The historic Fly Creek Hotel could soon see the wrecking ball
A request filed on behalf of the Leatherstocking Corporation to demolish the historic Fly Creek Hotel at the corner of Route 28 and Schoolhouse Road triggered a 2017 local law allowing the public to comment on the plans, and city officials to Otsego are planning an “interesting” session on May 3.
“I’m sure there have been demolitions in the past in the town of Otsego, but none of them have triggered this process that is happening now,” said Cindy Falk, chair of the Advisory Board. on the historic preservation of the town of Otsego. She and commission members Tom Heitz, Shirley Rathbone, Mitchell Owen and David Olsen prepare for the hearing, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building on Route 31 in Fly Creek.
“This order has been put in place to slow down the process and ensure that all alternatives to demolition are presented to the claimant,” she said. “It makes it more deliberate and gives people time to weigh in.”
Ms Falk said neither the law nor the hearing process required the claimant to comply with the comments offered.
“It’s a very different process, and I think it’s important for people to understand that,” she said. “Take, for example, Cooperstown, where you would appear before a commission and they would say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to you. This public hearing is intended to be a more collaborative process, where committee members, as well as the public, can make suggestions.
“But at the end of the day,” she said, “it’s up to the owner to do whatever he wants, regardless of how the public hearing goes.”
Otsego Town Clerk Pam Deane said those interested in speaking at the public hearing do not need to register in advance.
“Audiences can just show up,” she said. “We are treating this the same as any other public hearing. Depending on the number of people, deadlines may have to be respected, but this will be at the discretion of Ms. Falk.
The building is listed as a National Historic Site in the Fly Creek Historic District, but observers say it has seen better days.
“It’s not in pristine condition,” Ms Falk said of the hotel. “I was there last week, and he needs a lot of work. Important work. It seemed unoccupied, but I’m sure someone was there last summer.
Still, she says, she expects the public hearing to be “interesting.”
“People have a lot of memories of this building,” Ms. Falk said. “They remember going there like a tavern, there were dances there, the firefighters organized a lot of events there. It has been several hotels since the 1850s. It is a landmark.
“If you were to ask what are the most historically significant buildings in Fly Creek, I think it would be in the top five,” she said.