Oneida County was offered a grant rooted in 2015 New York State legislation. The offer was for $300 million to improve Utica-area healthcare facilities. Absent was information from the medical community, a study and or plan of regional healthcare. All citizens knew were of the ongoing efforts to merge three hospitals into a single entity. However, with that merger still not complete, we’ve jumped forward to the concept of building a large downtown medical facility, possibly four new and very substantial structures.
Since late 2014, hospital administrators and politicians have been prognosticated this new project is what’s needed; November 19, 2014 - Mohawk Valley Health CEO: New Hospital 'Worth Exploring. However this November 2019 Opinion, for example, highly questions a need for a new building. Touted as an economic development driver for Downtown Utica, the "super block" design would destroy the street grid and neighborhood walkability.
The targeted area is made-out to be; entirely blighted, functionally obsolete, and supporting only a few businesses. These comments, as well as other “pro-hospital downtown” propaganda, is misleading. The project has been carefully debated for nearly two-year by a Facebook Group called #NoHospitalDowntown and a companion website at NoHospitalDowntown.com. These materials have been supporting by other social media pages and offer clearly researched opposition.
Business and property owners (BUD) have announced a new effort to oppose the location for this medical expansion. BUD will be joined by Many voices, Utica-area residents, who have been saying things such as, "It doesn't make any sense."
BUD's premise is based on these facts: 1) 40+ businesses called the targeted area home before the concept was announced, 2) the area is home to a newly expanded City Police & Court campus, 3) both City zoning law and the Master Plan call for the protection of historical properties, the street grid, as well as advocating for small-scale development, 4) the MVHS owns one hospital that would not close (Faxton), and St. Luke’s that owns 64-acres on a green hilltop and 5) St. Luke’s has been unanimously approved by the hospital board for expansion (just one-out-of-two of twelve different sites) considered within a 10-mile radius of Utica.
If one looks at other successful city redevelopments, our targeted area is just what property developers seek- not to bulldoze - but to reuse and repurpose a multitude of old buildings for the creation of interesting neighborhoods. The City of Utica is seeing Signs Of Rebirth All Around The Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood. A better plan for the targeted area must be carried out to connect Utica's neighborhoods.
BUD sees a different outcome for Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood. We say let's develop the district to become an even more desirable place to do business, visit, and also live. As time goes by, and our vision is acted upon, Downtown Utica's Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood will become a more important "connecting neighborhood".
A better plan is possible, and this is what we will offer on this website and in upcoming meetings.
Thank you for your consideration, please join us!
Better Utica Downtown (BUD) & #NoHospitalDowntown
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