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Columns

January 7, 2013

Otsego tourism was enhanced in 1988

As tourists, visitors to Cooperstown were given a new suggested roadway to get there from points east in 1988. It also wouldn’t be long before once they did get to Cooperstown and Otsego County that they’d be paying just a little bit more for their lodging, in the form of a bed tax.

Throughout 1987, after a New York Thruway bridge collapsed over the Schoharie Creek in Montgomery County, then state Assemblyman Anthony Casale started using an alternate route to get to Albany from his home in Herkimer, U.S. Route 20.

What was then called the Glimmerglass Opera had opened in June as a new attraction in the town of Springfield. It dawned on Casale that reaching Glimmerglass and Cooperstown would be so much easier from Albany and eastern points by using Route 20, instead of the usual pathway of Interstate 88 to near Oneonta, and then state routes 28 and 80.

Casale took his idea to the state Department of Transportation, and it agreed Route 20 was the best route to get to Cooperstown. New signs were posted at Exit 25A of the Thruway and the westbound Duanesburg exit of I-88 during 1988.

Tourism in Cooperstown and Otsego County became a bigger business in 1988, requiring a larger budget for promotion and advertising, as well as staffing of a director and secretary for Otsego County’s Tourism Bureau. 

By late 1987, a 1 percent to 2 percent lodging tax had been thoroughly researched to increase revenues for tourism, and the idea was introduced to the general public in December.

Each lodge owner by law would be required to turn the revenue generated from the tax over to a collection center, and would be used specifically for tourism promotion. Opinions varied, according to reports from The Daily Star of Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1987.

“I’m not looking for help from the tourism bureau,” said Ted Ott, owner of the Worthington House, a Cooperstown bed-and-breakfast. Ott felt his business and the area were doing well from tourism and did not need more promotion.

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