Residents Share Ideas, Concerns With City Officials

OSWEGO, NY – City officials got an earful Thursday night from a handful of city residents.

The Common Council held a town hall meeting at the McCrobie Civic Center.

About a dozen residents and representatives of SUNY Oswego attended the meeting.

About a dozen Port City residents took part in Thursday's town hall meeting. A variety of topics and concerns were discussed.
About a dozen Port City residents took part in Thursday's town hall meeting. A variety of topics and concerns were discussed.

Topics ranged from the city’s plans to purchase the International Marina to snow removal.

“We want to start a discussion with the community, keep the lines of communications open,” explained First Ward Councilor Connie Cosemento.

Phil MacArthur said the waterfront played a big part in his and his wife’s decision to move to Oswego.

He hopes the city continues to find ways to make better use of the waterfront he said, adding, “The riverwalk and water in general is the soul of Oswego.”

June encouraged city officials to court the antique boat people to the Port City as they do in places like Sacketts Harbor and Clayton do.

Ted Winkworth, of SUNY Oswego (on the drug and alcohol committee) spoke about improvements in the “town/gown” relationship.

The committee is broken into four parts (students, faculty, the campus policy, and the community).

The group would like to see more community members get involved in their group, he said.

“We want to send an open invitation to you, as a community, to participate in our on-going efforts to curb any problems that be caused by our students,” he said. “If there are any disruptions caused by our students, we want your input; we want to hear your voice. And, we want to collaborate anyway possible. We would absolutely love to hear from you because this really is a community effort.”

“I read the police blotter and awful lot in Oswego County and a lot of the things that you see in there are open container, open container, open container,” Pat Comerford said referring to the numerous arrests for violating the city’s open container ordinance.

“I feel that the punishment, in Oswego, doesn’t fit the crime. I think we really need to hit these people with a big fine,” he continued. It’s not just college students, it’s residents of the city that add to the problem as well, he added.

Lake Street resident David Hamm presented the councilors with his plans to renovate the International Marina to make it more attractive to larger boats and easier for them to navigate the parking area.

Hamm and Comerford agreed that the lakefront is some of the most beautiful in the world. The city should do more to somehow create a new city beach, they noted.

The International Marina is an investment that should pay the city huge returns, Hamm said.

Seventh Ward Alderman Ron Kaplewicz agreed, saying the city’s past was based on the water and its future can be also.

Barb Manwaring urged the city to do more to find a solution to its snow removal problems; in many places residents are forced to continue shoveling every time a plow goes by a throws the snow back in their driveways and sidewalks.

Kaplewicz said the city is working on that problem.

There is a lot of infrastructure the city has that it doesn’t maintain, Comerford pointed out.

He wondered why the city didn’t clear the snow from the city sidewalks instead of putting the burden on the resident.

He also suggested if every street was alternate parking it would make plowing them quicker and easier and likely save a lot of overtime.

Other suggestions included cutting out duplicated services, adding a small fee to fishing licenses purchased in Oswego and using the funds to augment fire and police safety measures along the river, and charging fees for some other services.

“We’re going in the right direction. I really do believe so,” Third Ward Councilor Cathy Santos said following the meeting. “You don’t make change overnight. These things take time.”

“Hopefully, this is the start of some outside the box thinking that will help the city to continue moving in the right direction,” Cosemento added.

1 Comment

  1. PLEASE do something about the college alcohol violations! With the law that makes bars closed to the majority of the college-aged population, they find ‘other venues’ in which to party. They are kids after all.

    That venue, for the most part is in the rental units in the third ward. As the party increases in size, the population ebbs and flows down the streets in this ward. This ebb and flow begins at 10 PM, and often continues until the ‘wee hours,’ as the final stragglers head ‘home,’ shouting and disrupting life for the non-party goers as these folks get into their cars and drive home (of course, are they in a good state to drive?).

    Often the mid-point of the gathering is in the streets outside of the residents.

    Yet, year after year, the situation continues in this ward. Town vs. Gown is more the norm. There is no ‘introducing’ yourself to the students. Residents represent the rules that parents enforce in their hometowns, and that is not something these newly liberated individuals want to hear.

    No matter how much there is ‘talk’ about working together, it doesn’t happen. Those that are on the committees, are rarely the problem. The committee students like Winkworth are almost certainly not the population that requires policing, and I mean this literally.

    I can’t see what can be done, as the police blotter is almost a right of passage. Those that choose to live off campus do so for the ‘freedom’ from parental rules. I think that the parents of these kids under age 21 (which is many of them), should be made aware that when their child violates laws in Oswego the police department WILL notify them each and every time. And, the fine will come with a bill!

    However, SUNY Oswego doesn’t want to lose enrollment, so I doubt anything will ever be done about this.

    A sleep-deprived resident of the Third Ward, and sufferer for over 15 years in a college neighborhood!

    (EDITOR’S NOTE: There is a program in place where Mayor Bateman has, for the past couple of years, sent letters home to the parents of SUNY Oswego students alerting them that their son or daughter has been charged off campus with such things as violating the open container ordinance, possession of alcohol while less than 21 years old, public urination.)

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