News of Otsego County


Springbrook, Roots, Sal’s Receive Funds For Upper Floor Housing


City Hall Funding

4 Projects To Install

Upstairs Apartments

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

The upstairs of the Shops At Ford and Main, owned by Peter Clark, will be renovated for apartments. ( photo)

ONEONTA – City Hall this afternoon announced funding to renovate the upstairs apartments on four downtown buildings, a key step forward in the $10 million state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) now entering its fourth year.

Apartments will be built above Joseph Grigoli’s Sal’s Pizzeria, 285 Main St.; Peter Clark’s Shops at Ford and Main, 250 Main St., Russ Scimeca’s Roots Brewing Company, 177 Main St., and Key Bank, a project proposed by Springbrook earlier this year, at 186-212 Main Street.

“I congratulate the recipients of the Round II Downtown Improvement Fund awards,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “These four local businesses have demonstrated a willingness to invest their time, energy, and resources into the revitalization of our downtown.”

From All, Best Wishes For A Speedy Recovery


From All, Best Wishes

For A Speedy Recovery

$10 MILLION MAN: State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, is flanked by, from left, MVREDC chairman Robert Geer, Empire State Development Corp. President Howard Zemsky, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, when the City of Oneonta was named the first DRI community on July 20, 2016. (Ian Austin/

Editor’s Note: This editorial is reprinted from this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal, on newsstands now.

The news that state Sen. Jim Seward’s cancer is back – his office issued a press release Wednesday, Nov. 6 – brings two immediate reactions.

One, fingers crossed. Advances in cancer-fighting research can mean five years, 10 years – and more – of active living. Everyone’s got a story of a happy outcome.

Two, reflections immediately come to mind on the ongoing Seward Era of Otsego County politics. It’s been a charmed one, and to reflect on it underscores how his recovery will be good news for all of us.

Just think about this decade, the State Sen. Jim Seward Decade, if you will.

Developers Sought For ‘High-Quality, Upper-Story Units’


Developers Sought

For ‘High-Quality,

Upper-Story Units’

City Hall Wants Applications

For $400,000 More In Funding

An artist’s rendering; of future Oneonta from the DRI website.

Monday, the City of Oneonta will begin accepting applications for a second round down Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants, this one to create “high-quality upper-story housing units” in the downtown.

Applications for the money from the city’s Downtown Improvement Fund will be due by 4 p.m. Friday, July 12.

$400,000 in grants is available.  However, if any winners of $2 million in the first round, announced in March, do not follow through, that money will be folded into the second round.

Downtown Revival IS Exciting; Let’s ACT Excited


Downtown Revival IS Exciting;

Let’s ACT Excited About Plans

The March 8 announcement of $2 million in downtown grants took a backseat to protests about D&H-yard redevelopment. Attendees, like Environmental Board chair Mark Davies, picked up the list on
the way out the door.

There’s a lot going on in the City of Oneonta right now, as City Hall’s DRI (the Downtown Revitalization Initiative) begins distributing $10 million in state money,  leveraging it in a way that attracts many millions more  in private investment.

Certainly, there are time pressures. There are conflicting agendas. There’s not ever going to be enough money to make everybody happy. Lately, environmentalists are ready to swoop down on any development that may require more energy, (which is every project).

So from time to time, it may be hard to remember this is the fun part.

Plan ‘Transformative,’ But Details Still Fuzzy

Plan ‘Transformative,’

But Details Still Fuzzy

Nothing On File, And Officials Unclear On How $225K Will Be Used

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Cherie Welch, Oneonta, strolls down Main Street toward the Westcott Lot, passing 218-224 Main St., whose owner WHH Realty received $225,000 for a “Transformative” project. No further details are available.


ONEONTA – The DRI Project Selection Committee called the project “transformative” and awarded it $225,000.
But it turns out few details are available on what WHH Realty Corp., owned by city Planning Commission chair Anna Tomaino and her husband, Jimmy T’s proprietor Jim Tomaino, plan for 218-224 Main St.
Asked for details, Project Selection Committee chair Kim Muller, the former mayor, texted, “Some of the information you are looking for may be confidential … I’m trying to figure what level of detail I can share.”
She referred questions to the Tomainos and Mayor Gary Herzig.
Anna Tomaino said, “We want to develop that space for more businesses to move into. We want to see Main Street grow.”

HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Mayors Herzig and Muller announce the first DRI grants Tuesday, March 5, at Foothills.

Downtown Improvement Awards Will Be Announced Tuesday March 5

Downtown Improvement Awards

To Be Announced Tuesday March 5

ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig will announce the recipients of the $2.3 million in Downtown Improvement Funding as part of his State of the City address at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5.

“The grant applications from our business owners far exceeded all expectations,” said Herzig. “That so many demonstrated a willingness to invest their time, energy, and resources into building a better downtown is very exciting. The award announcements, along with the State of the City address will now mark the transition from Downtown Revitalization planning to implementation.”

Consultant To Give Final Report on Oneonta Theatre Next Tuesday

5-Year Business Plan Due

For Oneonta Theatre Fans

By LIBBY CUDMORE – Special to

Duncan Webb, founder of Webb Management Services, presented his findings on the future of the Oneonta Theatre and how it can be used to help revitalize the downtown. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – The consultants at Webb Management will give their final recommendations for a five-year business plan for the Oneonta Theatre at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Foothills.

The performing arts management consultants, who shared their initial findings in December, will report on their study of the local demographics and tourism data for our area and region, and give an overview of their recommendations for a five-year business plan for a revived Oneonta Theatre.

Consultant: Save Oneonta Theatre, Let Foothills Help

Consultant: Save

Oneonta Theatre,

Let Foothills Help

Oneonta Theatre owner Tom Cormier, left, listens to consultant Duncan Webb’s presentation on future possibilities for his landmark property. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Duncan Webb, founder of Webb Management Services, presented his findings on the future of the Oneonta Theatre and how it can be used to help revitalize the downtown. 

ONEONTA – The Oneonta Theatre is worth saving.

Duncan Webb, found of Webb Management Services, the premier consultant on revitalizing and managing historic theaters, told a gathered audience at Foothills that the 121 year old theater, now owned by Tom Cormier, was viable, and recommended that it be renovated and “aligned with the downtown” in helping to attract visitors who shop and stay in hotels in Oneonta.

But most notably, he said that the theater, once restored, should partner with the Foothills Performing Arts Center, rather than be in competition with it, and that Foothills should manage the theater’s operations. Additionally, he recommended that SUNY Oneonta partner with the theater to develop programs based around the college’s theater and music departments.

Common Council Approves $25,000 For Artspace Survey

Common Council Approves

$25,000 For Artspace Survey

Though initially concerned that the city wouldn’t get their money’s worth, Council member Michele Frazier, First Ward, joined the unanimous vote to give SUNY Oneonta the $25,000 technical assistant grant, through the DRI to bring Artspace to survey the city as a possible site for affordable living and studio space for artists. (Parker Fish/

Full Story In Hometown Oneonta,

On Newsstands Wednesday Afternoon

In DRI Era, Historical Society Opens Urban Renewal Exhibit

In DRI Era, Historical Society

Opens Urban Renewal Exhibit

Against a backdrop of aerial photos from the Urban Renewal era, Bob Brzozowski, Greater Oneonta Historical Society executive director, welcomes visitors to “Urban Redevelopment: Oneonta’s Downtown in the ’60s and ’70s,” this afternoon at the opening reception.  The aerial photos, showing the City of the Hills before and after a few dozen downtown buildings were demolished, was designed to provide historical perspective as the city moves forward with its DRI, the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative.  The aerials were in the former Common Council conference room, and became available when the space was converted into City Manager George Korthauer’s office.  At right is an architect’s drawing of a 10-story apartment house proposed for what is now Muller Plaza. (Jim Kevlin/

All Ideas On the Table At Comprehensive Plan Open House

Bike Trails To Candy Store,

Open House Covers Gamut

Brenda Korthauer, wife of City Manager George Korthauer, posts a suggestion on the wall of the CANO gallery at the Wilber Mansion during the Open House for the Comprehensive Plan. “We’ve done this before,” she said. (Ian Austin/
Mayor Gary Herzig and Council member Russ Southard, Sixth Ward, discuss Short-Term Rentals, one of the hotly debated topics at the Open House.

ONEONTA – Bike trails, a candy shop, blade signs and more winter recreation were all suggestions made during the Comprehensive Plan committee’s open house in the CANO galleries at the Wilber Mansion earlier this evening.

“To build a good community, we need input from everyone,” said Ethan Gaddy, an Elan Planning community planner. “This sort of forum works because it’s a non-threatening way to make your voice heard without having to stand up in a meeting or fill out a form online.”


Past, Present, Future

Of Downtown Oneonta


DRI WALKING TOUR – 7 p.m. Explore Main and Market Street areas covered by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative with Mayor Gary Herzig and the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. Learn about the Past, Present, and Future of Downtown Oneonta. Call (607)432-0960 or visit

THEATER – 7 p.m. The Glimmer Globe Theater presents William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. Call (607) 547-1492 or visit

Westcott Lot Tops Wish List


Westcott Lot Tops Wish List

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced the Downtown Revitalization Projects that would be funded, including the Transportation Hub, the redevelopment of the Westcott Lot and enhanced signage for downtown during  a presentation at Foothills this afternoon. (Ian Austin/
Cuomo Administration OKs Oneonta Revitalization Ideas

Cuomo Administration OKs

Oneonta Revitalization Ideas

Replacing the former Oneonta Ford building, left, with a new Food & Beverage Innovation Center, including three stories of apartments, won the Cuomo Admnistration’s approval.

ONEONTA – After review, the Department of State today released the final City of Oneonta Revitalization plan, spreading $14 million in seed capital over 14 projects and downtown initiatives.

The 149-page document appears to include the major front-burner projects that have been part of the public discussion for months, including the Food & Beverage Innovation Center and redevelopment of the D&H Yards.

“A public informational meeting will be scheduled this spring to discuss both the plan and the planning process ahead,” said Mayor Gary Herzig.


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