Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

May 17, 2014

White House: Obama will make visit to Cooperstown

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — President Barack Obama will visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Thursday to promote tourism, the White House said in an advisory issued Friday.

No other information was released regarding Obama’s schedule.

The Hall of Fame has been expecting a banner tourism year, following a reported spike in attendance in April.

The state I Love NY program has released a nationwide tourism commercial in which former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre urges viewers to go to Cooperstown. Torre is among those to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

The Hall is also expected to benefit financially and with increased visitors from the recent release of commemorative coins struck by the U.S. Mint that celebrate the baseball shrine’s 75th anniversary this year.

Those coins feature designs of a baseball on the convex side. On the conclave side is a baseball glove. They are being billed as the first curved coins produced by the U.S. Mint.

During his stops in New York, Obama is frequently joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat. On Thursday night in Cooperstown, Cuomo’s GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, criticized Cuomo for making no appearances in the Cooperstown area for the past three years while the debate over shale gas drilling has raged.

There was no immediate indication from the White House as to whether state and/or local officials have been invited to join the president in Otsego County.

Last week, officials from the Otsego County Tourism Board told county officials there are initial indications that tourism will increase locally in 2014.

The board has been trying to drum up tourism through its web site, www.ThisIsCooperstown.com

During stops in upstate New York, Obama was greeted by throngs of protesters opposed to horizontal drilling for natural gas. Obama has argued that domestic gas production has decreased U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources and has created new economic opportunities.

Julie Huntsman, a town of Otsego board member, a veterinarian and an activist against fracking, said it’s likely there will be a demonstration in Cooperstown regarding Obama’s endorsement of shale gas drilling.

“I definitely think there will be some protests,” she said. “I’m afraid his support for drilling is going to be bolstered by (Sen. Chuck) Schumer’s statement this week.” Schumer, a Democrat and New York’s senior senator, has said he supports fracking if it can be done safely.

Cuomo has said he is waiting for a health study to be completed before his administration decides to permit shale gas drilling.