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Local News

April 3, 2013

Mayor: Blodgett project would boost area economy

(Continued)

“We should do everything we can to see that the city benefits by the increased traffic driving from the expansion of Southside retail,’’ he said. “Because it is unlikely that we can attract businesses to relocate here, we must do what we can to support the growth of such manufacturing businesses as Ioxus, Custom Electronics, Brooks and Astrocom.’’ 

Miller also praised Newman Development as a “premier, highly experienced firm’’ that has followed Oneonta city processes and procedures.

Jeffrey Smetana, vice president of student housing development for Newman Development Group, welcomed the mayor’s support.

“From the very beginning, we saw this as a project that has a positive impact for the city and the college,’’ Smetana said.

SUNY Oneonta, which enrolls about 6,000 students, has remained neutral on the prospect and impact of the Newman Development proposal.

Smetana said public criticism of the project by neighbors, landlords and businesses isn’t fairly representing Newman Development’s plans. Through the application process, he said, the development group hopes to address concerns and ease objections.

For example, residents living near the proposed site have had issues with water runoff previously, Smetana said, but Newman Development’s engineers have conducted researched and prepared plans that won’t make the situation worse.

Regarding objections from the Oneonta business district, Smetana said. Newman Development has a good reputation among Binghamton businesses, he said, and will reach out with promotions and marketing projects to engage Oneonta retailers and student residents.

Hillside Commons will generate more tax revenue than currently is collected from the parcels involved, Smetana said. The project and complex will hire local residents, spend money locally, meet a demand for amenitized student housing and create connections with the business community, he said.

“This type of project in one way, shape or form will happen,’’ Smetana said. “Newman Development Group is an ideal firm to come into Oneonta and take on a project like this.’’

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