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Local News

March 13, 2014

IDA chief: Search is on for 'shovel-ready' sites

The Otsego County Industrial Development Agency and Otsego County will identify one or two sites in April or May to make shovel-ready to attract a company, the recently appointed agency chief executive officer said Wednesday.

The IDA continues efforts to spur economic development and market its identity as the “point of entry” for companies interested in locating locally, said Alexander “Sandy” Mathes Jr., chief executive officer.

Mathes gave an update on IDA activities to about 60 guests at a Citizen Voices program at The Carriage House in the town of Davenport, just beyond the town of Oneonta line. Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller and Kathy Clark, chairwoman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, spoke on related economic development concerns, such as applying for state grants and supporting small businesses.

Otsego County is part of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. Speakers addressed the need within the county for public/private partnerships, funding, networking to share resources and information and reaching out to entities in nearby regions, such as the Southern Tier and Albany area.

Meanwhile, colleges in Oneonta are working on Start-Up NY, the governor’s initiative to provide tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses. Hartwick College will have a forum at 7:30 a.m. April 29 to present information, said Richard Harlem in introductory remarks at the Citizen Voices meeting.

Also, today the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee of the Otsego County Board of Representatives will meet to discuss the mission, staffing and other functions of the county’s Economic Development Office.

Rudy Ballard, chairman of the Laurens Town Planning Board, said he attended the meeting Wednesday to find out more about economic development efforts.

“All this is new,” he said. “The concern for economic development is survival for future generations for our area. That’s a position I’ve held long-standing.”

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