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Local News

February 27, 2014

Summit to discuss Oneonta's sustainability


• Transportation: The car has been the focus of transportation policy at national, state and local levels since World War II. Though convenient for many, others who cannot drive are left out, and alternatives to automobile transportation are needed. Recommendations included encouraging reduced fares for buses to boost ridership; creating policies and local laws prohibiting “idling” of vehicles, thus reducing emissions; and switching to fleets of hybrid or alternative-energy vehicles.

The summit Saturday is an an opportunity to consider concerns identified in the report and plan not only for 2030 but also for the years beyond, Davies said.

“We need to continue envisioning what our community looks like,” Davies said. “We always need to be looking forward.”

Task force members realized that as a volunteer group that they were challenged to engage a variety of community voices and bring ideas to fruition, said Davies, an associate professor of education at Hartwick College. The task force will follow up on summit results, he said.

Neil Murphy of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will be the keynote speaker at the summit, which is is sponsored by SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and Drogen’s Electric Supply. Hannah Masterjohn, chairwoman of the organizing committee, was out of town and unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Organizers said the goal is that each summit discussion group identify one idea that can be implemented.

“I’d like to see some concrete steps,” Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said. In the summit, addressing sustainability issues not as a city or town but as a community is the proper approach, he said.

Supervisor Robert Wood said the town, which last year developed a comprehensive plan, looks forward to identifying ways to improve the sustainability in the community, for instance in energy efficiency and preserving and protecting water resources.

Daily life requires the use of energy, water and other resources, Hannah Morgan, sustainability coordinator at SUNY Oneonta and a task force member, said Wednesday. Sustainability is an approach to life that encourages being mindful of the impact of using resources and of their availability for future generations, she said.

The summit also will help identify needs that could be the basis for into projects eligible for grant funding, Morgan said, and such projects could benefit the town, city and Otsego County.

“It’s basically exciting to get the dialogue going,” Morgan said. “It’s very exciting.” 

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