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.
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.
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.
Nothing On File, And Officials Unclear On How $225K Will Be Used
By LIBBY CUDMORE
& JENNIFER HILL
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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/AllOTSEGO.com)
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.”
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 www.oneontahistory.org
ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig announced this morning that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be at Foothills Performing Arts Center at 12:30 today to make an announcement relative to the city’s DRI (downtown revitalization initiative).
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.