ONEONTA – Otsego Now President Jody Zakrevsky may save Ioxus.
“Ioxus is in the process of being sold to XS Power Batteries,” he said, appearing Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Common Council, via Zoom. Its CEO Scottie Johnson “indicated he was planning on closing Ioxus and moving the company to Knoxville, Tenn., but we worked with him to keep the facility here.”
Doing so, he said, would invest $14 million in expanding the building and double the current employment at the company.
XS Power Batteries, based in Knoxville, is “a premium battery group and one of the fastest-growing players in vehicle and stationary battery space.”
“He plans on expanding his product line,” said Zakrevsky. “He wants to get into ultra-capacitors. We can keep him here and grow his company.”
Initially, he said, Johnson was interested in purchasing the equipment and moving it to his Knoxville location, but the equipment was too big to move and the plant there was too small to accommodate it.
Instead, Zakrevsky put together “a strong package,” with a PILOT agreement, sales-tax exemptions and a $1 million Empire State Development Excelsior Tax Credit award.
He also had Johnson meet with the Otsego County Chamber and local realtors who showed houses. They engaged in a discussion with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and heard a presentation from the state Power Authority.
“I think he appreciated that,” he said.
Zakrevsky said “it’s not a done deal,” but “it’s going forward.”
Otsego County small businesses and not-for-profit corporations with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for grants up to $500 to buy PPE (personal protective equipment) or install fixtures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as long as Governor Cuomo’s emergency declaration is in effect.
The new Community Foundation of Otsego County and Otsego Now have contributed $25,000 each to make $50,000 available for this purpose.
ONEONTA — A $420,000 grant so Andela Products Inc. can expand into the Richfield Springs Industrial Park leads off the list of grants Otsego Now is hoping to receive in this year’s round of state economic development funding, to be announced Thursday in Albany.
A $420,000 grant so Andela Products Inc. can expand into the Richfield Springs Industrial Park leads off the list of grants Otsego Now is hoping to receive in this year’s round of state economic development funding, to be announced Thursday in Albany.
Otsego Now’s Director of Finance & Administration Meaghan Marino will represent her organization, which either submits or advises project sponsors on the annual local CFA applications. CFA stands for “comprehensive funding application,” and is the state’s vehicle to distribute funding to the 10 economic development regions.
Usually, Governor Cuomo makes the funding announcements at a gathering in The Egg at the Empire State Plaza government complex.
Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky provided this list of local projects seeking funding this year.
Otsego Now/Richfield Springs Business Park
$2,123,000 Total Budget
Springbrook: Ford Building Restoration
$5,000,000 Total Budget
County of Otsego: Energy Study
$100,000 Total Budget
Oneonta Grain Innovation Center, Lofts on Dietz
$926,500 Total Budget
Babcock’s Tavern, Wells Bridge
$285,000 Total Budget
Otsego Now Halal Meat Processing Facility, Otego
$1,100,000 Total Budget
American XTreme Family Entertainment Center, Otego
FILM – 7 p.m. Showing ‘The Dragon Murder Mystery’ (1934) by Oneonta author S.S. Van Dine. Includes introductory remarks & talk back session. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org/index.htm
By JIM KEVLIN • The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta
COOPERSTOWN – When Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky arrived a year ago, he was told not to bring natural gas to Cooperstown, he said to a Cooperstown audience Monday, April 9, in one of several “Town Hall” meetings he’s convening around the county.
Asked afterward who told him, he said the leadership of Otsego 2000, board President Nicole Dillingham and Executive Director Ellen Pope. “They advised me there would be strong opposition,” said Zakrevsky. “At the time, I took their advice.”
Dillingham disagreed, “We had a cordial meeting to discuss our work, and his work. We never told him what he could do. That’s absurd.”
Otsego Now is the county’s Industrial Development Agency; Otsego 2000 is the Cooperstown-based environmental group.
There are two options to serving Cooperstown with natural gas, Zakrevsky said in an interview the morning after the “Town Hall” – running a line from Oneonta’s NYSEG system; or the preferred option, running a line down Route 28 from Richfield Springs’ Tennessee line, which has a greater gas supply.
Abolish Otsego Now? Goodness. It’s Otsego County’s “single point of contact” on economic development, the locus of job-creating efforts.
Adrian Kuzminski, our creative and thought-provoking columnist, suggests such in the column on the opposite page. Read the column. But here’s an alternative idea.
How about abolishing Otsego 2000? It’s arguably the “single point of obstruction” to any economic development in Otsego County, evident most recently in the drive to stymie a
10-year effort to redevelop Oneonta’s vacant D&H railyards.
Here’s just one instance: A few years ago, Otsego 2000 successfully blocked the 160-turbine
Jordanville wind farm because the windmills would have degraded the “viewshed” from James Fenimore Cooper’s Glimmerglass.
The typical 1.5 MW wind turbine creates enough electricity to power 332 homes; 160 would have powered 53,120 homes, more than double the 23,921 homes in Otsego County.
Now, Otsego 2000 has dug in its heels on bringing any more natural gas to Otsego County. Zilch. Nada. Zero.
ONEONTA – At his first “Town Hall,” Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky last evening asked a Shineman Chapel full of Hartwick College student for ideas, including what might keep them here after graduation, and they told him:
How about turning the Oneonta area into a beacon for renewable energy, asked Will May, a freshman from Pittsburgh. Referring to the Green New Deal, he said, “We should be proving it is possible.”
Ahead of opening his Oneonta office on Thursday, Feb. 7, Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, met with members of Otsego County’s small business community at Hartwick College’s Shineman Chapel this afternoon. “I’m best equipped as your advocate when I have spoken to you” he told, seated from left, Michelle Catan, Small Business Development Center director; Jill Morgan-Meek, owner, Transitions Boutique; Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky, and developer Ed May. The discussion was hosted by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, and earlier that afternoon, Delgado spoke with the Leatherstocking Young Farmers. At right, Jason Tabor, Principal Financial Group of Cooperstown and President, Friends of Bassett, engages Delgado on his thoughts about solving the county’s housing crisis. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, will open his office in the Otsego Now offices at 189 Main St. on Thursday, Feb. 7.
“Having an office in Oneonta was always going to be a key priority of mine. I’m very glad we’ll be opening the doors next week,” said Delgado. “Accessibility and transparency are key priorities of mine, and offices help ensure that we can make it as easy as possible for folks to share their views and get assistance with federal services.”
You may have noticed that Dec. 15 piece in the New York Times, “The Hard Truths of Trying to Save the ‘Rural’ Economy.” In it, reporter Eduardo Porter wrote: “I’ve lived most of my life in big cities. I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like to live in a small town or a family farm, or how it feels when all the jobs in a community seem to be fading away.”
You might expect what follows: It sounds like one of those stories Times reporters periodically transmit from Timbuctoo or some similarly exotic locale. All impressions. As if rural economic development – the War on Poverty, if you will – is all about feelings.
Here’s a more concrete objection: Porter equates Upstate New York – criss-crossed by four lanes, peppered with international airports, abounding with excellent colleges and universities, a couple of hours from the largest metropolitan economy in the country that also happens to be the center of the financial universe – with Harrison, Neb., wherever that is.
ONEONTA – At the urging of Otsego 2000 and 40 people who showed up at its monthly meeting, the Oneonta Town Board last night unanimously voted to oppose a $3.5 million state grant application for a gas decompression station at Pony Farm.
“No member of the Town Board is in favor of the decompressor gas station,” declared Supervisor Bob Wood at the start of the meeting.