News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

MAyor Gary Herzig

Sixth Ward Housing Project Pulled From Agenda

Sixth Ward Housing Project

Pulled From Planning Agenda

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Following public outcry and concerns that the city was swapping private property, Mayor Gary Herzig has announced that Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS), the organization spearheading a multifamily housing development project located off River Street in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward, has requested to have its plan removed from the Oneonta Planning Commission meeting agenda on Wednesday, Nov 21.

RSS’s decision came after Oneonta’s City Council chose not to move forward with a swap of city property for private property that was a necessary part of the planned location for the housing development, which would be for residents with low-to-moderate incomes.




Council, Town Board Must Adopt Agreement

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Town Supervisor Bob Wood and Mayor Gary Herzig met this morning to propose a five-year fire contract, with the town paying $1.15 million in 2019.

“It wasn’t a difficult thing,” said Wood. “The current contract of $1.1 million had no formula in place, so we looked at a modified version of the old formula to come up with this number.”




ONEONTA – The city and town of Oneonta yesterday applied for an $8.7 million state DOT grant to make Lettis Highway safer and more attractive and to build sidewalks between Home Depot and Lowes on Southside.

The grant application was approved at a special common council meeting Wednesday night to meet the deadline. Mayor Gary Herzig said he expects to hear on the application by January.

Delgado In Oneonta For 4th of July Festivities

Delgado In Oneonta

For July 4th Festivities

Democratic congressional candidate Antonio Delgado meets with Carla Nordstrom, a democratic activist from Seeds of Change, during Oneonta’s Hometown 4th of July celebration in Neahwa Park this afternoon. With him are Mayor Gary Herzig and Police Chief Doug Brenner. The city was one of three stops on Delgado’s first day campaigning following his primary win on Tuesday, July 26. (Parker Fish/


ONEONTA – There are 163 towns in the 19th Congressional District, many of them with fireworks, parades and other events celebrating Independence Day.  And Antonio Delgado, the Democratic candidate for Congress, chose to spend his Fourth of July in Oneonta.

“Oneonta is a wonderful place,” he said. “I have a responsibility to touch every part of the district, to meet with people and listen to them.”

Mayor Gary Herzig Endorses Jeff Beals For NY-19 Primary

Mayor Gary Herzig Endorses

Jeff Beals For NY-19 Primary

NY-19 democratic congressional candidate Jeff Beals, left, met with Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, right, at City Hall to discuss his vision for Oneonta. This afternoon, Herzig announced his endorsement of Beals’ progressive agenda.

ONEONTA – Citing a “bold progressive agenda,” Mayor Gary Herzig has endorsed candidate Jeff Beals for Congress in the June 26 Democratic primary in the 19th Congressional District, the first and only endorsement by a city mayor in the race.

“Jeff Beals is the tough, experienced progressive we need to take on John Faso in the fall,” Herzig declared. “He stands out in this race with a bold progressive agenda and the government background to make change happen.  He will win this race, and I stand with him and the movement he has built to change life here for the better.”

Oneonta AAA Finds New Home On Southside

Oneonta AAA Finds

New Southside Home

AAA celebrated the grand opening of its new location on Oneonta’s Southside with a ceremonial ribbon cutting this morning.  Participating were, from left, Nicole Roe,  Jane Murphy,  Vikki Bellinger, Laima Kauger, Stacie Medowcraft,all of Oneonta; Adrianna Lewis, Utica, Jamie Reynolds, Oneonta, Carol Morris, Utica, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, Kevin Morgan, Oneonta, Patti Artessa, Utica, incoming branch manager Stacie Harvey and Daniel Butterman, both of Oneonta; Otsego Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, current branch manager Deb Leach, state Sen. Jim Seward’s representative Catherine Mosher, Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, Karen Lang, Otsego County Chamber, Gary Lang, Oneonta Outlaws and AAA Regional Manager Ed Welsh. “Our company is committed to Oneonta,” said Welsh. “AAA has been in Oneonta for over 100 years and we’re not going anywhere. We plan to be here for a long time. We may be a national organization, but we hire strong, local, hometown folks.” (Ian Austin/
West Kortright Center Sends Director Off In Style

West Kortright Center Sends

Van Burek Off In Style

Mayor Gary Herzig and wife Connie give Martha Van Burek, outgoing director of the Wet Kortright Center, at Martha’s Great Retirement Rumpus on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of guests honored Van Burek, who has worked there for 43 years, with testimonials, musical performances and scenes from Shakespeare plays. Marie, Sander Sebastian, who owns the farm next door, presented Martha with a quilt made in 1987 bearing an image of the Center. “I just love this place.” said Van Burek, “It raised my daughter and now my grandchildren. It’s all so rewarding and I think you all for letting me do it.” (Ian Austin/



EDITORIAL: It’s Decision Time. But Is There The Will?

Editorial, May 5, 2018

It’s Decision Time.

But Is There The Will?

Gary Herzig

Question: Can Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig’s administration make tough decisions?
For one thing, whether or not to condemn the Twelve Tribes’ blighted Oneonta Ford property has been hanging fire since before Herzig took office. He’s now in his second term.
There is state money in hand to demolish what is a public hazard and state money to prepare the site for new construction. All that’s hanging fire is a tough decision.

Now, the April 30 deadline to clear out the venerable but – city inspectors have found – dangerous Oneonta Hotel is passed. Where’s the decision that’s been promised for months?
City Hall’s Board of Public Service declared the property unsafe in January 2017, 16 months ago. And still the building is occupied, and businesses are functioning on the ground floor.
You have to ask, what’s City Hall’s liability –and that of local taxpayers — if a fire or some other misfortune were to happen?
It’s past time to make a tough decision. Question: Can the Herzig Administration make it?
Question 2: Common Council has barely debated any issue publicly in months. Where are the Council members?

Declared ‘Unsafe,’ Oneonta Hotel To Be Vacated

Still Found ‘Unsafe,’

Hotel To Be Vacated

Following a declaration of “Unsafe,” the residents of the apartment in the former Oneonta Hotel are facing eviction. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – After finding “numerous violations” remaining at the former Oneonta Hotel, 195 Main St., City Hall has begun the process of evicting the remaining tenants following the passing of the April 30 deadline imposed for fixing building deficiencies.

“After review of all inspection reports, it is clear that numerous violations still exist,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “To protect the safety of the residents, general public, and our first responders, the city attorney is moving forward with vacating the building.”

Past, Present & Future Of Urban Renewal Focus of GOHS Panel

Urban Renewal, City Planning

Focus of GOHS Panel Talk

Keynote speakers SUNY President Nancy Kleniewski and Mayor Gary Herzig listen as Hartwick College Prof. Carly Ficano her remarks during a panel discussion on trends in urban renewal policies past and present held this afternoon at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. “Oneonta needs to consider how it looks to the outside world.” said Ficano, “We need to consider what we have to offer in order to bring new people and businesses to the area.” The panel discussed various trends that arose in the the 60’s and 70’s and how their effects are still felt and seen today in current and future urban planning for the City of Oneonta. (Ian Austin/
400 Join March For Our Lives

400 Rally, Supporting

‘March For Our Lives’

Over 400 people marched from Oneonta High School to Muller Plaza this morning as they took part in the national March For Our Lives protest for tougher gun legislation. Above, Caroline Bagby, a OHS senior and recent recipient of the Women’s Trailblazer Award, delivers an impassioned speech to those gathered in the plaza. Numerous people spoke including Mayor Gary Herzig, Assembly candidate Daniel Buttermann, Abbey Koutnik and others. At right, county Representative Danny Lapin, D-City of Oneonta, holds his sign high as the crowd marches down East Street during the first leg of the march. (Ian Austin/


Despite Student Outcry, Council Passes Fines For Party Hosts

Despite Student Outcry,

Council Passes Host Fines

James Kavanaugh, SUNY senior and president of the Inter-Fraternity Council at SUNY Oneonta, says that if Common Council fines people for providing alcohol to minors, there will be “unintended consequences,” including drinking in public spaces. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

ONEONTA – Despite Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta students protesting that the “Social Hosting” law could have “unintended consequences,” Common Council voted unanimously to pass a law which would create a fine of up to $1000 for any person holding a party or social gathering where minors were found to be consuming alcohol or using other illicit drugs.

“I’m concerned that many students at both Oneonta and Hartwick will start drinking in other places,” said James Kavanaugh, a SUNY senior and president of the Inter-fraternity Council at SUNY Oneonta. “God forbid someone were to fall off Table Rock after drinking a little bit. I believe that there could be unintended consequences if [the council] were to vote yes on this resolution.”

Is Historic Ford Block Finally Back In Play?


Is Historic Ford Block

Finally Back In Play?

After it’s sat vacant for years, talks are underway to revive the old Ford Block at Main and Muller Plaza.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

The Ford Block is home to Key Bank on the ground floor, but the upper two stories have been vacant for years.,

ONEONTA – With at least a decade since it was the focus of serious redevelopment interest, the intriguing Ford Block at Main and Muller Plaza, a signature downtown building, is again a focus of interest.

Mayor Gary Herzig said he’s spoken three times in the past few months with David Sarkisian, a member of the family real-estate and development firm in Binghamton that owns the property, and that the businessman is “very interested, very engaged” in adding “high-quality housing” to the upper two floors.

The building houses Key Bank’s downtown office at 202 Main, but the upper floors – looking out on Miller Plaza and up and down Main Street – have been unused for decades.

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.”

Spirit Of MLK Lives On At St. Mary’s Celebration

Spirit Of MLK Lives On

At St. Mary’s Celebration

Reginald Brunson, Hobart, delivers his rendering of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech at this afternoon’s MLK Day commemoration organized by the NAACP, Oneonta Chapter, at the St. Mary’s Church this afternoon. At Right, Mayor Gary Herzig takes to the podium to read a Oneonta City Proclamation, remarking “Fifty years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we find ourselves withe a President who is a racist. I feel that this is the time where every community, no matter how small, needs to speak out and do what is right.”  The annual celebration featured a large selection of talents with music from LadyJam, DJ Wooden, St. Mary’s Choir, Eight Is Enough, and the Steve Fabrizio Jazz Ensemble as well as keynote speaker Dr. Luvelle Brown, superintendent of Ithaca Public Schools, Gary Stevens,  and remarks from NYS Attory General Eric Schneiderman to name a few. (Ian Austin/

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