An effort to establish a sports tourism commission for the greater Oneonta area is continuing despite its failure, thus far, to obtain public funding.
“The whole idea is to draw out-of-market participants into the community to play in high-quality events and, obviously, to spend their money here,“ said Albert Colone, a driving force behind the initiative to create the commission.
The commission proposal is an outgrowth of a larger ad hoc group, the Greater Oneonta Economic Development Council – or GO-EDC – which came together in the autumn of 2011 in an attempt to act on members’ dissatisfaction about the direction in which Oneonta was going.
The members of the informal group, composed of community leaders and representatives from businesses, such as lodging, that would benefit from marketing outside the region, met Jan. 16 at the Boys and Girls Club in Oneonta.
Among those attending, according to minutes provided to The Daily Star by Colone were Common Council member Bob Brzozowski; Dennis Finn, chairman of the City Planning Commission; Tom Terry, co-owner of the Oneonta Stallions football team; Petrea Delberta, representing the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club; Robert Harlem, president of Oneonta Block; Mark Kleszczewski of KickStart Capital; Otsego County Rep. Linda Rowinski; Luisa Montanti, general manager of Southside Mall; Todd Heyn, sales director of the Courtyard by Marriott; Geoff Hassard, athletic director at the State University College at Oneonta; Richard Harlem of the Harlem & Jervis law firm, and Oneonta City Manager Michael Long.
Support for the commission was unanimous, the minutes indicate, and the attendees decided that the next step was to form a working group to fine tune the commission proposal so that it can be reintroduced to the Otsego County Board of Representatives “by May,” the minutes say.
The group sought $84,000 from the board last year, but was turned down in October.