It was a sellout crowd last Friday, January 20, as the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual “State of the State” networking breakfast. The conference, which took place in the Otsego Grille of SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall, was introduced by Sean Lewis, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, as a vehicle to “allow the panelists a chance to express their view of where we are and their vision of where we are heading.”
The panel of eight public figures included New York State Senator Peter Oberacker and Assemblymen Brian Miller, Chris Tague and Brian Maher, whose constituents reside in various portions of Otsego County.
The county itself was represented by County Administrator Steve Wilson and Treasurer Allen Ruffles. Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek and Village of Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh rounded out the panel.
Josh Edmonds has decided where he will work to make a difference in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
“The built environment accounts for 40 percent of global emissions,” said Edmonds in a recent interview. “Furthermore, two thirds of existing buildings will still be in use in 2050.”
Thus, the mission of Edmonds and his company, Simple Integrity, is to turn standing buildings into high-performance structures and build new ones that are carbon-neutral. With 80 percent of their projects consisting of existing retrofits, it’s clear where the passion lies.
COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Hospital’s proposal to build housing for its employees on Averill Road, on property owned by the Templeton Foundation, was the subject of a public hearing before Cooperstown’s Board of Trustees on January 5. That hearing was in conjunction with the board voting on whether a special permit to allow the construction should be granted and, if granted, under what conditions or limitations.
The hearing had attracted interest and was well attended.
At the outset, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh set the ground rules for the hearing. After the Bassett representatives explained the project, each participant was allowed five minutes to comment.
CORTLAND Springbrook has been selected by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities as the housing support provider for development of the Cortlandville Commons at 968 NYS Route 13 in Cortlandville. This development will create 68 new residential units of workforce housing. Springbrook has partnered with Regan Development Corporation, an experienced residential and commercial developer, who will begin construction in October 2023 with tenant occupancy planned for November 2024.
ONEONTA – We wanted to create something that we would be proud of owning and something that the community needs.” This was the impetus behind Chestnut Hill Estates, with 10 new luxury apartments now housed in the former Chestnut Street School.
Now getting into our ninth decade of life, we find there are concerns that weren’t there in our eighth decade.
The latest concern is downsizing. Even though we older folks want to stay in our present home forever, the reality is that the constant upkeep, inside and out, becomes very difficult. So now is the time, and many others feel this way too, to move forward to the next stage of our lives. Now is the time to sell the house and move to a first floor, handicapped accessible two-bedroom in Cooperstown. BUT—now the problem! These apartments are like finding “hens’ teeth” (as my Dad used to say). We don’t want to put our home on the market, and have no place to live.
Springbrook has finalized the purchase of the Ford Block buildings from 186 to 212 Main Street, Oneonta.
The nonprofit provider of supports and services to people with developmental disabilities will begin renovations in July of 2023. 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).
The building will be renamed “The Ford on Main.” Renovations will include the addition of an elevator to give residents access to Main and Water streets as well as improvements to the pass-through area from Main Street to the municipal parking lot on Water Street. Springbrook has funded the project through grants from the City of Oneonta and City of Oneonta Downtown Revitalization Initiative, an Empire State Development grant, Community Preservation Corporation funding, New York State Homes and Community Renewal financing, and the Berkshire Bank Historical Tax Credit, among other sources.
Regular construction updates will be posted on The Ford on Main website, www.thefordonmain.com. As the project begins, the website will house architectural plans and a “contact us” option for community members who wish to share their perspective on the plans and renovation progress.
Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County is one of the local chapters, called affiliates, of Habitat for Humanity International. Our official mission is “seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope” with a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
In the early 1970s, on a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, Linda and Millard Fuller developed their idea of “partnership housing,” in which those in need of adequate shelter worked side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. Thanks in no small part to the personal involvement of former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn and the awareness they have raised, Habitat now works in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries. The key to Habitat is partnering with potential homeowners. Partner families actively participate, actually wielding hammers and drills to build their own homes.
Otsego County has received nearly $14,000 in funding from the federal Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program for local agencies providing food and housing and will work with a local board of religious and health and human service agencies to award and distribute the grant.
Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive the funds must: 1) be private, voluntary nonprofits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capacity to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board.
Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. Public and private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program Funds must contact Patricia Leonard at the Family Service Association, firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 432-2870 for an application.
Applications must be received via email by June 27, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Elected November 4 to his first term as a member of the Town of Oneonta Board at only age 24, Skylar Thompson says he’s looking forward to working on the “day-to-day issues” having an impact on the place he’s lived his entire life.
“That’s what local politics affects the most,” the young Republican said. He cited rural broadband and enhancement of Town parks and recreational facilities as two general areas of interest, but said, too, that he’s eager to learn the priorities that come before the Town government.
ONEONTA — In a two and a half hour meeting, the issue of housing was forefront as the Common Council struggled to come to agree on the choice of an out-of-city resident as part of the housing commission on Tuesday, July 20.
This appointment was narrowly approved, 4-3, with Kaytee Lipari Shue, Len Carson and Scott Harrington being the dissenting votes.
The motion to appoint Audrey Benkenstein, with the addition of Oneonta resident Peter Friedman, was brought up for a second time after being voted down during the last common council meeting, something that Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig told AllOtsego.com last week was “mystifying,” since Lipari Shue had pushed for a non-city resident to be on the Arts Commission.
The main point of contention was that Benkenstein was not a Oneonta resident. However Herzig pointed out her appointment was voted down “only minutes after approving a Cherry Valley artist” for the Arts Commission.
Herzig said the Arts Commission held real power whereas the Housing Commission was an advisory position, and therefore those appointed to the Housing Commission were not considered officials with any kind capacity to approve anything.
COOPERSTOWN — More than 50 people packed the Cooperstown Central School cafeteria for a public hearing on the proposed Chestnut Crossing apartment complex at 10 Chestnut St.
The Cooperstown Village Board of Trustees moved the meeting to the middle/high school because of the public hearing, the first official chance for residents to speak for or against the 13-unit apartment complex proposed by Josh Edmonds and Francesca Zambello for two pieces of land they own on Chestnut Street and a third on Pine Boulevard.
The overflow crowd did not disappoint, with about 30 people speaking on the issue and two more speaking about a proposed licensing law for village-owned Cooperstown icons. Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh lifted the typical one-hour limit length for public hearings, gave each speaker five minutes to speak on each issue, and even allowed a handful of people to speak a second time or ask limited questions.
The public hearing portion of the meeting took more than two hours and the meeting itself wrapped up after 11 p.m, but Tillapaugh said she expected as much.
One would like to believe that Cooperstown, once referred to as “America’s Favorite Hometown,” is a thriving, dynamic community.
A walk down Main Street in July or August, with crowds of people swarming the streets and shops, would suggest that it is indeed as billed. The same walk in January or February, with darkened, shuttered store fronts and empty parking spaces, would offer a very different impression.
When the remarkable increase in the country’s taste for baseball and its memorabilia in the late ’80s and ’90s dramatically altered Cooperstown’s Main Street, with baseball-themed shops largely established and managed by non-local proprietors replacing the mixed-use, community-based businesses run by local residents for 200 years, Cooperstown’s business district turned a very unfortunate corner.
With the advent of the “Cooperstown” baseball camps, located in Hartwick and Oneonta, people began to buy, convert and even build area housing to cash in on an extremely lucrative weekly summer rental market. That housing is in many cases owned by non-local, absentee landlords who make enough of a killing in the summer to allow them to sit vacant for the long off-season months. In a few years, the availability of housing in and around the Village became as hopeless as a Main Street parking space in summer.
Moving? Whether you have changed countries or states or cities or streets you probably have some stories? Hearing a tale from a friend brought to mind some of the terrors.
One of the scariest moves I made was back to upstate New York after years working in cities — first in New Zealand, then London and, finally, in Manhattan. It was a frightening move from my big-time journalism job at NBC to work with my husband to start a business and to become a financial advisor. My friends worried I would regret abandoning that career to move from city life to country life.
We could make this work.
We had to buy a house upstate and simultaneously sell our house in New Jersey. Most everything we owned had to go to upstate New York, except for some things I needed for my last few months working in Manhattan, when I would share an apartment near Carnegie Hall.