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May 20, 2014

Don't count on getting a good look at the president

Visit to Baseball Hall of Fame Thursday will be short and private

COOPERSTOWN — Think you'll get a good glimpse of President Barack Obama when he comes to Cooperstown on Thursday?

Don't bet on it. 

Local officials said Obama is expected to arrive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame at an undisclosed time on Thursday afternoon to plug tourism in an event that will be sealed off to the general public.

The Hall of Fame is scheduled to be closed all day Thursday. Local officials stressed they do not expect there will be any opportunity for people heading to Cooperstown to actually see Obama, who is expected to be whisked in and out of Cooperstown by way of a Marine One presidential helicopter.

"If you're hoping to see him, you might as well sit on our porch all day and you'll have as good a chance of anyone of seeing him," said Village Mayor Jeff Katz today.

Katz said he and other village officials have been given no information on the logistics of getting Obama into the Hall of Fame.

Bill Michaels, a member of the Otsego County Tourism Board, and vice president of Fly Creek Cider Mill, said people flocking to Cooperstown in hopes of having a close encounter with Obama will likely be disappointed.

"I don't think you're going to see him walking along Main Street," he said. 

Michaels said the true measure of success of the Obama visit will be whether businesses in the region work hard at ensuring they make the stays of tourists satisfying so they will return to Otsego County.

"It's incumbent on our suppliers of products and services to step up the game and deliver super experiences now that we're in the national spotlight," Michaels said.

With public parking spots expected to be in short supply in Cooperstown on Thursday,Oneonta Public Transportation said today it will add additional bus runs for the day.

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