Oneida County Public Hearing

Before you start, we've tracked this story for over five years- for example their Proposed Downtown Utica Hospital Concept, Called #MVHSDOWNTOWN.


Oneida County eminent domain public hearing for the public parking garage for downtown Utica hospital. 12-23-20.

Transcription of December 30, 2020 at 11:29 AM video, located at: Oneida County’s Facebook page.

Minute 00:00 to 14:40 had sounds of participants’ login activity, or technical difficulty.

Begin at 14:40:

Peter Rayhill: Can you hear me?

Unknown: Yes, we can

Peter Rayhill:      I’m just looking for someone to nod.  

OK, I’m sorry about that. Hopefully you can all hear me now, my name is Peter Rayhill. I am the county attorney for the county of Oneida, and I first want to thank everyone and welcome everyone who is participating here tonight.  

The county of Oneida is going to construct a parking garage in downtown Utica. This garage will be centrally located in the city, convenient to the city court, the Adirondack Bank Center, and the new hospital. Most of the land where the garage will be built has been acquired.

Those parcels which have not been acquired are necessary for the construction of the parking garage. Accordingly, the county will proceed to acquire title to those properties pursuant to the provisions of New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law.

The parcels to be acquired are: 525-527 Oriskany Street, Tax Map Number 318.34-1-23.1 and 23.2; 418-430 Lafayette Street, Tax Map 318.34-1-25-26-27-28 and 29; 442 Lafayette Street, Tax Map Number 318.34-1-33; and 400-406 Lafayette Street, Tax Map Number 318.34-1-22.  

This public hearing is being conducted pursuant to New York State’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law. It is an opportunity for those who wish to provide comments and information to the Oneida County board of legislators to do so. At this point, I’m going to turn the proceedings over to Mark Laramie, who will provide a description of the project. Mark…

Mark Laramie: Thank you, Peter.

Give me a moment. I’m trying to share a screen. Is that screen sharing correctly?

Unknown: Yes, it is.

Mark: OK, thank you.

As Peter said, I am Mark Laramie. I am the Commissioner of Public Works for Oneida County. I will give you a brief description of the project. This project will construct a 1,050 space, three-level parking garage with public entrances on the east and west ends. The garage will be located immediately adjacent to the Utica Auditorium, Utica City Court House, and the new Mohawk Valley Health System hospital. More specifically, as shown on the shared site plan, the parking garage will be bordered by Oriskany Street on the north, Lafayette Street on the south, Cornelius Street on the east, and State Street on the west.  

This location was selected primarily due to its joint proximity to the new Mohawk Valley Health System Hospital, Utica Auditorium, Utica City Courthouse, and the future Nexus Center. No other location under consideration could realistically serve all these facilities. The influence and environmental and local impact include reduced demand for on-street parking, reduced traffic congestion in the area adjacent to the proposed parking garage, and a reduced need for development of large surface parking lots in the surrounding area.

With that, I will ask the moderator to accept public comments.

Moderator: Thank you Mark. We’re going to begin with Bohdan Rabarsky.

Mr. Rabarsky, I sent you an un-mute request. Do you wish to address the meeting? [PAUSE]  

I’m going to send it one more time. If you wish to address the meeting, please un-mute yourself. [PAUSE]  

Mr Rabarsky, you may now address the public hearing. [PAUSE] Mr. Rabarsky, if you’re speaking, I can’t hear you. [PAUSE] Is anyone able to hear Mr. Rabarsky? [PAUSE]  

All right, Mr. Rabarsky, I’m going to mute you again, and we’ll come back to you again.    

Call-in user Number 2, I have sent you an un-mute request. Do you wish to address the public hearing? [PAUSE] Call-in user Number 2, I will send you a second un-mute request. [PAUSE]    

Call-in user Number 4, I am sending you an un-mute request. Do you wish to address the public hearing?    

CU# 4:                  Yes. Good evening. My name is Brett Truett – B-r-e-t-t – Last name’s Truett – T-r-u-e-t-t. I just have some brief comments. I’m an investor in downtown Utica. I’m also the owner of 442 Lafayette Street. It’s been my hope that the parking garage and the hospital would be relocated. We were told that there were two locations. That did not come to pass. It ended up downtown.  

The hospital, that is. I believe parking facilities can be accomplished for the hospital on land that the hospital has purchased. The City of Utica has said they, as partners, would work with the hospital--close streets off, and sell land at $1.  

The hospital has use of any parking garage that the city owns. I don’t believe these properties that are targeted tonight should be taken, because the parking facility is needed.  Whether it be for the “Aud,” the Nexus, the courthouse or the hospital, can be accomplished in another way.  

Just because the hospital drew a parking garage on top of properties they didn’t own, doesn’t—I don’t believe that should move the government to take these properties. I will submit further statements later, but thank you for letting me speak.    

Moderator: Thank you, Mr. Truett. Call-in user Number 5, I am sending you an un-mute request. [PAUSE] Call-in user Number 5, I am sending you a second un-mute request. Do you wish to address the public hearing? [PAUSE]    

OK. Call-in user Number 7, I am sending you an un-mute request. Do you wish to address the public hearing? [PAUSE]    

CU# 7: Hello    

Moderator: Yes. Please, sir.    

CU# 7: My name is Joseph Cerini—C-e-r-i-n-i. I own property 418 Lafayette Street to 430 Lafayette Street. I’ve been here 20 years. I’ve invested into my building. It’s not blighted in my opinion. I’ve been working on it for 20 years. I was down here when Utica wouldn’t even consider anybody moving into downtown. Eminent domain law states that property can’t be taken for a private entity, or given to a private owner.  

This hospital has always been a hospital garage. County executive has been on the radio numerous times stating that it was for the hospital. Now, all of a sudden, it’s changed to becoming a public garage. Funding hasn’t even been secured, as far as I know. The city is no longer going to be funding. The county, I don’t believe they have secured funding yet. To go ahead with the project without funding is not something that should really be done. I don’t even know if it’s legal.  

This has never been brought up to the common council for funding, so this is only agreement with the mayor to the county. It’s not even been ratified by the common council. In that stance, Steve Dimeo, which is an arm of the county, with Mohawk Valley EDGE—he was in the paper, stating, June 17, 2016,       “Warning to City – no garage, no new hospital.” He was aggravated that Enterprise received a variance to open; and at the point that they did open, they weren’t welcome. They are probably one of the largest sales tax revenue-generating customers in my block, at least. It’s a multi-million dollar business that Angela Elefante  should be proud that she got that kind of business into downtown Utica.  

Once they got the variance to open, their first week, they had nails thrown into their parking lot. I had tires slashed, and also received threatening messages in my email from a fake account, which I’m sure I can trace back; and I would state their name, but that’s going to be for legal authorities to pursue. Basically, this was from the YES hospital side—I won’t say who I believe it is. It says, Timber Brickman, “It seems to me that the problem here is more than just the stubbornness of MVHS. You appear to be the only business in the entire footprint zone refusing to go to the bargaining table. It almost is the sole hold-out over all. You may have caught a rough deal, but this is happening whether you like it or not. We need this. You should consider trying to get the best deal for yourself, rather than play harder. In the end, your point won’t be remembered, and you will be left with nothing.”    

Now, I consider that a threat, and that was 44 weeks ago. Probably, if they had treated me a little better, I may have been a little different in this fight. I actually had my tires slashed on two vehicles. There’s a police report on it, so I’m not making this up. The police said this wasn’t just kids off the street at 1:30 in the morning. They looked at my cameras—we looked at them together. They knew where the cameras were. They snuck in along the side of the building. This wasn’t just a random somebody that walks off the street that slashes tires. This was like, they were looking to do some damage.    

I think this could be rectified by there’s appropriate other places to put parking. Eminent domain law states that you can’t take property without looking at other possible places to put your garage; and I’d like to see the studies for that.    

I have a lot more items I can go through. For one thing, the appraisal on my building. They’re offering $158,000—no  $154,000. MVHS offered $280,000. Now, they came back and offered me $280,000 again, so I’m not sure if that’s changing the county’s valuation of my building, but they’re not taking into account moneys that they have paid. My next door neighbor was ABC Chem Dry. He was forced to move out—at a loss—and he received $385,000 for a property that was probably about a quarter—maybe a third my size—at least half the acreage. Now my building’s about 18,000 square feet…    

Moderator:         You’re about out of time, Mr. Cerini. I would ask that you please wrap up your remarks if you can, sir.    

Joseph Cerini:     OK. I’m just saying, I have all this. I can fax this over to you guys over there. I’m sure you’re probably sick of me by now. Merry Christmas and…    

Moderator:         Hold on, sir. Anything you wish to submit, the record will remain open until the 23rd of January.    

Joseph Cerini:     OK, that sounds good. How does info get remitted to you? Do you want it by email…    

Moderator:         The email address you have been using, with respect to your invitation, is the same email address. Please just forward it to that email address, and we’ll make sure it becomes a part of the public record.    

Joseph Cerini:     OK, and the email address is    

Moderator:         Well, our email address:    

Joseph Cerini:     OK.    

Moderator:         Just send it to us. Thank you sir.    

Joseph Cerini:     Yep. Bye.    

Moderator:         Next up with be Celeste Friend. Ms. Friend, I’m going to send you an un-mute request. [PAUSE]    

Unknown:           She dropped off.    

Moderator:         OK, we’ll come back to Ms. Friend when she reconnects.    

Dan Walker. Mr. Walker, I’m sending you an un-mute request. [PAUSE]    

Dan Walker:        Thank you Mr. Rayhill. Thank you for the opportunity. I will make it brief. I’m the property manager for 525-527 Oriskany Street. We brought in at a price about two and a half years ago, and are very proud of it. I’m glad it was a great value to the city. I think there would be different alternatives for parking for the garage. I do, with all respect, duly respect the hospital coming to downtown, but for parking abilities, I think they can work out different alternatives than to interrupt people’s business and taking property.    

Just one note that we’re trying to clarify the differences in valuation of properties, and purchase offerances of properties, for example, RCIL $2.25 million, versus other properties much lesser. So certain things have been a concern to us. Any explanation will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for the opportunity.    

Moderator:         Thank you, Mr. Walker. I’m going to go back to Ms. Friend, who apparently got disconnected.    

Celeste Friend:   Hi. Thank you. Am I connected? Thank you. Sorry about that. I had a bad connection for a moment there. So, my name is Celeste Friend, I’m a member of the Utica Common Council. It’s not at all obvious to me that the hospital needs that much parking. So what I’d really like to see; and I’d like to see this reported to the common council officially, is how many parking lots does St. Luke’s and St. E’s currently use? I don’t want to know how many they have. I want to know how many they use, and I want to see that compared to the new surface parking lot’s spaces that the new downtown hospital has; and how many spaces are in both the Washington Street garage and the Kennedy Street garage, and I’d also like to see folded in the numbers from an expanded Kennedy Street garage. It’s not at all obvious to me that this additional parking of this new garage is in any way necessary.  

So, that’s one thing—it’s not at all obvious that it’s necessary, and I think using eminent domain to seize private property from citizens for a project that has not been shown to the public to be necessary, is extremely inappropriate. So that’s one thing, and then I also just want to make it clear to everyone that the common council has made no commitment to help pay for this parking garage, and I, myself—I can only speak for myself—will be very skeptical to approve a plan to help pay for the parking garage until this has been really, decisively established that those extra parking spaces are necessary. So I would really advise caution on the part of the county of using the strong arm of the government to seize private property from citizens when it is not at all obvious that it is in the interest of the public to do so. Thank you.    

Moderator:         Thank you, Ms. Friend. Next up, I will send an un-mute request to Donna Beckett. Ms. Beckett, would you like to address the….[PAUSE] Ms. Beckett, I don’t see a…[SEVERAL PEOPLE SPEAKING – NOT CLEAR]    

Celeste Friend:   [JUMBLED] Oh, so you work in Utica? I’m on the common council in Utica – you can probably figure that out. Oh, OK, OK. I used to live in Clinton.    

Moderator:         Ms. Friend, I’m going to ask you to…    

Celeste Friend:   [PHONE RINGING] Hey Katie, I’m still on. My screen is frozen. [DISCONNECTED]    

Moderator:         Ms. Beckett does not appear to have a microphone, so we’re going to move on to Douglas Joslin. I’m sending an un-mute request to you, Mr. Joslin.    

Douglas Joslin:   Thank you, sir. No comment.    

Moderator:         Thank you, sir. Next up will be Gary Holyoke. Mr. Holyoke, I’m sending you an un-mute request.    

Gary Holyoke:    Thank you. My name’s Gary Holyoke. It’s H-o-l-y-o-k-e. I don’t think any of that is necessary because you got, like I put in the chair, that parking lot at the old Boston’s store, the one across from City Hall. How many…what are we going to do about the other three hospitals? Like Faxton, which is your cancer research. St. Luke’s, which is your birth place. St. Elizabeth’s, which is your heart, the Heart Association basically. Three emergency rooms. How are you going to deal with one downtown hospital? What is the plan of this downtown hospital, for one; and I ask for the stopping of the misspending of money between the Nexus center and this crazy building. You’ve got the arterial project—what else have we done? 8-40, just recently, the loss of New Hartford business, of like Gander Mountain and all that. So, I don’t know what is going to happen here—parking garage and parking spaces; and I’m trying to than to put my business, which is Images by Gary Holyoke, which is just right now online, and I’m internationally recognized in different ways, through different peers. And against Mohawk Valley Health System, I have complaints of a different type of kidnapping charge that I’m trying to bring against them, where I was not allowed to go to the Munson Williams to seek, to go to Steve McCurry’s gallery, which is one of my true peers. And that’s all I have to say, pretty much. I’d just like to know where all this money’s coming from sometimes, besides our treasury department and early retirement. I’ve been retired since I was the age of 26, and I’m 51 now.    

Moderator:         Thank you, Mr. Holyoke.    

Gary Holyoke:    You’re very welcome.    

Moderator: Next up with be Heather Mollett. Ms. Mollett, I’m going to send you an un-mute request. [PAUSE]. Ms. Mollett, you are un-muted, but I can’t hear you. [PAUSE]

Next up we have Jubal Harshaw. Mr. Harshaw, I’m sending you an un-mute request. [PAUSE] Mr. Harshaw one more time, I’m sending you an un-mute request. [PAUSE] OK, next up we have Katie Aiello. Ms. Aiello, I’m sending you an un-mute request.

Katie Aiello: Hi there. Can you guys hear me?

Moderator: We can. Please proceed with your statement.

Katie Aiello:        So, my name’s Katie Aiello—K-a-t-i-e A-i-e-l-l-o—and I’m a business owner in downtown Utica. So, I want to thank the elected officials who are here tonight, both present and watching this. Both city and county—we don’t see a lot of that. So, to start, I just want to have some facts of what eminent domain is. Eminent domain is that, in its simplest form. When people don’t want to see their property, what we have right now is Oneida County saying, “We’re going to take it anyway,” and a couple of issues with that—well, one, that just shouldn’t happen; and two, if we’re looking at the proof of why this garage is needed, it’s not evident, and it’s been over three years of this. So, that’s either a reflection that the project isn’t stable, or that the reflection of the leadership behind it. Either way, that’s not effective to see how this could play out, and definitely doesn’t justify enough use for eminent domain in my opinion.  

So, yes, we have a few things. Frank Meola, the Common Council, 4th Ward Chairman had already went ahead and said that Utica very likely can’t hold up their end of deal in paying for this. That right there is also a…it reminds me of in Kelo v. City of New London, if you guys are familiar with the eminent domain case there. They took the woman’s house (that was from Pfizer), and in the end, Pfizer never came. New things came up. They couldn’t fulfill the project. So these are the concerns that we have when looking at these three properties here, too. I’m thankful for Celeste’s request in how many parking spots were elsewhere. From what I’ve learned over the years, in the amount of surface parking that will be available for St. Luke’s, (I see that Bob Scholefield’s on here too, so that’s great. He can probably answer questions on this, but) but it appears that the parking spots for surface parking are sufficient.  

So, I guess when we look at the eminent domain, it doesn’t sit well with me to—sure, eminent domain has been used in the name of healthcare, but to use it in the name of the auditorium or Nexus and put a bow around it, as healthcare, that doesn’t add up; and we all see it for what it is. Not to mention the state of Nexus right now. That’s another point. So, are we really building a parking garage when we don’t even know what facilities we have or don’t, and the needs and the reason for it, aside from, obviously we have the three properties.  

I’ve personally been in 442 Lafayette quite a bit, and it is a stunning building. It is built in 1835—I don’t want to lose it. Again, I want reasons—I came back to Utica because of the history here, and the diversity, and we’re losing that—the history—one by one.  

Again, like the parking garage, we don’t know that there’s proof that we need it. We can’t afford it. In the end, eminent domain is theft, and I would like to see more officials in these meetings. If you guys have questions, I would love to hear from you one on one, or if you can reach out to me so I can ask questions moving on since tonight’s not the night for that part. Thank you.    

Moderator:         Thank you Ms. Aiello. Next up will be Lily W  [PAUSE]. Second un-mute attempt to Lily W  [PAUSE]    

I’m going to ask Legislator Washburn if she wishes to speak with us. I can see her face, so she can just shake her head or nod her head. She does not wish to speak, so we will move on to—next up with be Mike Gentile. [PAUSE]    

Mike Gentile:      Hi. Mike Gentile—M-i-k-e G-e-n-t-i-l-e. Three simple facts, I’ll be very quick. I’m an XXX. There hasn’t been a valid argument to say that the parking garage is necessary, and we do not have the funding; and I don’t want to see another building with metal structures and nothing else to complete it; and that’s all I need to say, and I appreciate everybody’s time today. Thank you.    

Moderator:         Thank you, Mr. Gentile. I apologize for mispronouncing your name.    

Mike Gentile:      It’s ok, it’s a debate for everyone.    

Moderator:         Next up we have Peter.    

Peter Bianco:      Can you hear me?    

Moderator:         We can, sir. Please go ahead.    

Peter Bianco:      Wonderful. Thanks for taking our comments here. I’d like to start by saying the acquisition permit …    

Moderator:         Sir, I’m sorry to interrupt here for a second. If you could start by speaking and then spelling your name for the record.    

Peter Bianco:      Oh, sure. Peter Bianco—B-i-a-n-c-o. The acquisition of the properties of various citizens is unwarranted and unnecessary. Multiple private citizens would be negatively impacted by the theft of their property by this procedure. Not only do private citizens take issue with the hospital’s destruction of downtown’s historical buildings, the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica also is taking issue.  

MVHS knew that the site where they wanted to build a parking garage was unavailable before they started building the hospital in that downtown location. MVHS has made a gamble that they would acquire these properties of private citizens for their own use. The fact that MVHS began building their project should not be used to justify the taking of property of private citizens. Alternate sites do exist for parking in the downtown location. There are adjacent parcels to the northeast, west, and south of the current hospital. I do have a map of that. Is that something that I can share at this point? It’s digital.    

Moderator:         You can email that map into that email address and it will become part of the record.    

Peter Bianco:      Got it. Thank you. The public already has two operational hospitals with adequate parking. In fact, an alternate site that has 64 acres for the hospital exists at an MVHS owned St. Luke’s campus. This was admitted by MVHS and the city of Utica’s attorney oral arguments made on October 31, 2019. At that time, Judge Mackey asked these attorneys if it was true that MVHS owned an alternate property at the St. Luke’s campus. They reluctantly admitted that this was the case. So, for all these reasons, and the reasons of preserving what’s left of these buildings there, I would say that it’s not right to be taking this property that is not to the public benefit. There is alternatives, and stealing people’s land and businesses is wrong. Thank you.    

Moderator:         Thank you, Mr. Bianco. Next up, we have Richard Cullen. Mr. Cullen do you wish to address the public hearing?    

Richard Cullen:   No, thank you. I will submit any comments that I have on behalf of my client who owns 525-527 Oriskany.    

Moderator:         Thank you, sir.    

Richard Cullen:   Thank you.    

Moderator:         Next up we have Legislator Julian. Mr. Julian, I will send you an un-mute request.    

Tim Julian:           Am I in?    

Moderator:         We can hear you.    

Tim Julian:           OK. I’m speaking tonight on behalf of Michael Galime, Utica Common Council President, who could not be present at this meeting. He sent me some wording and asked if I could read it for him. We basically agree on this. It starts:    

“Dear Oneida County Department of Law: I am writing regarding public use of eminent domain in the footprint of proposed Oneida County parking garage. Eminent domain is unjust and should not be used for the following reasons:    

1.      Related to the MVHS hospital project, the parking garage was originally justified with OCIDA filing for the overall MVHS hospital project.  

2.      B – The parking garage was removed from the project SEQR for MVHS and was justified with the surface parking along with enough parking for the MVHS hospital build-out. To my knowledge (speaking as Mr. Galime), SEQR  has not been conducted for the proposed parking garage because it was segmented from the MVHS hospital SEQR  plan. The hospital project is a private project, albeit funded by public dollars; but the garage would not be justified for public use. This juncture, the land was taken for the purpose of a private entity. Planning and executing development in and around the premises of the hospital footprint, and making future claims that more parking is needed, after the fact, is not just cause for eminent domain. Especially in the case where OCIDA, EDGE, and other county entities have been privy and part of all current developments. If this is the case, it should not be the burden of the current property owners.    

Related to Oneida County developments—Oneida County has proposed a U-district, and is currently developing a Nexus center. The county created a need for more parking that was under their own volition. There is no need for additional parking. A developer creates a facility in need of parking next door to other private property owners. This does not justify eminent domain. If more parking was necessary, then site controls should have been obtained for whatever parking was necessary before all other plan developments were sanctioned or created by the county.    

Regarding property owners in general—the city and county have seen an incredible influx of state funding across many buildings and developers throughout the past three years, in and around the proposed MVHS hospital, as well as the Aud, the and the Nexus footprint. The only property owners that have been subject to negotiate bids on their own property at the risk of eminent domain have been the property owners within the footprint of the hospital and the proposed garage. They have not received MVSD funding, DRI funding, or any other special funding. Some of them have had to close permanently. Some went from owning to leasing, and others have found solid, permanent homes. It would seem the only case where people do not want to pay reasonable amounts of money for valuable property, or help pre-existing businesses with millions of dollars in state funding, is in the footprint of MVHS project.    

And now the proposed county garage—Eminent domain should not be used in this case. Private public developments took place after the fact. Eminent domain is being proposed to take private property from individuals who have a right to their ownership. In the case with XXX garages was both not warranted, and if wanted, maybe placed other reasonable locations where other parking garages exist.    

Regards Michael Galime, Council President, City of Utica”    

Tim Julian:           My own two cents within the small time I do have left. An original part of this plan was there had to be a re-use plan for St. Elizabeth’s hospital, in the 19th district, which I do represent on Genesee Street, South Utica. In the St. Luke’s conference room, back on January 20th of this year. Where I was told by Mr. Scholefield and other MVHS representatives that they would have some sort of plan available to us by that Friday. It has been a couple of months, almost a year since that conversation has taken place, and I still hear, “We’re almost there, we’re almost there.” This needs to be done and taken care of, first and foremost, before any talks of taking any other properties, or doing anything construction-wise takes place. These things need to happen.    

One last comment, bit of housekeeping. I think this whole setup is atrocious. I think it’s terrible. I think it’s really limiting the public’s input. It’s very difficult for me as a county legislator to find out information about this meeting. I think the public should be allowed to vet proceedings like this a little bit better than what we are at this time. Thank you very much, sir.    

Moderator:         Thank you, Mr. Julian. Last up we have WKTV. I’m going to attempt to send an un-mute request. I’m assuming you do not wish to address the hearing. [PAUSE]    

We’re going to make a second pass to Bowden Ribarski. OK, I’m going to send another un-mute request, sir. [PAUSE] Again sir, you are un-muted. I’m not hearing anything at the moment. [PAUSE]. Give you a few moments to try to get your microphone operational, sir. [PAUSE] Still not hearing anything, sir. I apologize.    

I’ll repeat what I said at the beginning of the meeting, that the record will remain open for 30 days. We will accept any statements, any documentation. A recording of this meeting is being made, and will be considered a part of the proceedings.    

I’ll go through the list one more time. We do have Councilman Delvin Moody has joined us, so I will send an un-mute request to Mr. Moody.    

Delvin Moody:    Thank you. I will be brief in regard to this eminent domain. Actually I wanted to come tonight to not really give too much of an opinion, but mostly listen and begin to form my own ideas about the issue. I will suggest this that, you know, on both sides there is the argument that eminent domain can be used for good, can be used on projects whereby which they advance the public interest. In this particular issue, I do stand on the side of Utica Common Council President and so many others that have spoke tonight. There is concern, not only about the eminent domain process, but in particular about the totality of use. I would like to see development go toward those other parking garages that we have in the downtown area, because my fear is that if we use eminent domain to build a parking garage which everyone is saying we cannot afford, that in 15 or 20 years, we’ll be right back here with another parking garage that is underutilized, and we spent a lot of money to pay for it. I think we can be forward-thinking, but also I think that we need to let the data and the need lead the conversation. So for me, I would like going on record to say that I am not as opposed to the eminent domain if merited. For me it is the question of is the garage merited in terms of parking, and is that answer driven by the data? That would be my opinion and idea with regard to the eminent domain discussion.    

Moderator:         Thank you, sir. We have gone through the entire list of attendees, and requested if anyone wished to speak. With that, I will turn this back over to Mr. Rayhill.    

Peter Rayhill:      Thank you. Again I want to thank all the participants for taking the time to give us their input. As Bob has said, please, if you have further submissions, please take advantage of that. The record will be kept open for 30 days. Again, thank you very much, and have a good night.    

Moderator:         One final time, to all attendees, any additional information that you wish to submit can be submitted to If you have additional oral comments, or if you have confusion as to how to get the written comments in, you can call the Oneida County Attorney’s Office at (315) 798-5910. You can also mail in your comments to: The Oneida County Department of Law, 800 Park Ave., Utica, NY 13501.    

A recording of this meeting will be made available shortly on the Oneida County Government Facebook page. You can play that back and get the information if you missed anything on how to send in the information.    

Thank you very much. Thank you for your patience, and your cooperation, and your participation. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank you, and goodbye.  

We're not opposed to a new hospital, just do not bulldoze Downtown Utica's Historic Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood... "Build It At St. Luke's!"

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