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Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh

‘Say Their Names’ Memorial Approved By Cooperstown Board

‘Say Their Names’

OK’d In Village, Too

Mayor Questions Doubleday Field Locale

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The proposed Cooperstown ‘Say Their Names” memorial would be similar to one erected in Oneonta in July. Here, Diandra Sangetti-Daniels, speaks at the dedication. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – A memorial to black lives lost to racial injustice and police brutality was approved for display in Cooperstown by the Village Board during its meeting this evening.

“It’s a great idea,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch.

The memorial, spearheaded by Jennifer Dibble, Hartwick, would include laminated photos of black men and women from the “Say Their Names” memorial database, affixed to the fence with zip-ties, and decorated with flowers. A dedication, including blessings from Jonathan Brown and Rev. LaDana Clark, is also planned.

A similar memorial was erected in Oneonta earlier in the month, along the fence above the Westcott Lot.

Village Sets Aug. 19 Public Hearing For Mask Mandate Law

PUBLIC HEARING SET ON MASKING

One Business Already Cited

For Failing To Require Masks

Cooperstown Village Attorney Martin Tillapaugh invited Village Board Members to make amendments to the new mask mandate law, which will be put before a vote and a public hearing at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10. (Jim Kevlin/allOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

A masked Mayor Tillapaugh at the Village Board’s first in-person meeting since March.

COOPERSTOWN – At the Village Board’s first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Monday revealed that an unnamed Main Street business has already been issued a citation for failing to comply with the state’s mask requirements.

“Our police have been walking Main Street, and so far, only one business has not been compliant with the state guidelines,” said Tillapaugh.

According to the mayor, they were issued by the county Department of Health for violation of state health regulations and Executive Order 202.16 requiring face coverings for employees interacting with the public.

Tillapaugh, Katz, Endorse Buttermann For Assembly
Debate Held Tonight Over Zoom

Tillapaugh, Katz, Endorse

Buttermann For Assembly

Katz
Tillapaugh

COOPERSTOWN – Ahead of his democratic primary debate against Corey Mosher, Assembly candidate Dan Buttermann has received endorsements from Mayor Jeff Katz and current Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh for the 121st Assembly District seat.

“I’ve known Dan for years,” said Katz. “He’s a great listener, engaged and active, and a thoughtful person. More than that, he’s a good and decent man, exactly the kind of person we need in the Assembly. I fully endorse Dan Buttermann for Assembly in the 121st District.”

$5M Redo of Doubleday In Time For Anniversary

$5M Redo of Doubleday

In Time For Anniversary

Because of a tree and shrub underlay from the 1950s construction of cement bleachers, the land underneath the bleachers, removed last year, had to undergo remediation to support a new structure. While the rest of the Doubleday Field renovations are days from completion, the third-base plan – bleachers, restroom, offices and a bullpen at the far end – will have to be scaled back. Construction on a new plan, perhaps with a mezzanine instead of a pavilion, is expected to begin next year. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN• Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – “Personally, for me, The Sandlot Kid, in a place of prominence,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch when asked about the most meaningful part of the $5-million-plus redevelopment of Doubleday Field. “He’s so special.”

Victor Salvatore’s bronze sculpture of a barefoot farm boy with a bat on his shoulder was installed in 1939, when the Doubleday Field grandstand was completed. “One of the true icons of the game,” the Dickson Baseball Dictionary calls it.

The mayor recalled her dismay in the 1990s when renovation around the statue made it look like it belonged to adjacent Key Bank, not the village and the baseball community everywhere. “He was fenced off and not given the space he deserved,” she said.

Now, it’s been moved to the center of the main, brick-covered walkway from Main Street to the grandstand entrance, to inspire and be admired by hundreds of thousands of fans heading into Classics and Hall of Fame award ceremonies in the years ahead.

“My favorite part is the grandstand piece,” said Trustee and Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, a CGP historic preservationist who walks her dogs daily through the construction site. “We found ways to make this really fantastic structure increasingly accessible. Most of the stuff from that era is slipping away. We found a way to highlight it and keep it functional.”

“It looks beautiful,” said former mayor Jeff Katz; the planning began in his administration. He cited the new archway, the prospective informational signage, the pedestrian walkway, The Sandlot Kid.

“Those are just a handful of things that people said could never get fixed – they’ve gotten fixed, and they are continuing to be fixed,” said Katz, a baseball writer who is also president of the Friends of Doubleday, a private fundraising entity.

The rethinking of the Doubleday parking lot and renovation of the 1939 grandstand was supposed to be finished by last Friday, May 15. But with the COVID-19 threat cancelling the May 17 Hall of Fame Classic game, the urgency dissipated. The mayor says the work will now wrap up in mid-June.

Also remaining is the redevelopment of the third-base bleachers. When the 1950s-era cement seats were removed last year, the soil beneath was too soft to support and bleachers, rest rooms, offices and pavilion planned there.

Delaware Engineers and Saratoga Associates, a landscaping firm, are now conducting “value engineering” to see how much of the original plan the village might still afford, the mayor said. That work may be delayed until 2021.

But that did little to allay the mayor’s excitement at what has been done since May 21, 2018, when she and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announced a $1 million grant from his office and another $3 million in anticipated state funding to renovate the Doubleday Field property just a few months past its 100th anniversary on Sept. 6, 2019.

Then-Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, came up with another $1 million grant that December.

The grandstand, a WPA project, was completed in May 1939, in time for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s first Induction of Babe Ruth and five other early heroes of the game. So this month is that structure’s 80th anniversary.

In a tour of the near-complete site the other day, the mayor was enthusiastic throughout, from the new “Doubleday Field” entrance archway at Main Street, to the sweep of pedestrian walkways on the parking lot’s east and west side, to the burial of all electrical conduits leading to the historic grandstand, a $300,000 project. (If those are your sneakers thrown over the wire, claim them now.)

The outer walls have been repaired, using some of the original shiny yellow-brown tile saved from previous repair jobs. The gable, vintage lighting and the sign on the front entrance are repaired and painted, and will be illuminated by spotlights set in the new brick sidewalk below.

Inside the grandstand, handrails have been installed for the first time. The painting and repairs are being finished. The pressbox – it was discovered the support posts were rotten – had to be repaired. The dugouts, damp and earthen-floored, have been renovated.

The one disappointment is the cavernous depression along the third-base line, but that has been
stabilized sufficiently to allow the new plan, when determined and funded – with perhaps a mezzanine instead of a pavilion – to go forward.

On the way out, the mayor paused at a doggy water fountain, attached to one for human beings, at the entry arch.

Back on Main Street, the mayor points out that the $2.2 million federally funded TEP (for Transportation Enhancement Program) – in the works for seven years – is being completed at almost exactly the same time.

She pointed out the two sets of poles to string promotional banners across Main Street – one at Key Bank, the other at the former general store. At Main and Chestnut, the new traffic signal and pedestrian walkway lights went into service last Friday, May 15.

She is particularly looking forward to the installing of new “way-finding” signs, in a design developed by the late Art Calhoun in his metal-working shop on Linden Avenue.

One side will direct visitors to local shops, restaurants and attractions; the flip side will be interpretive, one detailing The Doubleday Myth, another Otsego Lake, others the Clark and Cooper families’ contributions.

Katz called the lack of interpretive signage “a time-honored problem … Everything that’s happening now is addressing decades-old issues – group space, beautification. Some study in the 1970s said the Doubleday parking lot was the only example of urban blight in the village.”

“In the’40s, the Bursey playground was there. There were gazebos there. It’s just a thrill to see it’s moving forward,” he said.

Turn On Porch Light For Hometown Heroes

EDITORIAL

Turn On Porch Light

For Hometown Heroes

In New York City, folks are leaning out their windows beating on pots and pans at 7 each evening, an appreciative salute to the First Responders in our latest national trial: Healthcare workers, from ambulance drivers to surgeons, and everybody in between.

In more sedate Cooperstown, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch had an appropriate alternative: the Porch Lights for Support campaign.

(Thankfully: lawnmowers will be roaring soon enough.)

The idea is for residents to turn on their porch lights each evening so, when our local heroes drive home from Bassett Hospital, they do so through a continuous salute of lights.

Some folks immediately warmed up to the idea, and the tributes are in evidence evenings in Baseball Mecca, but not yet the unbroken line signalling the message: Thank you.

A parade of firetrucks, organized by two fire chiefs, Cooperstown’s Jim Tallman and Fly Creek’s Chris Vuolo and the county’s assistant emergency coordinator, Victor Jones, passed by the Bassett campus the other evening in a salute to our First Responders. Great stuff.

But anyone, and everyone, can get in the swing of things, not just in Cooperstown: Maybe the idea will catch on throughout the county.

At a time like this, a cavalcade of lights through all our communities would be a morale booster for all of us.

Paid Parking, Parks Remain in $3.8M Budget
Trolley Service Suspended Until July 1

Paid Parking, Parks

Remain in $3.8M Budget

The Cooperstown Village Board met remotely and streamed the budget hearing on YouTube. From top left, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Joseph Membrino, Jim Dean  Cindy Falk, Teri Barown, Village Clerk, MacGuire Benton, Rich Sternberg, Jeanne Dewey, and Deb Guerin, Village Treasurer.

COOPERSTOWN – Though the Cooperstown Village Board had considered a late start or suspending it entirely, they voted that paid parking will go into effect on Memorial Day weekend as part of the $3.8 million budget approved during their monthly meeting.

Trustee Cindy Falk estimated that revenues will only be $100,000 for the year, down from $463,000 last year.

“It’s a huge punch in the gut,” said Trustee MacGuire Benton.

Village May Put Off Paid Parking Until July

Village May Put Off

Paid Parking Until July

The Cooperstown Village Board met remotely and streamed the budget hearing on YouTube. From top left, Cindy Falk, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Teri Barown, Village Clerk, MacGuire Benton, Rich Sternberg, Joseph Membrino , Jeanne Dewey, Jim Dean and Deb Guerin, Village Treasurer.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Paid parking could be suspended into the middle of the summer, according to Village Trustee Cindy Falk, who proposed the idea during a budget hearing streamed live over YouTube this evening.

“Our paid parking is closely aligned with visitors, and it’s a situation that’s impossible to predict,” she said. “I wonder if at this point, we should consider putting off paid parking until July 1 to give everyone time to get comfortable and for businesses to start re-opening.”

‘Porch Lights’ Proclamation Honors Essential Workers

MAYOR TILLAPAUGH DECLARES:

Turn Your Lights On

To Support Heroes

Of COVID Pandemic

Mayor Tillapaugh makes sure her porch light is in good working order after this morning’s proclamation. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – In a proclamation issued this morning, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch established a Porch Lights For Support program, starting tonight.

Before you go to bed, she asked Cooperstown residents, turn on your porch lights  as “a visible way to show support for all essential workers…in gratitude for all those working to keep us safe.”

The idea picks up on New York City folks making a ruckus with pots and pans at 7 each evening to show support for healthcare workers fighting the pandemic.

CLICK TO VIEW TEXT OF PROCLAMATION

 

3 Democratic Candidates Seek Separate Independent Lines
Village Board Races Shaping Up

3 Democratic Candidates Seek

Separate Independent Lines

COOPERSTOWN – Joining Republican Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns, the three Democratic incumbents for Village Board filed for independent lines on the March 18 ballot by the 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday evening.

In addition to having her name on the Democratic ballot line, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch will appear on the “Village United” line.  Trustee Joe Membrino’s line is “Liberty Party,” and Trustee MacGuire Benton’s, “Many Voices, One Village.”

Santa Arrives At Renovated Pioneer Park

Santa Arrives At

Renovated Pioneer Park

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch welcomes Santa and Mrs. Claus to Pioneer Park Friday, Nov. 29, where $165,000 in renovations had just been completed. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

When Santa arrived at his Cooperstown cottage on Friday, Nov. 29, he arrived at the brand-new Pioneer Park.

“The last design I could find was from 1965,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch. “There haven’t been a ton of changes since then.”

In 2018, the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce kiosk was updated with a touch screen, and a bike rack and bike repair station were built as part of the $2 million federal grant Transportation Enhancement Program.

But because the park is considered an “urban park,” Tillapaugh said, applications for funding direct upgrades to the space were ignored.

“It doesn’t have a swimming pool or anything,” she said. “So it wasn’t a priority for the state parks department.”

In all, the redesign cost $165,000, and went to bid in June. “When I was chair of the (village) Parks Committee, I built up a reserve of funds,” said Tillapaugh. “This year, we put the remainder of the balance into the budget.”

Michael Haas, Delta Engineering, Endwell, was selected as the architect. “He designed the Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater at The Fenimore Art Museum,” she said. “He had done urban parks in Corning as well, so we were very familiar with his work.”

The work began Labor Day weekend – “We never do any work in the summer season,” said Tillapaugh – with Kevin Green of Epic Landscaping doing the work.

“Everything had to be done by Nov. 8,” she said. “That would give us time to clean up and for the 4Cs to decorate for Santa’s arrival.”

And Santa was a big consideration for the design of the park. “We consulted with The 4Cs,” – the Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee – “And we made sure they were in the loop as we did the design.”

Santa’s Cottage, once at the front of the park, has been moved towards the back to allow for more space in the park for the line to form. “Before the move, people would line up on the sidewalk,” she said. “It allows for better flow and for the whole park to function better.”

There is also a ramp to the new stage, which allows greater accessibility to Santa’s Cottage, and a hidden PVC pipe that allows them to set the tree up with ease. “Before, we were just digging a hole and putting the tree in there, then covering it up with dirt when we were done,” she said. “People would trip over it, so now, there’s a manhole cover.”

The stage is also a new addition, proposed in 2018. “Before, we just had blue flagstone space that musicians would set up,” she said. “So we built a stage with a ramp and more outlets for our Music on Main programming.”

And the park will also host a Keith Haring-style mural next summer, in conjunction with an exhibit of the late artist’s work at The Fenimore.

New plant beds with granite borders were installed, and new plants to fill them. “We planted two birches, and we have a London Planetree that we will plant in the spring,” she said.

A water fountain with a bottle fill station was placed in the park with a temporary concrete pad, but has been removed for the winter and will be replaced in the spring with permanent brick pavers.

“It’s not just about Santa,” she said. “The whole park is greatly improved.”

 

Mayor Tillapaugh Honors Vets At Centers

COOPERSTOWN VETERANS DAY

Mayor Tillapaugh Honors

Vets At Cooperstown Center

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh greets veteran George McCrea at a Veterans Day commemoration at The Cooperstown Center this afternoon. McCrea, formerly from Laurens, served in the Navy for four years and recalls when his ship, the USS Leyte, hit a whale. “It stopped the ship dead in the water – I couldn’t believe that,” he said. During his service in the late 1950s, his aircraft carrier was responsible for patrolling the northeast coast of the United States. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)
Pioneer Park Stage, Doubleday Field Bleachers Part Of Cooperstown Improvements

Pioneer Park Stage,

Doubleday Field Bleachers

Part Of Cooperstown Upgrades

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh updated residents and business owners on four major projects underway in the Village tonight.
Highlights included a new $9 million wastewater treatment facility, with ground broken for it on Aug. 16; $2 million Downtown Streetscape and Pedestrian Improvement, which, when concluded this fall, will have a midblock crosswalk from the north side of Main Street to Doubleday Park’s entrance, upgrades to the four-way traffic light at Main and Chestnut Streets and refurbished signage, among other improvements; Pioneer Park Upgrade, which will include relocating the kiosk over towards Riverwood, installing a six-inch raised stage for musical performances, and a wider entrance to Santa’s Cottage; and $5.8 million Doubleday Field Renovation, which will re-start in September with the developing of a new, more visible Main Street entrance and pedestrian access. Construction of a new third-base building, which will include space to rent out for a party of up to 70 people, and installation of new third-base bleachers in front of it will be worked on through spring of 2020. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)
Mayor Tillapaugh Welcomes New Granddaughter

Mayor Tillapaugh, Husband

Welcome First Grandchild

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and her husband, Gary Kuch, the town justice and Clark Scholarship Foundation director, welcomed a new granddaughter this morning, Monday, Aug. 12. The baby, whose name has not yet been revealed, was born to their daughter, Dr. Rachel Kuch-Cecconi, and her husband, Dr. John Cecconi. She weighs 6 pounds, 13 ounces. 
Mayor: Let Committee Study What Flags To Fly

Mayor: Let Committee

Study What Flags To Fly

Editor’s Note: This was reprinted from the current edition of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta, available at local newsstands.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to AllOTSEGO.com

Tillapaugh
Benton

COOPERSTOWN – As suggestions expand to hanging banners beyond the Pride Flag on the village’s flagpole, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch is asking Trustee MacGuire Benton to form a committee with two other trustees to develop a policy for all such requests.

“We need a policy, that’s exactly right,” said the mayor, after Benton, in response to last week’s article, said his intent – and, he believes, the Village Board’s vote at its July 22 meeting – specified the Pride Flag would hang next June on the Main and Pioneer flagpole, not on Village Hall.

TILLAPAUGH: Prosperity, Offerings About Here

COLUMN

Prosperity, Offerings

About Cooperstown

Editor’s Note: Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch delivered these welcoming remarks when NYCOM, the New York Conference of Mayors, convened Sunday, May 6, at The Otesaga, for its three-day annual conference.

Mayor Tillapaugh

I have had the opportunity over the past year to welcome several groups to Cooperstown – but I have to say this is one of the more intimidating as I am facing a room of peers – elected officials who have all had to provide similar welcomes in their own communities.

But welcoming NYCOM here is a task I wanted, because it is also a chance to say “thank you,”
because in the eight years I have served in village government, I have truly relied on the expertise, guidance and training provided by NYCOM staff. I have also benefited from the experience and knowledge shared by other elected officials.

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