Karen Karp & Partners recently presented suggestions for Oneonta’s prospective “Food & Beverage Innovation District” along Market Street. The proposal, contracted by Otsego Now, is part of a long-discussed food-hub plan intended to boost economic development in the region.
Some of the suggestions for revitalizing the area included a collaboration with SUNY Oneonta’s catering service on a restaurant and food-service management training center, installing a local restaurant-supply hub, dedicating an “intermediate drop-off point” for farmers to bring fresh produce for distribution, and to develop a site for possible contract beer brewing.
The concepts were developed after a series of meetings with local brewers, farmers, business-owners and hospital administrators. “These are the exact things people told us they want,” according to Karp.
Additionally, these suggestions aim to address the joint problems of agricultural producer access to nearby urban markets, profitability for farmers, producer expansion through value-added production, and regional food producer collaboration. The expanded offerings would also create jobs, and work to prepare hard-to-place workers in ag-related occupations.
This initiative is part of a round of CFA applications, which is a vehicle for accessing state funding through regional economic development districts. Karen Karp partnered with Lisa Nagle, principal in Elan Planning in Saratoga, to prepare their report. They next begin “Phase 2”, which includes a detailed site plan, an architectural concept, engineering, and economic development and new-jobs data, required for the CFA application.