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

EDITORIAL: NYSEG Must Provide Full Range Of Energy

EDITORIAL April 20, 2018

NYSEG Must Provide

Full Range Of Energy

OTHERWISE, OUTMIGRATION INEVITABLE
From NYSEG Facebook page An Otsego Now contingent returned from a March 14 meeting reassured NYSEG’s new president Carl Taylor would help ease local energy shortages.

Let’s not be prophets of doom, but we’re all thinking people who can more or less put the pieces of the puzzle together.

In her March 29-30 column, our colleague,
columnist Cathe Ellsworth, alerted us to an
Albany Business Review report that Upstate
New York lost 2 percent of its population
between 2011 and 2015. Seven counties gained population; 20 lost it.
In our general area, Tompkins County – home of Cornell and Ithaca College – surprisingly lost the second most, 5.1 percent or 5,294 people. Our Otsego County was 11th on the list, losing 2.26 percent or 1,408 people.

The next week on our front page came the story, “Utility Retreats From Gas Pipeline Upgrade,” reporting how the utility serving our county, NYSEG, has backed away from upgrading the DeRuyter natural-gas line that runs to Sidney and then Oneonta, even though it received a rate increase to do so a couple of years ago.
In the article, Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky reaffirmed NYSEG can’t provide enough natural gas – or electricity, either – that any new manufacturer of any size would require to move here.
A Chinese company looking to establish a manufacturing plant somewhere in the U.S. came calling a few months ago, Zakrevsky continued. “We had proximity to an Interstate, water, sewer – but we could not meet their energy demands, either electrical or gas,” he said. “…Without that power, we’re limiting our ability to compete.”
The news hook for the story was a meeting state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, hosted at his Albany office in mid-March for local business and community leaders to make a plea to NYSEG’s new president, Carl Taylor.

Jody Zakrevsky Hired As Otsego Now CEO
CLICK HERE FOR PROFILE OF AIDA EXEC

Jody Zakrevsky Hired

As Otsego Now CEO

By LIBBY CUDMORE • www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Jody Zakrevsky, the former executive director of the Amsterdam IDA, has joined Otsego Now as the full-time CEO.

Zakrevsky, who joined the Amsterdam IDA in 2011, oversaw the development of The Edson Street Industrial Park, which includes tenants such as Losurdo Foods, Washburns Ice Cream/Refrigerated Lines, Mohawk Signs, Town & County Bridge and Rail, Bush Carpentry & Millwork and Northeast Riggers.

Otsego Now Gets It, NY Experts Declare

Otsego Now Gets It,

NY Experts Declare

Developers Need Rail Access,

Shovel-Ready Sites, Panel Says

Northern Eagle Beverage President George Allen, host of today’s Otsego Now’s annual meeting, welcomes the 50 attendees. The subsequent panel included, at front table from left, MVREDC Executive Director Mike Reese, Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger, Empire State Development Corp. VP Jerry Janiszewski, and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.  To Allen’s left is Devin Morgan, Otsego Now board chair.  In the foreground are, at left, Fox Hospital President Jeff Joyner and Community Bank Vice President Jeff Lord and, at right, county Rep. Craig Gelbsman, R-Oneonta.  (Jim Kevlin/The Freeman’s Journal)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes moderates the panel, which underlined all the economic development agency is doing right.

ONEONTA – Otsego Now has been on the right track, a panel of top state economic-development experts reported the county IDA’s annual meeting at Northern Eagle Beverage this morning.

Jeff Janiszewski, Empire State Development Corp. senior vice president/strategic business development, was asked, in light of plans to redevelop the D&H yards, how common are manufacturers who need rail shipping.  Not a lot, he said, but “when it’s required, it’s really required,” and there are few such available development sites in the state.

When county Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, asked about the importance of “shovel ready sites” – such a site is being developed for a distribution center in Oberacker’s district – Janiszewski responded, Otsego County “lost out time after time after time, because you didn’t have locations prepared for development.”

The good news, he said, is that industrial site-selectors are approaching him, looking for spots on Interstate 88, and the Schenevus site – the SEQR review is just beginning – may be a tempting one for selectors seeking “product,” as shovel-ready sites are called in the business.

D&H Yards Sold, In Public Hands

D&H Yards Sold,

In Public Hands

Sale Opens Door To Development

Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes, left, shows what the D&H yards have to offer to Phil Fontana, Norfolk Southern’s regional economic-development officer, who visited March 23. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

ONEONTA – The D&H railyards, focus of hopes for economic development in the City of Oneonta, is now in public hands.

A newly created local development corporation, Oneonta Rail Yards (ORY), a subsidiary of Otsego Now, has closed on approximately 80 acres of land surrounding the Norfolk Southern rail yards, which extend from Cliff Street to Ceperley Avenue.

ORY plans to seek shovel-ready status for any and all of the developable land, and will initiate environmental reviews of the property immediately, according to an Otsego Now announcement a couple of minutes ago.

Brooks BBQ Bottling Booms; Space Needed

Brooks BBQ Bottling

Booms; Space Needed

Bob Harlem alerts the Otsego Now board of directors this morning that Albany County and Cobleskill are seeking to lure an expansion of the Brooks BBQ bottling plant. With Harlem were fellow county Development Corp. board member Jamie Reynolds, left, and Jim Jordan of Richfield Springs, the architect. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Albany County, Cobleskill Poaching Jobs;

Otsego Now To Offer Shovel-Ready Site

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Brooks BBQ’s bottling business has taken off, and it needs an extra 150,000 square feet of space in the next two years to accommodate the growth, Otsego Now’s board of director was advised this morning.

And Otsego Now has just the place:  The shovel-ready site at the former Pony Farm.    “You could be in the ground in 30 days,” CEO Sandy Mathes told the directors.  He, COO Elizabeth Horvath and a board member, Craig Gelbsman, were asked to sit down with Ryan Brooks as soon as possible to see if an arrangement is possible.

Otsego Now Committee Goal: Full-Time CEO

Otsego Now Committee

Goal: Full-Time CEO

Hanft: Provision Will Blunt Momentum
Otsego Now chair Devin Morgan, left, and board members Rick Hulse, center, and Craig Gelbsman after voting aye on the committee minutes at Thursday’s meeting. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.allotsego.com

ONEONTA – The Otsego Now board of directors, at its monthly meeting Thursday, approved minutes of its new Reorganization Committee that includes among the committee’s goals: “engage in a search and hire a full-time CEO.”

The 2-5 vote came over the objections of board member Bob Hanft, immediate past chairman.  He said including that line in the Reorganization Committee’s 11 “duties and responsibilities” will only serve to slow Otsego Now’s current momentum.  “I think it does more harm than good.”

Hanft said the committee had been directed to come up with a plan for the future, and that taking on the mandate of seeking a new CEO should come only after a plan is developed and approved.  “I think that’s line should be stricken,” he said.

Landlords, Council Raise Concerns About DRI Projects

Landlords, Council Raise

Concerns About DRI Projects

Landlord Rick Weinberg, Rental Company One, addresses Oneonta Common Council and packed chambers this evening following Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes’ update on the status of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), funded with $13 million in state economic developing funding so far. “I heard from a friend of mine that his rentals are down 20 percent and he may have to leave the area,” Weinberg said. “Local landlords are not doing well.” Questions about housing needs were just one of the many raised during the meeting in City Hall, which lasted over two and a half hours. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Get Full Story In Hometown Oneonta

On Newsstands Wednesday Afternoon

Questions Greet, Applause Affirms Mathes Appearance

BRIEFING IN SCHENEVUS

Questions Greet,

Applause Affirms

Mathes Appearance

Among 75 attendees reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of this evening’s briefing are, from right, Paul Smith, James Heaney and his son, Tom, and Victor Hansen. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

75 Attendees Provided Details

Of Hunt For Distribution Center

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.allotsego.com

In the Schenevus AMVETS this evenng, Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes forsees “a very positive economic stimulus.”

SCHENEVUS – “Welcome,” an audience member called out when Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes finished introducing the concept of a 250- to 600-job distribution center to a community whose commercial base dropped from 57 businesses to a handful in the last half-century.

Even with 90 minutes of sometimes probing questions that followed from the 75 citizens at the AMVETS this evening, the audience broke into applause when the presentation and Q&A came to an end.

“We will be as aggressive as we can to maximize the local benefits,” Mathes pledged at several points.

But he also referred to the uncertainty and strategic nature of what lies ahead for 600-resident Schenevus and the Town of Maryland (total population 1,897) over the next couple of years.

“It’s like making a sports team,” he said.  “You’ve got to make the cut.”

DISTRIBUTION CENTER EYED FOR SCHENEVUS

OTSEGO NOW OKs OPTION

DISTRIBUTION CENTER

EYED FOR SCHENEVUS

250-300 Jobs, Construction In 2018 Possible

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Otsego Now today took an option on 175 acres off Interstate 88’s Exit 18 at Schenevus, aiming to bring a 250-300 job distribution center there, perhaps as soon at 2018.

The Otsego Now board of directors unanimously approved the $3,000-per-year option, which will allow the SEQRA process – the state-mandated environmental review – to begin as soon at March 1.  The goal is to create a “shovel-ready site with an eye toward attracting Amazon or another mega-retailer planning distribution centers in the Northeast U.S.

Otsego Now, Twelve Tribes Spar Over Oneonta Ford

Otsego Now, Twelve Tribes

Spar Over Eminent Domain

At a public hearing this morning, Lee Beane of the Twelve Tribes argues Otsego Now is offering too little for the Oneonta Ford building, site of the future “food hub.”   Listening behind him are Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes and lawyer Joe Scott. Hodgeson Russ LLP, Albany. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – As the plans for the Mohawk Valley Food & Beverage Innovation Center move forward, negotiations for purchasing the former Oneonta Ford building have grown tense.

“We’ve engaged in good-faith negotiations with the owners,” said Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes. “We’ve shared info, appraisals and environmental issues that need to be remediated.”

But with the option of eminent domain on the table, a packed public hearing was held this morning at the Otsego Now offices.

Council Debates Restoration, Demolition of 27 Market St.

Council Debates Razing,

Restoring Oneonta Ford

Members Apply For Restore NY Grant

To Tear Down Hulk At Market, Chestnut

Sandy Mathes. CEO of Otsego Now, explains that the building at 27 Market St. should be demolished , but the new structure will incorporate the look of downtown Oneonta. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Sandy Mathes. CEO of Otsego Now, explains that the building at 27 Market Street must be demolished, but the new structure will incorporate the look of downtown Oneonta. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

Nancy Powell, City Clerk, reads a letter from Karyl Sage pleading with the city not to destroy 27 Market Street.
Nancy Powell, City Clerk, reads a letter from Karyl Sage pleading with the city not to destroy 27 Market Set.

ONEONTA – There is no saving the Oneonta Ford building.

“We’ve had people inspect it and structurally, it cannot support the additional two, three floors as part of the Market Street project,” said Sandy Mathes, CEO of Otsego Now.

Mathes was responding in part to a letter sent by Karyl Sage and read by City Clerk Nancy Powell during the public hearing on Common Council’s intent to submit an application for a Restore NY grant with the intent of using the grant to purchase and demolish the building at 27 Market St.

“Demolition is not always the best answer,” Sage’s letter read.  “Look at Bresee’s and the Greater Oneonta Historical Society.  I ask that you consider rehab of the Oneonta Ford building.  It could very well become the center for the Food and Beverage hub.”

Railroad Avenue, Doubleday Lot Focus Of Village CFAs This Year

Railroad Avenue, Doubleday Lot

CFAs Prepared By Otsego Now

Otsego Now President/CEO Sandy Mathes, front right, and the Cooperstown Village Board discuss which CFAs to pursue this year. The comprehensive funding applications, Governor Cuomo's process for distribution $1/2 billion annual to Upstate regions are due by the end of the month; the winners are usually announced in December. Discussion focused on improvements to Railroad Avenue and the Doubleday Field parking lot. Others attendess, clockwise from Mathes, are Village Trustees Cindy Falk and Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, Mayor Jeff Katz, Village Clerk Teri Barown, and Village Trustees Bruce Maxson, Lou Allstadt and James Dean.
Otsego Now President/CEO Sandy Mathes, front right, and the Cooperstown Village Board discuss which CFAs to pursue this year. The comprehensive funding applications, Governor Cuomo’s process for distributing $1/2 billion annual to Upstate regions, are due by the end of the month; the winners are usually announced in December. Discussion focused on improvements to Railroad Avenue and the Doubleday Field parking lot, the Otsego Now is preparing CFAs on the village’s behalf on both. Others attendees, clockwise from Mathes, are Trustees Cindy Falk and Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, Mayor Jeff Katz, Village Clerk Teri Barown, and Trustees Bruce Maxson, Lou Allstadt and James Dean.   Mathes is scheduled to have a similar meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday with Oneonta Common Council.   (Sam Aldridge/AllOTSEGO.com)
No Broadband For Rural Otsego

Merger To Delay

Rural Broadband

Sandy Mathes had the difficult task of announcing to the Otsego County board that the broadband expansion project was being delayed by the Time Warner/Charter merger. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Sandy Mathes told the Otsego County Board of Representatives that the broadband expansion project was being delayed by the Time Warner/Charter merger. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – Word on whether Otsego County will win funding for a much-hoped rural broadband project has been put on hold until at least July, Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes told Otsego County Board of Representatives this morning.

County Board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, expressed dismay at the news: “Children who can’t access the Internet at home are at a severe disadvantage.  re we going to have to wait four more years?  That’s an entire class that will graduate from high school without this.”

NYC Consultant Karen Karp Chosen For Market Street Food Hub Study
‘FOOD-HUB SUPERSTAR’ ABOARD

 NYC Consultant To Study

‘Food Innovation District’

Sandy Mathes, foreground, explains to board chair Bob Hanft and the Otsego Now board about the Food Innovation District proposed by Karen Karp, whose firm will be conducting the Market Street feasibility study. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Sandy Mathes, foreground, explains to board chair Bob Hanft and the Otsego Now board about the Food Innovation District proposed by Karen Karp, whose firm will be conducting the Market Street feasibility study. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com) 

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

Karen Karp
Karen Karp

ONEONTA – Even before she had officially been signed to conduct of the feasibility study, Karen Karp of Karen Karp & Partners, a food-hub consulting firm out of New York City, already had ideas about how to take the proposed Market Street food hub to the next level.

“She said, ‘This isn’t about a food hub anymore’,” Sandy Mathes, Otsego Now president, reported this morning.  “She wants to look at Market Street, the railyard, Northern Eagle Beverages and the Hartwick College Craft Food & Beverage Center into a food innovation district.”

This morning, the Otsego Now board unanimously awarded the $165,000 project to Karp, with $150,000 coming from state funds received during this year’s CFA grants. “She’s out of New York City, so she’s very boots on the ground,” said Mathes.

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