re going to advance both those projects on our own with IDA funding,” said Mathes, who was brought aboard last January to lead a three-year, $3 million IDA effort to improve the county’s economy.
By “working harder, strengthening our projects,” he said, the IDA hopes to have better success next year.