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Columns

May 12, 2014

Changes to landscape, local media made news in May 1974

Construction projects, a notable land acquisition and some changes in local media were topics making news during the month of May 1974.

“A Binghamton construction firm will build Oneonta’s low income housing project in the Fifth Ward,” it was reported in The Oneonta Star of Friday, May 3. The Oneonta Housing Authority designated Sarkisian Brothers Inc. of Binghamton as the developer at a special meeting that week.

The project, which we know today as the Mayrose Apartments, was set to be built in the near future on a two-acre site at the corner of Lewis and Thorn streets in the West End. Housing Director William McManus was hopeful construction could begin in the summer, and when it did the project would take about six months to complete.

Over in the Sixth Ward, Common Council had voted on Tuesday, May 22, to purchase the Wilcox property near the Riverside Elementary School. The price tag was $130,000 for the land and what was then a deteriorating old home, vacated within the previous five years. We know it today as the Swart Wilcox House.

“An option the city secured from owner Van Smith was due to expire on May 31 and it was reported private interests wanted to buy the 18 acres for a housing development,” the Star reported.

“I think it will be a wise decision,” said Alderman Peter Clark. “In two or three years we won’t be able to afford any land in the city.” Restoring the old house was still several months away from being considered.

In the heart of downtown Oneonta, an urban renewal project was facing a delay, as the Star reported on Thursday, May 23.

“Motorists who have had trouble finding parking places in the city and were looking toward the end of the summer when the three tier parking structure would provide relief, should forget it.”

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