ONEONTA – When Ben Lockwood, vice president of Housing Visions, came to Oneonta six years ago, he knew he had the tools to fill a need. “I saw the Oneonta really needed housing,” he said. “The student population puts a stress on low-income residents who need access to their jobs, services and shopping.”
That project fell through. But Wednesday, at the city Planning Commission meeting, Lockwood got to present a 60-bedroom project two years in the making. “We want to be a catalyst for positive sustainable neighborhood revitalization,” he said.
Since 1990, Housing Visions has built 1,300 low-income units in Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Oswego, Rome and Corning.
In 2012, former city manager Mike Long and Planning Commission vice chair Gary Herzig – also chief operating officer of Opportunities for Otsego – approached Lockwood again in hopes of revisiting the project. “There isn’t much low-income housing here in Oneonta,” said Herzig. “This is an important need.”