Building The Tourism Bridge

3 August 2017

Supervisor Shaun J. Kaleta

Office of the Whitestown Supervisor

8539 Clark Mills Road

Whitesboro, NY  13492

Dear Mr. Supervisor:

I hope this message finds you well.  I am writing today for a couple of reasons and both of them are good.


First and foremost, I have a friend who lives in a close by community who is considering a move to Whitestown.  She would like to go from being a renter to an owner.  Because funds are limited, and her needs are few, she would prefer a smaller than normal lot and house design.  It just so happens she has located just such a lot in your community.


Are there any current zoning laws dealing with frontage or square footage that would make this tricky in Whitestown??  Obviously before she purchases any land whatsoever, she wants to make sure your community standards make smaller homes allowable.  Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


The other reason I am writing has to do with tourism.  This summer, I have had a small role in putting on Arts on Utica.  Please check out for details.  Every weekend, I learn something new about tourism behavior.  As I do, I make them part of my campaign for County Legislature.  If you stroll over to, you can see some of the principles come to light.


It has become abundantly clear that no one at the County level is really leading on tourism issues since no one has the experience.  Before I came to the Mohawk Valley, I was in the timeshare industry for 12 years.  Along with the timeshares came the sales of hotel rooms, attraction tickets, and other tourism related items.  Art on Utica has also made me reconsider entering into another side of the travel business up here.


Due to the lack of leadership, I believe micro conversations about tourism are important.  In order for Oneida County to succeed, we all have to be on the same page.  One of the things holding us back is that visitors to Utica are not engaging in “last stops in” or “last stops out”.  They travel straight to their lodging, straight to the event, and straight back home.  In is in the interests of all of us to change that.  Whitestown could play a role just as every Oneida County community could.


Tourists that decompress on the way into a locale have a better time and end up spending more discretionary income than their “we have to get there now” counterparts.  The “last stop on the way out” is like the upsale at the shoe store and produces incredible revenue.


When I went on the tourism section of your page, it was all about the Boilermaker, Utica, Oneida County as a whole, and Oneida County Tourism.  I found that odd.


For the record, if anyone calls Oneida County Tourism right now, there is a less than 50% chance they can leave a voicemail and a 0% chance anyone will answer the phone.  Once again, we have to this by ourselves.   The Boilermaker is cool and I am flattered that you mentioned Utica but in tourism terms, we have to deal with another unfortunate reality.  The Boilermaker makes the city of Syracuse, and the surrounding communities, more money than it does for Utica.  That will continue until we make some distinct changes.


Your community has plenty to talk about.  Lord knows I have eaten there, as well as run along your streets, enough times.  If you want to, we can take a day and walk around.  Our job would be to collect stories from your businesses.  In the minds of the tourist, great stories turn into great memories.  Tourism is all about potential memory making.


You may be asking yourself, “Well Bobby, that sounds cool and all but why should I bother??”  For the same reason your County Legislators should support the Downtown Hospital and the U District – it lowers Whitestown’s taxes.  You get a cut out of the sales tax generated in Utica.  The more we create here, and slice you off a piece, the more the people who voted for you can keep in their wallets.  College educations, vacations, that extension to the dining room, maybe even that new car become much easier to handle when your taxes go down.  I hope that is reason enough to get you to participate.


Thank you in advance for your time and consideration in this matter.




Robert T. Oliveira

763 Mary Street

Utica, NY  13501



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