News of Otsego County

Downtown Oneonta

CANO’s City of the Hills Festival Returns

CANO’s City of the
Hills Festival Returns

On Saturday, September 17 from noon to past midnight, Community Arts Network of Oneonta (CANO) will bring back the popular City of the Hills Art Festival.

“This is the largest committee we have ever had. Due to the pandemic, there hasn’t been a festival in 3 years, so we decided to extend the festivities, said Hope Von Stengel, Executive Director, CANO.

There will be a mural unveiling, yoga, activities for adults and children, drum circle, downtown art walk, craft beer garden, live music and performances, vintage/art/maker vendors and more.

Springbrook closes on Ford Block

Ford Block plans proceed as Springbrook closes sale

Springbrook’s long-term plan to convert space in Oneonta’s downtown to market-rate housing took a big step forward last week when the nonprofit finalized the purchase of the Ford Block buildings from 186 to 212 Main Street.

The nonprofit provider of supports and services to people with developmental disabilities will begin renovations on the space in July. The $8.9 million project will keep existing retail space on the lower floors while the upper two stories will be converted into 24 affordable, market-rate residential units, with four units reserved as integrated housing for people receiving services from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Renovations will also revive the pass-through area from the municipal parking lot to Main Street.

Springbrook has funded the purchase and planned renovations through various funding sources, including a City of Oneonta grant, a City of Oneonta Downtown Revitalization grant, an Empire State Development grant, Community Preservation Corporation funding, NYS Homes and Community Renewal financing, and the Berkshire Bank Historical Tax Credit.

Common Council votes to repeal mask ordinance for downtown Oneonta

Common Council votes to repeal
mask ordinance for downtown Oneonta

STAFF REPORT • Special to

The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday, May 18, to no longer require masks in downtown Oneonta.

Masks would still be required at public events, such as the Memorial Day celebrations, because of the amount of people who cannot safely social distance.

Businesses and places of worship will still have the right to require masks.

The new mask guidelines will take affect in two weeks, after it is signed by Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig.

Surprise Birthday Parade Marks Hoffbaeur’s 80th

Surprise Birthday Parade

Marks Mrs. Hoffbauer’s 80th

Linda Herring places a lei of Hawaiian flowers around the neck of an elated Ingrid Hoffbauer, during a surprise Birthday parade for her 80th birthday on Saturday in Oneonta. Lured downtown by a ruse about an issue with the storefront of the former Alpine Ski Hut, which she operated for decades with her husband Eduard, she was shocked when nearly 30 vehicles of friends and family, plus a fire engine adorned with a banner, drove by honking, cheering and passing out presents. “This is my blessing.” said Mrs. Hoffbauer, wiping away tears. “I may not be the queen of the parade, but I feel like it today!” As she paused for a family photo after the parade, she said, “I hope this brought spirit to downtown. Even with COVID, if you follow the rules, you can have fun!” (Ian Austin/

Big Crowds Turn Out For Main Street Halloween

Big Crowds Turn Out

For Oneonta Halloween

While the annual Halloween parade may not be on, that gave throngs of ghouls, ghosts, superheroes and princesses all the more reason to head downtown for the annual trick-or-treating event on this afternoon on Main street in Oneonta. Above,  Brendan DeFalco, a brother with Chi Phi fraternity, hands out candy outside Tokyo Japanese Cuisine to Oneonta’s Reese Robinson and Rowan and Wyatt Keto. At right, Benjamin Reese shows how to walk like a robot in his homemade robot costume. College students were invited downtown to help hand out the candy in front of local businesses as part of the renewed Town-Gown work groups, part of the city’s Survive, Then Thrive initiative. (Ian Austin/

Lobsters Return  To Downtown Dining

Lobsters Return

To Downtown Dining

Wiley Laidlaw, the cook at the Autumn Cafe, pics out lobsters for at Friday’s Lobster and Oysters on Main Street dinner event at the weekly Survive Then Thrive event. “We had lobsters last week.” explained owner Wayne Carrington, “It was so popular we brought it back and added oysters!” Today’s event also featured live music by the Little Delaware Youth Ensemble, a pig roast, Chinese Auction and a shot of Oneonta’s Architecture at GOHS. (Ian Austin/

Council Approves Main Street Closure, Dining

Common Council Approves

Main Street Closure, Dining

ONEONTA – Starting 9 a.m. next Saturday, July 18, and continuing through Sept. 5, Main Street from Elm to Chestnut will be closed to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining opportunities.

“It’s highly marketable,” said Council Member Mark Drnek, Eighth Ward, who chairs the Survive, Then Thrive committee. “Downtown Oneonta could become the Best Restaurant in New York.”

Restaurants will be able to place tables in front of their restaurants only, as well as determine whether to offer service or ask diners to order take-out. Patrons will still be required to wear masks where social distancing is not possible.

A Horse, Of Course, But In The CITY Of Oneonta?

A Horse, Of Course, But

In The CITY Of Oneonta?

County Rep. Adrienne Martini’s husband Scott Seger snapped this photo of a mysterious rider this afternoon at the corner of Union and Spruce in the CITY of Oneonta.  Is that even legal?  Anyhow, EVERYBODY was out (and mostly social distancing) in Oneonta and throughout Otsego County this afternoon, as the sun stayed out all day and the temperature went in to the high 60s for the first time this year.  More of the same tomorrow. 

Rain Plays Tricks, Doesn’t Deter Treaters

Rain Plays Tricks, But

Doesn’t Deter Treaters

Erratic rain throughout the evening led to the cancellation of Oneonta’s annual Halloween parade, but all manner of ghouls and ghosts made their treat-seeking rounds at local homes and businesses this afternoon and evening. Above, Devin El, Leilani El and Ziyen Giles passed City Hall on their treat-hunting mission, with Lizzette Hopkins and Edward Giles, Maryland, in tow. Inset at right, Oneonta’s Jessica and Paul Benzaleski arrive downtown with their children Adalia and Reilly ready to take home some sweets.(Ian Austin/


Prepare For The Holidays


PRE-CHRISTMAS SALE – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Find gently used holiday decorations including lights, undecorated wreaths, ornaments, tableware, more. Also enjoy goodies at bake sale. Proceeds benefit mission programs of United Methodist Women. Cooperstown United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9515 or visit

At Long Last, Bomber’s Burrito Bar Opens Its Doors!

Bomber’s Burrito Bar

Opens For Business!

With much anticipation, Bomber’s Burrito Bar on Main Street in Oneonta celebrated a soft opening this afternoon with a ribbon cutting. According to a sign on the door, the local branch of the Albany-based franchise will be open for business tomorrow, “pinky swear.” From left: Alan Sessions, CDO Workforce, Council member Dave Rissberger, third ward, Deb Marcus, president, Family Planning of South Central NY, Barbara Ann Heegan, President, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, Charlie Hewitt, manager, owner John Hewitt, Jim Hewitt, manager, Mayor Gary Herzig and Jimmy Vann, owner of the Bomber’s franchise. (Ian Austin/

It’s A Wrap!

It’s A Wrap!

‘We’re Onta Something’ Merchandise

Delivered To Downtown Merchants

Karen Backus, the Green Toad Bookstore, prepares to wrap up a purchase in the new Oneonta-themed paper that Trampoline delivered as part of the “We’re Onta Something” advertising campaign that debuted last month. Downtown merchants received wrapping paper, coasters and other paper goods to help market Oneonta as a place to shop, dine and enjoy. (Ian Austin/

Cool Weather Attracts Grand, Glorious Crowd

Cool Weather Attracts

Grand, Glorious Crowd

Oneonta’s annual Grand & Glorious Garage Sale drew thousands to Main Street today in search of bargains, food, friends and music by the Oneonta Community Band. Celebrants (and buyers) included, top photo, Bradley Jones, Oneonta, who plans to hang the snowshoes he picked up on the wall of his recently purchased log cabin. In middle row, Bob Holstead, representing the League of Women Voters, was registering voters, while Neida Mita, Franklin, left, and Denise Hudson, Delhi, representing Oneonta’s Seventh Day Adventist Church, were promoting their upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Cooking Class, 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, at the church, 634 Route 205.  Bottom row, Linda Drake booth, selling colorful women’s clothing from India to benefit her husband Ashok Malhotra’s Ninash Foundation, was among the busiest vendors. At right, Nolan Bubany, 2, of Meredith, and mom Kristin Antin, listen in admiration to Weston Hill, up from Nashville to perform last evening at the B-Side Ballroom.  He’d bought the guitar for $40 at the tag sale and “thought I’d try to make some of my money back.”  He added, “You’ve got a nice town here.” (Jim Kevlin/

Klugo Renews Interest In Stevens Hardware

Klugo Renews Interest

In Stevens Hardware

5 Apartments May Be Considered There

Stevens Hardware in downtown Oneonta is up for a possible redo.

ONEONTA – Bresee’s savior Chip Klugo it at it again.

Common Council Tuesday evening will consider seeking a Restore NY grant to redo the former Stevens Hardware Store to the west of the former department store, according to the agenda for the meeting released this afternoon.

The money “would be used to partially offset costs of rehabilitating an abandoned building at 151-153 Main St. as planned by Klugo Properties, East Corning,” the agenda states.  Word is he plans to put five apartments in the structure.

Fokine Mice Scurry Throughout Downtown

Fokine Mice Scurry

Throughout Downtown

If your were in downtown Oneonta this morning, you may have noticed a lot of mice running around, but not to worry, it is not an infestation, they were taking part in the annual Mice On Main Street event promoting the Fokine Ballet’s upcoming production of The Nutcracker on December 8-9 at Goodrich Theater! The mice hid in various stores throughout downtown and if you found them all, you Above, Jillian Lifgren, Oneonta, plays with a train set at Monkey Barrel Toys while Julia Kropp, right, was found hiding behind the Bresee’s Santa at The Greater Oneonta Hisotrical Society. If you managed to find them all you win a free ticket to the performance. (Ian Austin/

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