By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
A ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 16, at Cooperstown’s Badger Park to open a new pavilion.
The purchase of the pavilion is a result of a partnership between Cooperstown Friends of the Parks and the Cooperstown Lions Club in conjunction with the village.
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – The mood was jovial Saturday, June 12, as about 60 people, including elected officials state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, gathered outside the Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the expansion to celebrate what is considered a big success for local businesses in particular and a revitalization of Railroad Avenue specifically.
Eugene Marra, the founder of Cooperstown Distillery, began with an emotional moment on losing his dad to the coronavirus. He said his dad was his “biggest fan and number one investor in this opportunity.”
However, the atmosphere was celebratory.
“It’s an auspicious occasion for sure,” Marra said. “As much as I want to claim it as my own, I want to share it all with you because you have made it possible,” Marra said.
Marra spoke at length about the trials and tribulations of opening the expanded brewery on Railroad Avenue. He talked about how COVID had delayed the opening a year and how the distillery was tasked with producing hand sanitizer during that time.
He also mentioned how he was initially told by real estate agents that opening a distillery in Cooperstown was not possible.
“I like to believe we are responsible for what has become a revitalization of Railroad Avenue,” Marra said, saying that industry on that street in years past, “appeared to be dead.”
Marra said that Cooperstown Distillery, which has been around for eight years, is the “story about how it takes a village … the village of Cooperstown.”
Marra said he was loaned about $100,000 and received state fund grants of about $80,000, citing that his success was thanks to “local money.”
“We all hear these phrases, buy local, shop local, stay local. We are all of that,” Marra said, calling the Cooperstown Distillery the “fabric of this community on a very local, grassroots level.”
“We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than the village of Cooperstown,” Marra said.
Tillapaugh said the Cooperstown Distillery is a business “in which the village takes a great deal of pride.”
She noted how the village implemented zoning law changes in order to help grow businesses.
“I certainly know what this Railroad Avenue looked like for decades,” Tillapaugh said.
She noted it was once not considered industrially viable, but that developments on the street, including the distillery and the Railroad Inn, created “positive synergy.”
DiNapoli joked he didn’t accept the invitation “because of the complimentary drinks,” but was happy to come because of how difficult a year it had been.
DiNapoli said that while Cooperstown is known for its Baseball Hall of Fame and Fenimore art museum that “the distillery becomes yet another reason to visit.”
“This really was an incredible effort with all stakeholders playing their role. That’s usually not how it happens,” DiNapoli said. “This is the model that should be replicated.”
DiNapoli said he was going to go back to Albany and tell other lawmakers to “look to what happened in Cooperstown as an example of how it should work” in terms of state funding for local businesses.
After the ceremony, people took a tour of the distillery.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26
FILM SOCIETY – 7 p.m. Cooperstown film society presents ‘Road To Perdition’ (2002) with special guest Rabbit Goody , textile historian/weaver, discussing her work on this & other films. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit www.facebook.com/FilmSocCoop/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, AUGUST 9
THEATER – 7:30 p.m. Performance “Billy Bishop Goes To War.” Set in 1914, follows journey of underachieving Billy Bishop on his journey to become a great fighter pilot. Explores complexities of heroism, cost of war, Britain’s colonial past. Free admission. Franklin Stage Company, 25 Institute St., Franklin. 607-829-3700 or visit franklinstagecompany.org/events/billy-bishop-goes-to-war/
With farmers, butchers, employees and friends alongside, Carrie and Doug Thompson cut the ribbon on their new business venture, Tthe Green Cow, as Steve Grubb and Brian Fassett, who work on the farm, hold the ribbon. The butcher shop, at 21 Railroad Ave., Cooperstown, features grass-finished beef raised on 450 acres near Richfield Springs. “This project has been 10 years in the making,” said Doug. “It’s been a fantastic journey for myself, Carrie and our two girls. It’s so special to bring it all together.” Following the ribbon cutting, the couple invited their neighbors to stay for some hamburger sliders, cooked by Grill Master Steve Gotwald and served up by store manager Karen Slowik, at right inset. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – ARC Otsego celebrated the grand opening of their Otsego ReUse Center on Duane Street this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of their location. Betty Li set up in the old Bresees’ warehouse, ReUse acts as a collection station for usable items that were destined for the landfill.
“Since our soft opening in November, we have already kept over fourteen tons of usable items out of our landfills.” remarked Pat Knuth, executive director of Arc Otsego.
“We have lots of people drop off great stuff!” said Bill Hardy, manager of the location. “Local contractors, Carpet Plus, Scholet furniture, Lowes, G&I Homes, SUNY Oneonta, they have all donated things here which we sell at a fraction of their original cost!”
The ARC plans to purchase the building from Mark Bresee in the fall and are currently looking for support to help with the purchase.The Otsego ReUse Center is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday.
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the grand opening of Burr Truck at 6180 Rt. 23 on Southside in Oneonta this afternoon at the former sight of Flagpole Nissan. Above, Bob Wood, Supervisor of the Town of Oneonta, Karen Lang, Otsego County Chamber, Jody Zakrevsky, Otsego Now, Mayor Gary Herzig, Barbara Ann Heegan, Otsego County Chamber, Mike Burr, Chuck Burr, owners of Burr Truck, Sandy Eighmey, Sidney Federal Credit Union, and Lillian McPhillips, Constituent Services representative, pause for a photo of the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Behind them are members of Boy Scout Troop 23, who were tasked with hoisting the 50’x 20′ American flag up the landmark flagpole. At right, scout leaders David Morell, Paul Van Der Kruk, and Pete Miller salute at the flag rises into the afternoon wind.
“The flag was right in the building!” said Chuck Burr. “I guess the former owners bought it before they left and they left it in there. We figured we would have it fly again to let people know we are here and open for business!”
Chuck Burr, who co-owns the Southside location with his cousin Mike Burr, are third generation owners of Burr Truck, which started in 1967 in Vestal. “We have a lot of customers here and we wanted to be able to service them better.” explained Burr, “We drove by, saw this building and thought ‘we can do something with that.’ One year later, here we are!” They currently offer truck parts for sale, but plan to expand in the next 3-6 months to include truck sales and leasing. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)