No place to stay: Weeds crowd Cobleskill hotel


By Jim Poole

At the peak of the tourist season––Fair Week––what was once Cobleskill’s largest motel remains closed––and doesn’t appear to be opening any time soon.
The Inn of Cobleskill, formerly Rodeway, Best Western and Top of the Town, has been closed since last December, but an investigation into an arson fire at the motel continues.
Today, the doors remain locked, weeds clog the landscaping and bundles of weather-beaten magazines are by the lobby door.
Also, taped to the door, there’s a “Notice of intent to terminate service” from National Grid stating the owners must pay $24,948.60 on or after May 30, 2019.
Last week, Cobleskill Police Chief Jeff Brown said Sergeant Joe Rorick and the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control are investigating the arson, though there’s little new to report.
The December 23 fire came three weeks after Cobleskill Codes Officer Mike Piccolo closed the place because of code violations.
Police suspected arson at the time, and now, Chief Brown said, “It was definitely arson.”
He added that Sergeant Rorick has been trying to interview former employees, but 18 months after the closing and fire, “that’s like herding cats.
“We haven’t been able to identify any suspect or suspects,” the Chief said. “There are no significant leads.”
Chief Brown did say, however, that even though the arson investigation is ongoing, owners could work on the motel because the site is no longer part of the probe.
The fire started in a records area of the basement, and although Cobleskill firefighters stopped the blaze, there was fire damage in the basement and smoke damage upstairs, officials said at the time.
And there are still the original code violations Mr. Piccolo cited: safety measures, mold, electrical issues and more.
Pat Patel, who manages the motel for IConnect Hospitality, said Friday he plans to make necessary repairs.
He added that he hasn’t heard anything about insurance payments.
“We’ll reopen, but I don’t know when,” Mr. Patel said. “We plan to renovate and we’re working on funding.
“It’s a matter of time with the insurance company.”
But Mr. Piccolo said none of the necessary paperwork has been completed before renovations can start.
“I have nothing,” he said.
Mr. Piccolo also said he’s been trying to contact Mr. Patel without success to tend to the grass and landscaping, which is overgrown at the motel.