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April 24, 2012

Local economic 'game plan' ready for action

Themes identified by group to help spur growth

ONEONTA — Attracting, developing and promoting business and economic development in Otsego County are moving to the front burner in a ``game plan’’ to apply for state funding, three local officials said this morning.

A major outcome is to have proposals ready by September for the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council application for funding through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application, state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said.

In last year’s first round of $785 million in statewide economic development funding, 59 grants were awarded in the Mohawk Valley region that includes Otsego County, with Brewery Ommegang in Middlefield the sole local private business winning $140,000.  

Seward said the lack of local representation prompted his Otsego County economic summit in March, with an announcement this morning of a game plan.

``We’ve outlined a strategy for action,’’ Seward said. ``The next step is action.’’

Seward was joined this morning by Otsego County Development Corp. President Doug Gulotty and Otsego County Economic Developer Carolyn Lewis at a media conference in the county satellite building in downtown Oneonta.

``We’re reaching out for projects instead of talking about strategies,’’ Lewis said.

In March, about 150 community and business leaders attended the summit, reviewed the county’s assets and identified opportunities for business development and needs to reach goals, Seward said.

According to a media release, essential themes identified at the summit included a need for widespread broadband access; expanding networking; needs for resources and access to capital for small business development; water, sewer, roads, sites and other infrastructure development; and a vision for attracting a major economic development opportunity _ landing ``the big fish.’’

Those themes have been turned into six goals, officials said, and subcommittees of the Otsego County Economic Development Office will apply them to develop projects conducive to the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process and finalize a comprehensive economic development strategy for the county.

``This is a process that will continue to evolve, and it is vital that we engage the public at every turn,’’ Gulotty said. Subcommittees, with members recruited from the summit, will form in about the next two months and over the summer to work on proposals, he said.

``We need as many ideas as we can,’’ Gulotty said.



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