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Local News

August 19, 2013

Foothills theater is named in honor of Bettiol family


Speakers alluded several times to early days when Foothills was an idea discussed by Peter Macris, Bill Campbell, Arnie Drogen and the father and son Bettiols.

The Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center today includes a theater, a production center and the glass-enclosed atrium, and the facility has been used for a range of entertainment, receptions, civic and community events and other activities.

The multi-use facility on Market Street in downtown Oneonta is on the site of the former West-Nesbitt feed mill.

The center had its grand opening in 2005, according to the Foothills website. Construction began in May 2008 for the main 624-seat theater, the atrium and scene shop.

More than $6 million of state money have funded the project, state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said in his remarks Sunday.

“It is so appropriate that we dedicate this theater in the name of the Bettiol family,” Seward said. “It is an occasion to say `thank you.’”

Blazina said work on finishing details, specifically acoustic improvements, continues at the theater.

Efforts were made many times to recognize the work of Bettiol Sr., Blazina said, but he refused formal acknowledgment.

“He’s too humble,” Blazina said.

Organizers told Bettiol that Sunday’s event was to focus on development of the facility’s patio, she said, and some potential donors might attend. But word that Bettiol’s granddaughter Carleigh would be singing, was the clincher for his attendance, Blazina said.

Other speakers Sunday included Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook), and businessman Arnie Drogen, a Foothills board vice president.

Drogen said he remembered when Eugene Bettiol Jr. called with an invitation from him and his father to be involved in the creation of a performing arts center in Oneonta.

“I have been so inspired over the years to see vision at work,” Drogen said. The vision of “love and support” was for the Oneonta community, the region and its economy and children, he said.

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