22 Replies to “Comments”

  1. Be sure to read the comments at: http://VoicesofOneonta.com/comments
    We don’t want to forget about these. Many comments include great ideas that we need to refer back to.

    Back when people were commenting on VoicesofOneonta.com I thought maybe our voices would be heard. I was wrong. In addition to the written comments being ignored the verbal comments from the public at the eight State mandated DRI meetings also seem to have been ignored.
    Unfortunately, the anonymous person ‘Local Yokal’ was right when he/she commented on January 27th and said “that money was spent as soon as hit the city. Citizen input, A JOKE…. The City is going to spend that money the way they envisioned it, before any ideas from the residents……”.

    It is clear that what is being pushed on this community is not being done in their interests or reflective of their concerns.

  2. (I submitted a bunch of ideas on the VoicesofOneonta.com page.)

    Questions remaining:
    Can the city take more time to work this out? How arbitrary are the deadlines?

    (Is anyone actually compiling the community’s suggestions?!)

    Who will own/manage the proposed Food & Beverage building? If the answer is any individuals or for-profit companies, it is upsettingly unethical to envoke Eminent Domain!
    Let the 12 Tribes get a second opinion & pay a fair price, or pick a different site! Or negotiate with them so that they have a permanent stake in the new building for their bakery.

  3. One can admit that the student landlords have an economic stake in this matter while still agreeing that Market Street is unlikely to be an attractive location for non-student residents or that a reduction in available off-street parking would be a disaster for downtown businesses (and their customers).

  4. Eminent Domain is not the way it should go down..but then again just because they owe way more than the building is worth doesn’t mean they should get paid that..this idea is as ridiculous if not more than the eminent domain concept.
    There should be a fair market value price and sadly the eminent domain price is probably closer than the $450,000 or there about owed on the property.
    Not to mention who knows what lies underground and the cost to clean whatever lies below

  5. I have 12 years of banking experience as a branch manager here in Oneonta. I hold a real estate license and have had that for several years. I have been the general manager for the largest real estate management company here in Oneonta for the past 20 years. I find our current situation in the city extremely saddening and wish there were different issues we could be talking about. The current problem as I see it is that this program is backwards in its process . When the state hangs $10 million out for the cities to fight over in the criteria used is to how to make your city change for the better over the next 10 years it leads to a lot of speculation in multiple versions that must be put together in a fairly quick time frame. We find ourselves now in a situation where if we don’t act we lose 10 million in state funds. And our local government cannot imagine losing that kind of money even if it is used poorly on projects that are not well thought out and in the right sequence. It’s as if knowing, that if you swallow this sweet tasting sugar pill it is going to have an extremely bad effect on you but you cannot resist the sweet taste anyway. We need more time to do this in the right way and I’m not sure we are going to have that time. Small city governments get a mind set from a few outspoken members. This is then translates into momentum. This then takes on a life of its own and cannot get knocked off track. We witnessed this firsthand with hillside commons. I fear we may be too late in the process now and our only hope maybe to actually protest in Albany. The end result being we kill the project totally. It’s a sad state of affairs when that would be considered a win.

  6. I agree with Mr. Wilber’s comments with the exception of his final sentence. I believe wholeheartedly that to kill this project would not be a sad state of affairs, and would in fact be a win for the community.

    The sweet aroma of $10 million is covering up the rotten stench of the division that this offer is causing in the community and it is blinding too many people to the reality of the flawed economics inherent in the various proposals that have been brought forward by proponents of the plans. This is being viewed as “free money” which will bring about the salvation of the local economy. This cannot be done with $10 million in wealth distribution brought about by coercive government action. It cannot be done by improper application of the principle of eminent domain by forcing the Twelve Tribes to relinquish their property at a price they do not see as fair compensation. It cannot be done by using taxpayer money to fund private enterprises of any type. The only time government grants are necessary in private enterprise is when the proposed project is so dubious that no entrepreneur will come forward with investment dollars to fund it. Why should the taxpayers build a so-called food hub? If it is a viable business, let the free market build it. Why should the taxpayers build more apartments, or renovate old ones on Main Street’s upper stories when there is a glut of housing available in the city now? (I know this to be true as we own a small real estate company and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find tenants for the decent housing we offer). It is absolutely wrong to fund some business owners with tax money that other business owners are helping to provide but do not get the benefits of this distribution. Finally, why should the taxpayers provide for some colossus of a new 6 story building in the middle of town that will stick out like a sore thumb? In short, the entire proposal is nothing more than Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to ingratiate himself with the voters by using their money to make himself look like an effective leader. The $10 million is not nearly enough money to be worth the divisiveness this insane proposition has caused and will continue to cause.

  7. The DRI process sucks, and much of the responsibility for that rests with the Cuomo administration, which knows how to campaign and confuses that skill with governing. So the mayor and the committee were dealt a bad hand from the start.

    That said, the local process has not been inclusive or authentic, and there have been numerous missteps–from the crass bullying threat of eminent domain to the lack of public outreach. You could sense there was going to be blow-back on this many weeks ago, but the mayor and the committee were not responsive to those of us who attempted to raise concerns, and basically everybody played defense.

    Still, Oneonta clearly has a serious housing problem that needs to be addressed. And landlords have their share of responsibility for that. For decades many owners have extracted value from buildings and avoided basic upkeep, and that adds up to widespread blight that lowers everybody’s property values and is a drag on economic opportunity.

    There was a big missed opportunity here. We could could have worked together to fix basic problems for the common interest of all. We all want a better city.

    On the question of where we go from here, maybe the best thing is to meet in the middle. If the committee acknowledges genuine public concern and scales back the plans for professional housing (maybe 20 units and not 60+) and also applies for funding for planning so we can begin to explore how a rehab program for existing buildings might work, then the city can test the if-you-buid-it-they-will-come theory of professional housing at less risk, and we will have the road map we need for the long term.

  8. I would like to thank you for hosting the meet and greet last night. As a council member I am always interested in what everyone has to say and hear their concerns. While we may not always agree with all of the proposals in the DRI initiaive, I am happy that more money than initially thought will go into renovating buildings on Main Street. I am excited for the possibilities and really hope this project will stimulate our local downtown business and shopping district. I believe that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Michelle Osterhoudt
    Teacher, longtime Oneonta resident and Council Member, 4th Ward

  9. The following is an email from Johna Peachin (Foothills Board President) sent to Sandy Mathes (Otsego Now CEO). Sandy’s response is also included. Johna is proposing to house the Food & Beverage Innovation Center at Foothills.

    From: mathes@mathespa.com
    To: PEACHIN@aol.com, peters@cloud9.net, horvath@otsegonow.com, klawson.oneontaymca@gmail.com, dsm@eatdrinklaw.com
    CC: gherzig@oneonta.ny.us
    Sent: 2/10/2017 11:30:54 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
    Subj: Re: (no subject)

    Appreciate your suggestion, but we are extremely happy with the vision and programming we have developed for the Food and Beverage Innovation Center over the last two years.

    Alexander (Sandy) Mathes, Jr.


    From: “PEACHIN@aol.com”
    Date: Friday, February 10, 2017 at 11:22 AM
    To: “peters@cloud9.net” , Elizabeth Horvath , Alexander Mathes , “klawson.oneontaymca@gmail.com” , “dsm@eatdrinklaw.com”
    Subject: (no subject)

    Dear Friends:

    We at Foothills believe that the Food & Beverage Innovation Center vision can be improved upon by giving consideration to housing the test kitchen at Foothills. Conceptually, the benefits of this approach include:

    · Development of a larger, enhanced kitchen that would be used more frequently because it would facilitate the booking of additional catered events at Foothills, thereby increasing downtown visitors.
    · Provide the classroom space for both food and beverage educational programs.
    · The kitchen could serve as a baking kitchen for Twelve Tribes.
    · Enable the 27 Market Street building to achieve its “highest and best” use by either expanding the Beverage Center into a facility that could attract a broader range of users, re-locate the farmers market to the first floor which would attract more vendors and customers, increase the number of residential units or make possible other activities in need of a home.

    Foothills is likely to attract more events if it had a complete kitchen rather than the limited one currently in place. It has sufficient space/parking to make access easier and more attractive to users, whether for test kitchen purposes or catering events.

    Foothills has the administrative staff that could manage/oversee the food and beverage innovation programs envisioned and funded by the IDA. We think this idea is a win-win situation for everyone, as better facilities tend to draw more users.

    Please give this option your consideration.

    Many Thanks,
    Johna Peachin
    Foothills Board President

  10. I have read the information that has been put out about the plans for downtown Oneonta, NY and I feel it is a sham that they plan to remove some public parking from downtown.

    It is being claimed that the parking garage is not being utilized fully. I say that is a load of crap! When there is a function downtown, Oneonta, this parking area is not only used it doesn’t always have enough room for all the cars that want to use it. Removing parking may ruin all the business (and the traffic flow) in the downtown area.

    People will shop in areas that have plenty of parking (South Side mall and stores along Rts 23/28). And if more business are added to this area without supplying more parking, they will not be used. I am not saying these businesses will be boycotted, I’m saying people will shop where there is sufficient parking. There are enough vacant stores along Main St in Oneonta, that any planed new business will probable not last and cause the downtown area to look like a slum. This plan must be stopped before Downtown Oneonta NY is forced into bankruptcy that it will never be able to recover from without costing the tax payers money that could be used in better ways (Like repairing the roads in Oneonta). City of Oneonta Resident, Art Gales ”

    I hope this will help.

  11. LOSING PARKING FROM THE WESCOTT BLOCK PARKING LOT WOULD BE A HUGE MISTAKE. I park there to go to Ruffino’s, watch parades, DMV office, and more. Ruffino’s is a long term mainstay downtown. What a slap in the face it would be to Joe Ruffino to lose customers due to inaccessibility. I don’t use the parking garage very much since I have been around long enough to remember the murder that took place. I feel safer in the Westcott block lot.

  12. 1st of all Oneonta needs 0 more eateries; there is such a thing as businesses other than restaurants. If the city wants more visitors to downtown, start with practical solutions like raising the manholes on the streets so they’re even with the road grade. Run an OPT bus to Stamford and back like the Cooperstown run. (I know it’s a different county: so what? most people out that way have limited access to transportation.) Put up an ice scating rink with a roof would bring a lot of outside visitors, and maybe give some kids a break from their phones. Put up a leather shoe workshop for kids to make real leather shoes to sell online (assuming they’d be expensive). Forget about eateries, that market is saturated. Tear down the grey Tribes building and put a park or parking lot. Use your head politicos. Regards, Doug

  13. Something useful like a new YMCA building makes more sense than more vacant or underutilized commercial spaces and apartments. Tear down the eyesore Tribes building and extend the existing parking there. Food hub? Sounds like another soccer HOF brainstorm.
    The parking lot on main could use some paint and asphalt. Neawha park has been getting paved a little at a time for 15 years. The city is way behind on paving and sidewalks. Many small infrastructure projects would be better than a couple of big white elephant structures that drive taxes UP.

  14. Fellow Oneontans: everyone’s comment for or against this project has a smidgen of optimism. However, our hometown is one of communal comfort ,safety, family so therefore to fuse the past and future without discord over present “grant” money we just need one (1) unforgettable entity. That being a magnificent year round botanical conservatory that would fascinate any visitor or critic. Construct this oasis adjacent to the Foothills and then you have a charmed city with indoor fountains of koi and palms. The oohs and aahs must precede the investors’ wallet! or Market Street will never become immortalized as a friendly cozy haven for much else but slumming. As a citizen scientist it is imperative to step up to a sensible alternative for all concerned without harm. The children, young and older will love it as the new “place” to be.

  15. I have numerous objections to the size of the building to be constructed. I would hope that it will blend in with downtown Oneonta and not look out of place. The lack of parking is another objection. I use the parking garage when I attend events at the Foothills. Where are all of the attendees going to park? Where is anyone attending the Farmers Market going to park? This whole project should be rethought and revitalization of Main Street should be funded instead

  16. Excerpt from an Editorial (The Daily Star)
    “[Oneonta has] turmoil over what the city should do with the $10 million it is receiving from the state for the DRI initiative. While certainly a lot of the opposition to the project comes from people with special interests — namely landlords — there is also skepticism of the plan by many folks who don’t have a direct financial interest;”

    See full Editorial here:

  17. Letter to the Editor (The Daily Star)
    On the city of Oneonta’s DRI project:
    “To Dr. Margaret Drugovich, Dr. Nancy Kleniewski, Jeff Joyner and Patricia Kennedy: We are a group of proud employees that work for each of your organizations and live in Oneonta. We have families that we are raising here and are also proud of where we live in Oneonta. It is very disappointing and sad that you have placed politics before the mission of each of the organization related to your recent letter supporting apartment housing in downtown Oneonta. Would each of you honestly downsize, sell your homes and live in downtown Oneonta apartments where it is noisy and has a main street full of drugs? Please provide your employees with the facts before you tell us where we should live. Ask us first what we think and what we want! We support a safe and clean Oneonta!”


  18. Letter to the Editor (The Daily Star April 18th) – written by Art Rorick

    Title: Get involved at all levels to change the government

    Here is an excerpt:
    “We continue to have a society failing to realize how we are continually forced into a debt that comes from bigger government. The recent DRI is no exception. These plans have long-term impacts that increase government costs and taxes to all of us. So I ask our fellow taxpayers, when is it going to matter that unless there is drastic change to our legislature (local, county and state) and our voting records for fiscal restraint, less government, etc, we will continue this cycle of increasing budgets/debt and the impact that follows on future generations.”

    Read full letter here:

  19. Destination Oneonta posted a link to the new DRI plan and included a one word question: Thoughts???
    They received two comments. Here they are:

    Heather [last name removed] – They need to stop using Mohawk valley in the hub name. We aren’t in the Mohawk valley, we’re at the bottom of the Catskills, near butternut valley.

    Michelle [last name removed] – Putting money into apartments is a huge waste. Professionals are not going to want to live among perpetual student party animals. These apartments will sit empty until it’s necessary to rent to students. In turn this will only exacerbate the issues we have now.

    Source: https://www.facebook.com/DestinationOneonta/ (April 17th post)

  20. Letter to the Editor (The Daily Star May 9th) – written by Dan Rorick

    Title: DRI project an example of government hurting the economy

    First paragraph:
    “The central planners are in action once again in another attempt to bring economic development to downtown Oneonta. Businesses should only survive because they serve market demand. In other words, if you want to do good business, you have to listen to customers and supply what they want. Conversely, if customers are not willing to pay, they don’t receive the product or service, and the business gains nothing.” [remaining cut]

    Read full letter here (five paragraphs total):

Comments are closed.