City of Oneonta wins $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant


The City of Amsterdam did not have the winning application in New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative competition, which Montgomery County Business Development Center (MCBDC) entered on behalf of the city in May. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the City of Oneonta will receive the $10 million grant allocated for the Mohawk Valley region.

According to announcement, the award will include up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a plan that will identify specific economic development projects. The plan is scheduled to be completed by 2017.

Cuomo said in the announcement,  “As an urban center, situated along the beautiful Susquehanna River, Oneonta’s unique assets position it to become an economic anchor for the Mohawk Valley. This investment will transform Oneonta’s downtown area, bolster its academic and business opportunities, and ensure it remains a cornerstone of the region’s growth for years to come.”

The announcement cited “mixed-use housing, intermodal transportation, a vibrant culture and arts district, and anchor institutions, such as Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta” as some of the positive traits of the city.

Amsterdam’s application included a letter from Michael Gulotty, vice president of operations at Vista Host, Inc., who wrote, “When looking for a community to invest in, we always look for potential hotel locations in markets that not only have un-served demand, but room for growth potential. Vista Host, Inc, working with Omni Development is currently looking at potential investment projects in the City of Amsterdam and in the Southside downtown area. We believe the Port Jackson community is perfectly situated for a hotel to anchor redevelopment there…the defined scope of the neighborhood is critically attractive, combined with the already visual commitment of the pedestrian bridge connector.”

In May, when asked what would happen if the City of Amsterdam did not win the grant, MCBDC CEO Ken Rose said, “I don’t think it would necessarily kill the projects.” But he added that public funds would be necessary for any of the development ideas to succeed.

Yesterday, Rose said in regards to developing a hotel in the city, that Vista Host is “still working through numbers to see if it makes economic sense.”

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.