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.
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 Today.com 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.