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Letter to the Editor: Potential Maranatha Investor Dumbfounded by Apathy

Written By Editor on 12/4/13 | 12/4/13

Dear Editor;

I first arrived in Cobleskill to see how I could help with regard to reviving community tennis programing by using the indoor tennis club and the outdoor tennis facility on campus. As a taxpayer and as a tennis professional, I see nothing but awesome potential, not only for the beauty of the facilities, but also, the huge potential ability to derive revenue and create jobs for both the students and the community at large. Thankfully, it remains an on-going process, as I am still involved in discussions with SUNY Cobleskill's PACE program to start a class to instruct continuing education participants, with or without any tennis playing experience, on how to teach tennis, and then, to be able to pass a certification exam with either the PTR or USPTR, where the student tennis pros will be able to later earn anywhere from $20-$75 per hour within a 60 mile radius of Cobleskill at any club. In this economy, learning a new skill which directly allows one to enter a new profession and job market, in my opinion, is an awesome opportunity. But that is a story for another day.

While engaging in research and conducting a basic pro forma regarding the desire for tennis programming in the community, I was very fortunate to meet Maranatha staff members, Manager, Lynette Kubat, and Sports Director, Gianni Mordocco--two incredibly skilled and honorable professionals--at the Schoharie County Fair. That led to discussions of joint programming, and later, a full collaboration with Stella McKenna, who is an exceptionally passionate woman with a huge dream to provide for the needs of the community, and the leader of the Maranatha Fitness Center. After a few meetings, I soon transferred funds to invest in reopening the club during the first week of October, and followed-up with communications with the town supervisor, the village mayor, and their counsel. As all in the community now know, I came to the conclusion just before the Thanksgiving Break that due to being delayed by the leaders of the community for such a long period of time, unless there was a miracle or NBT to the rescue, that the business plan would fail if the run-up to the Christmas sales packages and subsequent New Year's resolution sign-ups--the equivalent of Black Friday for health clubs, especially in a cold weather climate--did not exist. Hence, I was forced to walk away. That leaves the community without a community recreation center, and straps the town, village, and creditors with bills/debts which will never be satisfied, ever. These were arrears that I would have paid, but if I were ever to move forward--as there are always possibilities--I will be divorced from any responsibility. Any reopening of the facility by anyone, will now start from scratch, and the new management will be free to conduct business with no responsibility to the past.

Since I first arrived on the Sunday before the Fourth of July, I have come to really embrace Cobleskill and the surrounding communities, and I feel quite at home, especially during celebrations, such as the Fourth of July, the Schoharie County Fair, Farmer's Markets, Thanksgiving, and now, all of the Christmas events. I have spoken at length with many residents, professionals, business leaders, and local and state politicians as I have investigated opportunities both on the campus and the community at large. I am very glad to say that except for a handful of exceptions, such as the coward who sat on the opposite side of the room during the town meeting who quickly slithered-out at its conclusion and who verbally attacked my family, I have met nothing but wonderful and extremely friendly and honorable people. With that said, I have been and I still am, even after all of these months living here, dumbfounded, and completely without any modicum of understanding, as to why there is so much apathy to build or maintain what is needed or what already exists, and then, why there is the overwhelming desire to tear down and destroy what has newly been built and generously given to all in the community.

Below are three links to articles about a $59 million dollar, yes, a $59 million dollar facility, opening up just four blocks from my home. Everyone is real happy about the place and no one talks about grants, donations, payoffs, or whatever negative. No one even thinks it, and no one is jealous. This new center in Manhattan has followed through with the same exact dream that Stella McKenna had, but without the additional medical and preventive medical services for which she has provided and the much more for which she had planned, all of which I was prepared to make work for the total benefit of the community. This 7,000 square foot facility, which is ten times smaller but ten times more expensive than Maranatha, and the articles regarding it, showcase a shining example of community cohesion and success. This facility is being opened and totally supported, even though NYC has many other venues competing for the interests of the people in the area. Thus, how much more appropriate is it for a rural area without a lot of competition for fitness, sports, and community events, especially in the winter, to have and to support such a similar venue, where in the Cobleskill-Richmondville community, would have truly been, the center of activity.




I am really thankful to have made many new friends, starting with those on-campus, from the president down through many professors and staff, especially IT genius Mohamed, who has become a good friend and should be making six-figures for Google or Apple, all of the business people and professionals in the community whom I befriended and whom I would have made special arrangements to develop a symbiotic relationship with the club, the amazing Maranatha staff members, Lynette, Coleen, Gianni, Jill, Christian, and Adam, all of the Elks who really welcomed me, Dave, Bill, Matthew, Jay, and of course, the Elk of the Year, Helen, Carol Reeves, an amazing woman whom I really wanted on the club staff's team, Will Sisson, a local honey and maple sugar producer who makes an awesome product and who went out of his way to help me during the Schoharie County Fair with his raw honey, which was used as an alternate non-food cure for a health related skin issue, Maggie, the Town Clerk with such an incredible amount of stored knowledge and experience that they should make her the fully paid combined Supervisor and Mayor, and lastly, Diane Dobry, SUNY Cobleskill's Director of Communications, who put the thought into my mind of coming to Cobleskill and giving to the community, all those many months ago. I thank you all for the awesome experience, and I hope that I can contribute to the community in one way or the other in the future.

Best Regards,

Da-lai Wu
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