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April 11, 2013

Our Readers' Opinions

Cooperstown Crier

---- — Response to dock renters

Regarding the April 4 letter from Margaret McGown et al, I understand why the letter’s authors are disappointed with the decision of Otsego Land Trust to discontinue renting private dock space. All concerned should understand that we did not take any actions without careful consideration and ultimate approval by our Board of Directors.

A few pertinent facts that explain OLT’s actions were omitted from the April 4 letter.

The docks were over 50 percent destroyed by a natural act last winter. We investigated building a replacement dock that could be removed for winter to avoid a repetition of similar destruction and discovered the cost would approach $50,000.

When we looked at dock rental fees net of annual costs in comparison to the cost of a new dock, we concluded that it would take OLT seven to nine years to recoup its investment. At a time when we are trying to raise funds to make Brookwood a safe and accessible place for the whole community, the Board felt that cash resources for the property are better put to other uses. These include maintenance, public access initiatives and educational programming.

The dock renters appealed our decision. We replied that if they were willing to do the work required, with standard conditions such as obtaining permits and insurance, we would agree to continue the rental program for another year. Perhaps they would be prepared to rebuild the old docks. We did not know, but decided to offer them the opportunity. They chose not to accept these conditions.

Regarding insurance proceeds, OLT as the property owner insures the property including the docks and pays all costs for insurance. The damage award was received and immediately deposited in a restricted account for the exclusive use of Brookwood Point.

Brookwood Point is a beautiful 22-acre property on Otsego Lake that, with help from the community, could be a wonderful public asset. Last year, OLT obtained a $188,000 Scenic Byways Grant from the Federal Highway Administration to fund the initial costs of correcting safety, traffic and signage deficiencies. A matching $62,000 is needed to access these grant funds. We hope that the community understands the value in supporting this worthy project. If OLT is successful in raising sufficient community support, Brookwood Point will provide public access to and use of this special place and conserve one of the few natural lake front areas on the western shore of Otsego Lake.

Harry Levine

Chairman of Otsego Land Trust


Easter egg hunt a success

The Leatherstocking Credit Union and Hyde Hall Historic site co-sponsored the annual Easter Egg Hunt. We would like to thank those who have made this event a yearly tradition for literally thousands of children over the years.

The event takes many hours of preparation before and during the event itself. We would like to acknowledge and thank the staff, board members and volunteers of both the Leatherstocking Credit Union and Hyde Hall for the countless ways they contributed to the success of the event; to Mohican Flowers for donating the helium tank; to the Springfield First Responders; to Phyllis and Greg Lippitt who generously give their time for this and other CU events; to the area schools for getting the message out to their students; and of course a huge thanks to the Easter Bunny for making time in his busy holiday schedule to stop in at Hyde Hall to entertain the children and pose for pictures.

We were thankful for the beautiful weather on Saturday, March 30 contributing to perhaps the largest turn out in our 10-year history. More than 500 people attended, including almost 300 children who gathered literally thousands of brightly colored eggs in anticipation of receiving their candy-goodie bags and balloons. 

It was truly heartwarming to see. 

Mary T. Clarke, President/CEO, Leatherstocking Credit Union

Jonathan Maney, Executive Director, Hyde Hall Inc.