I was disheartened that the claims against the city’s "Lofts on Dietz" project were dismissed on June 17. I don’t think that Oneonta’s best interests were served by the decision. But the court has ruled and so the fight is over. Oneonta and her citizens are the real losers.
The belief that the Lofts on Dietz Project will benefit the city with revenue generated by the artists housed in the lofts is ill-founded. At the art college I attended, students were told that very few artists are able to make a living from their art. Expecting artists to make Oneonta economically vibrant is to expect too much. We are not close enough to a metro area with people who have the interest and the means to buy art. Getting rid of parking for those who would come to the city for any reason is not helpful either.
Before new housing, our city needs well-paid work to attract people to live here. Housing is a need for young families, but I don’t think that a new apartment building downtown will suit.
I am very sorry to see us spending on outside developers to benefit our city economically. We need to engage local architects, designers and highly skilled contractors to make over the old-style homes that abound here into housing for middle-income folks that supports modern family life.
I laud our civic-minded business owners, for their bravery and commitment in putting their concerns and dollars on the line for goading Oneonta to do the right thing for this community. Johna Peachin deserves our respect and thanks, even though the suit did not prevail.
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