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Opinion

October 6, 2011

Our Opinion: Project moves to next phase

We were beginning to wonder if the Linden Avenue, Gateway or Cooperstown Intermodal Transportation Project − whichever name you care to use −would ever be built.

Last month, however, the mayor and village board voted to approve a construction bid of just under $3 million for the project.

We have been supportive of the project since the first meeting in 2001 called by the Chamber of Commerce. That gathering brought together stakeholders to discuss the possibilities for an area that chamber director Polly Renckens described as “a no-man’s land.”

The idea was to create a welcome center and bring visitor

and employee parking to the south end of the village to

reduce congestion and ease perennial parking problems

downtown. The tourists would exit their cars, hop on the trolley and ride to the museums, stores and restaurants. The project has evolved over the years. In 2004, thencongressman Sherwood Boehlert announced $5 million in federal funding for the project. That news was well-received, but along with the federal money came federal regulations about how and what it could be spent on.

Since then, the welcome center has fallen by the wayside and the brand-new facility for Cooperstown Youth Baseball became very complicated and it decided to go elsewhere.

The project will still provide hundreds of new parking spaces and some much-needed repair to Linden Avenue, whose residents have been waiting patiently for the project. There are still a few issues to be resolved with the town of Otsego planning board, but village attorney Martin Tillapaugh is confident that can be accomplished.

Over the 10 years the project has been discussed and worked on, the names and faces have changed. We can think of no officials who have worked on it since the beginning, but the project has survived and we’re happy to see it moving forward. It now looks like there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.

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