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Zakrevsky, 6 College Profs

Agree: Clean Up Railyards

SUNY’s Vogler’s Students Will Help Define Wetlands

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Zakrevsky at this morning’s meeting in Richfield Springs. ( photo)

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky met with six Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta college professors in his boardroom last night to talk about the development of an “eco-commercial park” in Oneonta’s D&H Railyards, he told a gathering of businesspeople here this morning.

“We all want to see something happen there.  We want to do it right,” Zakrevsky reported in a follow-up interview.  “It’s the last piece of developable land in the city.”

The Otsego Now executive let the news drop on the latest stop on his countywide “Town Hall” tour to explain what IDAs do.  Today’s audience was Richfield Springs Chamber of Commerce members; the session was co-sponsored with the Otsego County Chamber in the Richfield Springs Community Coop on Main Street.

In the follow-up interview, Zakrevsky said he and the professors agreed on a first step for the railyards: clear out the trash.  “People are going through there now, and it’s dangerous,” the economic developer said.

Nothing specific was decided, but the group plans to meet again.  Maybe city crews can get involved, Zakrevsky said.

Also, Donna Vogler, SUNY Oneonta biology professor, said she and her students will take on the responsibility of defining the extent of wetlands within the railyards, which will need to be known in the planning of whatever ends up there, Zakrevsky said.

“It was very cordial, everybody got along,” he said.

The meeting was set in motion by emails from two Hartwick College professors: Mark Davies, coordinator of the Environment, Sustainability and Society Major, and Kate O’Donnell, sociology, looking to discuss “potential solutions to energy issues.”  Davies, a Common Council candidate, also chairs the city’s advisory Environmental Board.

Both were asking him to sit down and begin discussiing creation of an “eco-commercial park” in the railyards, an idea that Davies first brought into the public discussion at the Otsego County Chamber’s Jan. 31 Energy Summit at The Otesaga.

Zakrevsky said he emphasized that even in Devens, Mass., one of only two self-described “eco-commercial parks” gets only a fraction of all its power from renewable energy.  “You need a mix,” he said.

In addition to Davies, O’Donnell and Vogler, attendees include Hartwick professors Karl Seeley, economics; Ryan Ceresola, sociology, and Kevin Schultz, physics.

There were seven additional chairs in Otsego Now’s conference room at 189 Main, and Zakrevsky suggested all be filled at the next meeting – but, to keep the discussion focused, no more.


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