In the 1940's Like most downtowns, Utica's city directory listed businesses offering everything from baked goods to billiards, cars to clothing, dentistry to dry cleaning, electronics, flowers to furniture, hotdogs to hotels, shoes to shovels, pianos to paint to plumbing supplies, violin lessons to veterinary care, and everything in between. So much could be purchased in CoLa.
In cities and towns across the county during the 1960's, Downtown Utica was taregted by the "urban renewal" movement. Proposed plans were developed, but never realized; for a SUNY technology institute campus (complete with underground parking garage) and a new governmental center. A downtown mall shopping center was also proposed, but never built...
What remains of those proposes are large holes in the urban fabric, vacant lots awaiting development, two high maintenance deteriorating parking structures that were intended to be built upon. The Columbia Street garage was to be a foundation for a Downtown Hilton Inn and ground level storefronts, but never were never realized.
The intended potential lost resulted in little life; the lack of vibrancy duled the neigboring properties.
As shown here, Utica's 1st Urban Renewal project destroyed much of Downtown Utica's Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood. As others fend-off the @MVHealthSystem concept were researching & branding "CoLa"... learn more at: https://t.co/u6avcpE7Gu pic.twitter.com/7rn3ofkNG4— BetterUticaDowntown (@BudsforBUD) January 3, 2019