An Oneonta nonprofit is seeking input about the best and brightest properties in the area for its annual recognition program. 

The Future for Oneonta Foundation has announced the nominees for its 2013 Properties of Merit campaign, which recognizes private and commercial properties that are attractive and well-maintained. Area residents can vote for winners in each of six categories. 

The awards program, which began in 1989, recognizes winners at an annual Community Leadership banquet co-sponsored by Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta. This year’s event, scheduled for Oct. 23 at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center, will also honor Oneonta Job Corps as FOF’s Organization of the Year, and recognize the donors that support the foundation. Winning properties will receive framed awards and a gift certificate to Lowes. 

Properties of Merit finalists are selected by a committee of FOF board members who methodically assess properties in the city and town, according to Carol Mahon, executive manager of the FOF board. 

“We get together in the summer and just discuss what we’ve seen happening in the last year — what’s gone on, what new businesses have come up, and so on,” Mahon said Thursday. 

Then the real work begins. 

“We break up the town and the city into sections, and each (committee member) gets a different section and start driving around,” Mahon explained. “They say, ‘Ooh, this one is improved,’ ‘This one’s got beautiful landscaping,’ and so on, and take pictures.”

The committee reconvenes in August to vote for finalists and choose categories. 

While the committee makes every effort to be thorough, Mahon said input from the community is always appreciated. 

“After the program runs, it sort of sparks people to contact the office to give us suggestions,” Mahon said. “If there’s a category that people would like us to take a look at, we’d be happy to hear about it.”

Mahon said the contest’s categories evolve from year to year. 

“The New Eatery category was created because we had quite a few new restaurants that opened,” Mahon said. “We’ve had New Construction in the past, but there hasn’t been as much recently, and we had Victorian last year, but we kind of ran through that last year.” 

The public is invited to vote for the winners in each category by marking a ballot printed in The Daily Star and returning the ballot to FOF. The ballot appears on Page 8 of today’s edition, and Mahon said that the committee plans to make a downloadable version of the ballot available on FOF’s website at

Photos of the nominees, which are as follows, can be seen at

Historic: 57 Dietz St., 50 Center St., 59 Center St., 43 Woodside Ave. 

Landscaping: 5 Sand St., 12 Irving Place, 14 Belmont Circle, 10-12 Franklin St. 

Most Improved: 120 Center St., 6 & 6 ½ Walnut St., 86 Hudson St. 

New Eatery: B Side Supper Club, Sloan’s New York Grill, Riverstone Oneonta, East End Café & Laundry. 

New/Improved Business: Shops at Ford & Main, Liberty Tree Chocolates, China 19, The Carriage House Event Center. 

Residential: 16 Walling Boulevard, 10 Harrison Ave., 31 School House Lane, 1 Cove Ave., 163 Glen Drive. 

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