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August 27, 2016 - Utica Observer-Dispatch Editorial Board Settles For Good, Questions Go Unasked The Utica Observer-Dispatch asks "Are historic buildings in downtown hospital site worth saving?" Today they say...
"As planning moves forward, Mohawk Valley Health System is open to working with the society to perhaps incorporate some of these buildings into the new facility. It’s a great idea and if just one structure and its history was saved, the effort will be well worth the time and effort."
What about last week's OUR VIEW: City, MVHS need to get their act together and OUR VIEW: Be transparent on hospital?
The Utica Observer-Dispatch has totally forgot, there are no studies in the taxpayers' hands to layout why we need an entirely new hospital. Faxton hospital is not going to be closed as cancer treatment equipment is to heavy and expensive to move. Downtown it is said offers only 25 or 34 acres (none of which is owned by the hospital), but the hospital hasn't given taxpayers a map or answered "Will the new police complex will be saved, or bulldozed?. This while MVHS's St. Luke's campus already owns 64-acres TODAY!
Also the St. Luke's campus has a futuristic $15M co-generation facility for low cost power shared with Utica College. Going Downtown Utica to create a 5th hospital district in our small city isn't about better health care, it's a political move equal to the Urban Renewal of the 50's and 60's that failed.
The Utica OD is wrong to suggest saving one building is worthwhile, the entire Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood should be saved!! No reports, no studies, and a media that appears to pander to political forces (or is at least not very curious about this billion dollar concept), thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown
August 23, 2016 - Question Reveals Just How Ill-Informed Planners Are Regarding Modern Urban Planning And this was suppose to be about better health care! The Utica Observer-Dispatch asks "Are historic buildings in downtown hospital site worth saving?"
The Mohawk Valley EDGE has added jobs at Rome's Former Air Base by moving companies from the region onto their base, they're tearing down buildings becuase they can't attract companies to use them. They're also spending billions of taxpayer dollars building a site and facilities for two firms: one is a private foregin company, the other is GE - a huge company with $8.2 billion in profits!. Now they seek to aid a non-profit hospital that already owns 64-acres and do it using $300 million dollars of taxpayer funds to bulldoze downtown Utica, while pushing-out almost 40 businesses from this Historic Downtown Utica Nieghborhood One Full of Potential, if you know urban planning and have the correct vision!
They ask the question "Are old buildings worth saving? Wow, we've fallen so far and have learned nothing! So fall further we shall, but politicians need something to label progress so they pull the wrecking ball back out. In time we'd all agree it was a mistake, but by then the political leaders have moved-up to a better; city, county, state or federal job. Meanwhile our region continues to tear down our assets as our population falls or remains stagnant...
Utica should allow and aid small developments, which have been happening in Downtown Utica - let them continue! As proved in case-after-case by Jane Jacobs, Utica's downtown needs things that a hospital district cannot provide, they are:
1. Various types and ages of buildings
2. High concentration and density of uses
3. Uses are mixed, not just all one kind of thing
4. Frequent streets and very few long blocks
August 19, 2016 - A Lack Of Media Curiosity For two years the Mohawk Valley media appears to have suffered from a remarkable lack of curiosity, this regarding the Downtown Utica hospital. We have to ask, "Why?"
Yet this week the local newspaper (Utica Observer-Dispatch) ran two articles. They were followed by two opinion page features:
Our Facebook Group at #NoHospitalDowntown has taken the lead on trying to place a bright light onto the hospital story, and we'll continue this at an even greater level as time passes - saving Downtown Utica requires it!
August 16, 2016 - Businesses Affected by Hospital Plans Face Uncertainty In this story the UticaOD reports, "There are roughly 20 businesses and three nonprofits...", and the story goes on to highlight what appears to finally be some investigative reporing that starts seeking details. However, our list of businesses is almost twice theirs Businesses That Utica Would Pushed-out Of Downtown For A 5th Hospital District
August 14, 2016 - Downtown Utica Hospital Concept- No Plan & No One Seems To Be Talking Anyone Today's local paper carries a story showing that the large-scale Urban Renewal concept is just that, a "concept" without a plan. Leaving one to wonder, who started and who's driving this two-year old effort?
City, health system at odds on communicating hospital plans https://t.co/bGQwtjVdkj— Observer-Dispatch (@uticaOD) August 14, 2016
A comment by Rodger Potocki, follows the online article:
"Herein lies the real problem with the project whether one favors a downtown location or not: property acquisition and relocation and the time it will take. As one who was deeply involved in the old urban renewal efforts, I know that the time and cost elements of property acquisition can be a nightmare of sorts. Mr. DiMeo is being disingenuous with his answer of who is in charge. Without the power of eminent domain coming into play, one or a few property owners could refuse to sell and delay or jeopardize the entire project. Condemnation is likely, if not certain, to come into play. This could mean court and certainly will mean that a government or quasi government entity will have to be in charge of acquiring properties."
Another comment from Ben Hammer, as well:
"There is no surprise here; it's the same story over and over. Crooked politicians at work behind closed doors. The proposed new hospital is the second largest fiasco Oneida County has seen in decades. The nano nightmare is number one. It's a $600 million dollar money grab that each that every one of our local politicians is responsible for. They are all crooks who want nothing but to waste _our_ money on a shiny new object that will not improve healthcare. It was even reported that a new hospital will result in FEWER jobs, implying some will lose their positions. The entire mess began with a lack of transparency and has continued in the exact same measure every step of the way."
August 13, 2016 - Decision On Hospital Made Without Medical Professionals' Opinions Is Folly! Read article titled "Evidence of Need" written by Joseph P. Bottini, Oneida County Historian.
August 11, 2016 - Two-three Months Behind Schedule, State Delays? According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch article, delays to the Downtown Utica hospital are held-up by the state. It would seems the steps for building a new hospital are clear, it was just done downstate:
"In 2003, planning began for a new hospital to physically consolidate the two campuses at a new location. On Thursday, May 29, 2003 a press conference was held at Orange Regional Medical Center's Horton Campus to announce details of the purchase of a site for a new hospital. The 61 acre site is located at 707 East Main Street in the Town of Wallkill. Plans were developed, a Certificate of Need was secured, financing was arranged and ground was broken in March 2008 for the first new free standing community hospital in New York State in twenty years. Opening is anticipated in mid 2011."
Yet today everyone seems confused. The hospital has no money to hire architects to do develop the plans, so the hospital can't submit plans needed to get the funding! Worse, the hospital is questioning the thinking that went into the number of beds. Oh, and the hospital owns no property downtown, yet seeking valuations on 77 different parcels on about 25 acres, while the hospital plans to abandon the 64 acres they own on a green hill - less than 3 miles away!
After reading the article it seems the hospital has more questions to answer than they thought. The numerous taxpayers and property owners of the Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood remain in the dark, as some have already closed, and or are prepare to close/move based on a very uncertain future.
To those seeking a downtown hospital, our group says "Expect more headwinds, beyond the ones the hospital is obviously now encountering." Last April, hospital CEO Scott Perra said the hospital would have the additional $98 million in 60-90 days. They've not yet found the funding as this article mentions (its August 8th, so long overdue at 120 days!) Yet there's also $177,000,000 million still not detailed, where’s that money? That is: $300 million (from Albany) + $98 million (from where?) + $177 million (from where?) = $575 million total.
Do not forget, in 2015 Albany had the $300 million, it went away. Then in 2016 the money came back, but not after many headlines. So, will this $300 million slip away in 2016 too? Will these funds reappear in 2017, or in 2018? If the new hospital takes 4-5 years to build, when should the state funding be released? If it is released before building takes place, does that mean the hospital is using taxpayer dollars to do demolition, clean-up contaminated soil, or maybe they'll use some of the $300 million as operating funds, make payroll or pay-off old debts, or on merger processes that are not yet complete?
Finally, the above article reports the hospital does not know what properties are required- this since they’re only getting started in determining property values. Thus the hospital really can't know what the cost is to build in Downtown Utica. Add that our group is planning a legal battle, perhaps more than one as the hospital’s agent proceeds with imminent domain. We’ll be prepared to protect historic and private properties. Meanwhile the $300 million could have already been in use at Faxton and or St. Luke’s last year had our local, misguided, government leaders not believed in this Albany-back, silly, Urban Renewal folly.
August 8, 2016 - Oneida County Historian, "A Downtown Utica Hospital, But At What Cost?"
August 4, 2016 - Do Some Deep Thinking And The Downtown Utica Hospital Concept Looks Like Albany's Nano! Little information, public and taxpayers held in the dark, and waiting for results. Oh, and don't be negative or ask questions, just be positive and believe in the project's leadership a.k.a. "the government"...
August 3, 2016 - Assemblyman Brindisi, Senator Griffo, Say "City Very Involved" Yet our group submitted a FOIL to the City of Utica and they said they had no such records!
July 29, 2016 - City's Twitter Account blocks #NoHospitalDowntown Our group was prevented from following the city's Twitter account, oh well. Guess that tells us all we need to know.
July 22, 2016 - One Big Reason They Push For Downtown Utica Hospital New York's policies have failed Upstate. Yet they're in so very deep and without any jobs to show for it, the political power brokers seek to create a HUGE deconstruction-construction spectacle but it's just "Nano Bait", as people drive up and down the 5/8/12 Arterial, they'd see our fake booming economy...
Imagine an AMS Executive Team stopping in to check on the $1B dollar factory and NanoCenter campus that NYS taxpayers are building them. Our Oneida County Executive, Assemblyman, Mayor or Albany-based team will say, "Boy, you AMS guys picked a fantastic time to spend NYS tax dollars, because these same taxpayers are building you a brand spanking new hospital district too! You'll surely want to grab the family one lazy Saturday to stroll the hospital district's swerve sidewalks with rustic park benches, checkout the mural of all the old canal-era buildings we just destroyed..."
July 20, 2016 - Utica's Lost of $10 Million is Good News, Maybe... Our group #NoHospitalDowntown would rather see the small scale developments and local developer/owners that we have seen, not a massive relocation of Utica's hospital infrastructure. Therefore, we're pleased that Utica lost the grant funding they applied for in this program; Governor Cuomo Launches $100 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative
Winning $10M to perform demolition and create a 5th hospital district would only shuffles jobs around, it would not add economic progress past construction jobs; jobs which would have the same payout if they were performed at St. Luke's and or Faxton.
So again, we're glad that Utica lost this poorly targeted funding, and like below where an Albany-backed racetrack was held-up, we hope a better plan emerges for Downtown Utica.
July 15, 2016 - City of Oswego Gets "Vibrant, Pedestrian, Friendly" Here in Utica, our leadership has an absolutely silly plan to bulldoze 34-acres of canal-era buildings, streets and alleys, that would erase our sense of place for a massive block that pedestrians would only work hard to try to avoid...
But avoiding it will not be easy as Hospital District Would Isolate Utica Neiegborhoods From Each Other, An Unpleasent Traverse
July 13, 2016 - City of Utica Common Council Disingenuous! Here in Utica, Taxpayers told they might get a chance to vote on a $15M paving program Yet not only did the Common Council vote "Yes" unanimously for a $300M hospital without any plans, they don't feel complelled to have taxpayers informaed or part of the hospital's site selection conversation!
Yet we have hope! Just like this failed paving program, which paves all roads in fifteen years (while roads only last 5-6 years!), their Downtown Hospital - a.k.a. "Fiasco General" - will collapse on it's own very sad and silly "no plans, no reports, and just bad execution" weight!
July 12, 2016 - Hospitals Are NOT In Urban Planner's Toolkits! Expert designers in Nashville, TN are helping residents imagine neighborhood focal points and parks with theme #EveryPlaceCounts
"The program helps communities repair the urban fabric in neighborhoods bifurcated by interstate highways (and in our current case, "Hospital Super Block"). Bulldozing 34 acres for a new hospital in Downtown Utica is going backwards, as is pushing-out 39 different businesses!
July 9, 2016 - Read Final Review Report From Master Plan Committee: To one day be known as the "Downtown Hospital Acceptance Committee Authorization Act of 2016".
VISION 2016- 2021: A FIVE YEAR RETROSPECTIVE ON THE CURRENT MASTER PLAN (PDF)
Plain Text Version
We will try hard to find some good aspects of the review, however the day after this "Review" was released, operatives for the downtown hospital (Former Utica College Dean Dr. James Norrie, JK Hage III and Robert Heins) showed-up on the radio touting "hospital is good, hospital is great, hospital will save Utica...". Well it's obvious; this whole ordeal (that netted only 19 citizens from a city of 60,000 for public input) was and is a complete sham.
Further testament to our belief is a search on the city's website for "master plan committee" While the newest result is dated "Jan 20, 2016", it links to nothing related to the master plan committee. Other results are linked to meaningless pages on the city's website. Lastly, the City of Utica Master Plan website's most recent news items are from 2009 and 2010...
July 6, 2016 - Utica, New York Architecture "Nothing Special" You've seen the signs as you drive into a city, or village; "Welcome to Historic (fill-in the blank)"... "Cities love to boast that they're special. It's not always true, but it can be a useful myth." This is not now true of Utica today, but will become more so should they bulldoze 34-acres for a 5th hospital district. And as another article proclaims, "If Cities Want to Succeed, They Need to Focus on What Makes Them Distinct"
June 29, 2016 - New Sign For Utica, Yippie! Meanwhile, Hospitals Are Not Ideal, This Highly-Touted One Has A Big Police Force Considering all our Group's research, our investigations, questioning, and hundreds of hours of business owners and private citizens' efforts behind the sceens, on the radio, etc, and then ask the Utica Mayor:
"Why Mr Palmieri? Utica has three hospitals and both St. Luke's and
Faxton have plenty of land, why downtown? Why?"
June 27, 2016 - How Old Is This Hospital? - The ages of our three hospitals is a main argument of the political machinery, and their allies, pushing a new hospital. They say Utica's current hospitals are too old. We do not buy this argument, nor should you! For example, St. Luke's has continued expanding past the original footprint, and the oldest portion is a smaller percentage of the current facility. We know what's going on! We wish that our area's political 'leadership' would drop their spin. Why will they not offer factual studies to Utica-area taxpayers and residents?
Asking how old any one of our hospitals is, is like asking a family of ten, "How old is your family?" It's a silly question. Also, should a poor family go out and finance a brand new Cadillac, when all they really NEED is solid, safe, and reliable form of transportation? No, it would be irresponsible! That's how we feel our government decisionmakers are acting; irresponsible, in addition to not being honest or very forthcoming with facts in their silly pursuit of a downtown hospital, and all the upheaval it is creating
June 23, 2016 - Another Letter To Mohawk Valley Health System Board Of Directors
This one is dated March 1, 2016 and starts... "Colleagues of the Medical Executive Committee and MVHS Board of Directors" (PDF)
Twenty year doctor states: "Over the past 20 years the quality of pediatric care in the ED has fluctuated but has never been as good as when I first arrived into the area. Currently it is at an all time low.",
and Dr. Bard continues "I have given up hope that the children of this community will get adequate care when they register at St. Luke's UC or ED"
It's dated June 6, 2016 and starts... "I am writing this letter to both of you to express my concern about the care being provided to pediatric patients In the St. Luke's emergency department." (*Updated* PDF)
So we can all believe that there are problems at the Utica-based hospitals: Utica Pediatricians, Tired of ER Duty, Will Send Patients To Syracuse Hospital & Problems In ER When Bumbolo Was There If the CEO is already facing so many issues, can he be ready to oversee a billion dollar hospital expansion, is downtown economic developement a battle to place onto a hospital CEO under so much pressure?
June 22, 2016 - Empire State Development says, "More Time", But Does Not Say "Please" Oh well! We sent our requests for information to seven different organizations, that was on April 27, 2016...
"Under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, I hereby request records or any portions thereof pertaining to, or containing the following materials regarding: new Oneida County hospital facilities, site selection, process documents, reports, studies and those related to planning of any Oneida County Healthcare Facilities within the last 4 years."
We are tracking the replies, but here's one update...
New York's legal explanations on delays Explanation of Time Limits for Response
June 21, 2016 - Sign Via The Care2 Online Platform! Read the comments from our supporters, then sign and add yours- here at the #NoHospitalDowntown Care2 Peition
The city and region might see 34-acres of #DowntownUtica bulldozed, these Buildings, Alleys & Streets lost forever... don't let these Ill-advising 'Leaders', and those simply going along for the ride, destroy the rebirth now underway in Downtown Utica!
June 19, 2016 - Is Mohawk Valley Health Systems CEO Scott Perra Seeking A Distraction From The Hard Work Of Running, Fixing, Utica's Hospitals? As the public learns today, and we've heard for many months, our area hospital emergency rooms are not well run. Today we hear Child Care In St. Luke's ER Called 'Dangerous' With this media story, we have to hope that the CEO and administrative staff isn't seeking the distraction of huge Downtown Utica economic development project. Nor should they say a new hospital would fix these problems!
Likewise, the City of Utica and Oneida County Leadership should not look to bulldozers to "fix" downtown. Per this story How Cincinnati Salvaged the Nation’s Most Dangerous Neighborhood is a MUCH better way- keep government out and let others build-back a neighborhood, just as our group #NoHospitalDowntown is proposing!
June 18, 2016 - Master Plan Advisory Committee 5-year Retrospective = Masters of Spin! Has all their "hot air" passed? Our full report is forthcoming...
June 14, 2016 - No, Great Hospitals Do Not Always Equal Great Neighborhood Johns Hopkins Hospital is widely regarded as one of the World's Greatest Hospitals. It was ranked best for 21 years (1991-2011), however during the very same period (in 2002), a large-scale effort to "Renew A Distressed & Blighted Neighborhood Adjacent to the John Hopkins University Hospital complex was undertaken.
As we all know, healthcare is where the funding is these days- but why bulldoze downtown? If the area leaders backing this plan want better healthcare, first they should invest taxpayer dollars much more wisely. And if they think a downtown hospital will bring us a great new neighborhood, the example above showers questions all over that line of thinking.
June 13, 2016 - Mayor Palmieri: "Downtown Is Becoming A Neighborhood & Evolving Per today's Utica newspaper "Utica Parking Plan Stuck In Neutral" While the Mayor's comments might be true, it's not really new, downtown has always been an evolving neighborhood. What's new is more people who might go to Consumer Square in New Hartford, are heading down to Discover Utica's "New Downtown"
What will not help this trend is a hospital. People will be less inclined to visit, and would-be-business owners and downtown dwellers will have far few buildings to convert into what's creating this new draw. Bulldozing about 1/2 of #DowntownUtica Central Business District See Map (PDF) would be a HUGE mistake.
This lesson was learned with the country's failed, and very well documented urban renewal projects long ago, and Utica suffered as well. Now the ill-conceived downtown hospital concept would bring more of the same devastation. The desire to live in Downtown Utica diminishes with such an ill-conceived, government hatched and backed, concept
A City Hall employee once asked, "Who's going to fix up these buildings?" Well, Utica is seeing many people jumping in, and keeping the silly government plan at bay will give the Mayor more of what he seems to be so proud of. For example, would a downtown hospital cafeteria be part of a future Utica "Restaurant Week"? No, and to make matters worse, a downtown hospital does not improve our chances of greater health care, and that's the BIG lie that started this whole debacle.
June 11, 2016 - How Many New Hospitals Are Planned For Utica, NY? Seems nobody except a few crazed locals in government, and hospital administration, seems to have heard about a Downtown Utica hospital, or maybe they're just stalling?
We'll soon offer our "FOIL" page and provide the timeline of requests, responses, etc. Until then, the mystery of Utica's Oneida County Healthcare Facility Transformation continues. It wasn't a mystery to some way back in March of 2015...
Another group offers a review of the Final 2015-16 New York State Healthcare budget (PDF) Yet by May/June of 2016, the New York Department of Health has nothing to offer us? Is it going to be a long, lonely, "no information" summer here in Utica?
June 10, 2016 - Will Utica Understand The Destruction If They "See" It?
So some wanted a downtown hospital. Okay, the bulldozers are done, take a look...
Just add two huge hospital district buildings, concrete parking garages, some winding walking trails, a few park benches and bike racks, access roads, a Starbucks and a Tim Horton's.
That's it! Now prepare for the tourists and all foot traffic to inundate downtown- Oh, and all the people, families, who will move into downtown to live near this new medical district.
June 7, 2016 - Economic Development, But For Whom? Yesterday one member of #NoHospitalDowntown was contacted and an attempt was made to pursued them to become a “Yes Hospital Downtown” member. It was said, “We need to support the governor and his gift of $300M, we need to rid the blight of downtown, and we need to dispel naysayers holding Utica back…” and further, “Who’s going to develop all those old buildings down there, this hospital is needed! A hospital will bring 4,500 to 5,000 jobs downtown”
Today, a group member was told "We need to support the governor, his $300M hospital gift." Really, support this guy? https://t.co/JreBtN0Pwv— #NoHospitalDowntown (@NoHospitalDwtn) June 7, 2016
These words and ideas came from the mouth of a Mohawk Valley Health Systems’ board member! It’s rather odd that a person sitting on the hospital board believes 4,500 to 5,000 jobs would come downtown. First of all as the hospital CEO told the Utica Common Council, they do not know the exact number of jobs to be located downtown (should the hospital be built there), as they do not even know what departments would move there. Even his office, that of the CEO (what of the whole administration team?) would not be going downtown. As CEO Perra stated, “The new hospital space will be very expensive, and we can rent cheap space many places around town.” That said, we have to ask, shouldn't the captain be on the main ship?
So what’s the plan for Downtown Utica? All we seem to have are confusing messages from mainly political personalities, and now an ill-informed board member. We could post more about this board member's clear conflict of interest, repeating "Economic Development, But For Whom?" Which has us hearing the words, "Oink, Oink"...
Yet going there we'd place ourselves into what the caller suggested was a Topix-style Internet form, which was probably their attempt to characterize our opposition. But clearly the board member does not realize our work has been fact-seeking as documented below. So we challenged them to find errors, and said we'd correct anything found to be untrue or suspect. We await a call back and confirmed that we're ready to debate the merits of their ill-conceived downtown hospital concept.
How dedicated and deeply informed are the Mohawk Valley Health Systems’ Board Members? Do the board members have enough time to oversee the jumble of seven entities they've signed-on to guide?
As pointed out elsewhere (see May 21, 2016 post below), the hospital called themselves "Mohawk Valley Health Systems" with an "s". That's a problem as there should be a single system, and perhaps this points to trouble with the hospital leadership? So must Utica taxpayers and residents go forth with a near $1B dollar project with just a vague hospital concept and board members that seem to know less than our group?
June 6, 2016 - Sometimes It’s Critically Important To Follow A Plan! Changes, especially big ones done midcourse, can be devastating…
With so many issues facing our small Utica area hospitals (Merger not yet complete and no doubt future M&A issues, Union contracts, Retirement plan integration, Obamacare pressures, Bumbolo lawsuit, ER improvement plans, Financial performance, Hiring challenges, Physician shortage, Pediatric doctor groups departure, Population health/infection control), why would the hospitals pile-on more debt and venture into a very questionable economic development effort for a downtown that's doing fine with its own recovery?
June 5, 2016 - YES! "The Region Must Think About Medical Care" NOT Urban Renewal-style Economic Development! Government officials, local ones drunk on a $300M dollar gift from Albany, and others in Albany that do not know Utica, have directed our disheveled hospital system into an ill-concieved mess...
The mess is creating many unnecessary problems for a hospital that has numerous issues to battle, it's hurting Downtown Utica businesses now, and will have adverse consequences for taxpayers in and around Utica and the Oneida County region.
We advocate for healthcare expansion and system improvements, but this can be more easily accomplished at St. Luke's. Allow Downtown Utica to develop on a scale much more fitting, that's a winning combination!
June 3, 2016 - Read About Utica NY, Mohawak Valley Health Systems' Botched Operation With bad information from the start, now the taxpayers, residents, and Downtown Utica businesses are seeing what happens when government gets involved in mixing-up healthcare and economic development.
Do not allow government to further weaken #DowntownUtica Please Consider Signing Our Petition If we do not act, here is the story Utica will fall prey to Fifty Years Later, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center Attempts To Make Amends For Razing Neighborhood
#NoHospitalDowntown wishes the very best health outcomes for all, both young and old. We have no reason to believe that it is, but should the above news story of doctors stepping away from the Mohawk valley Health Systems (and the communities very significant monetary investments into the 64-acre campus at St. Luke's), then we applauded their statement.
It is our groups strong, and researched, belief that the downtown effort for a new hospital will detract from the region’s healthcare and is a failed economic development effort - proved wrong by numerous failed urban renewal efforts of the past Urban Renewal: A Flawed Idea That Failed 50 Years Ago
May 26, 2016 - Our Position On The Downtown Hospital Is Hitting Mohawk Valley Media Outlets, But How Many Can Speak Freely? - If your paycheck comes from the government (that's taxpayer money, don't forget), it is likely that you will not speakout. If you oppose the Downtown Utica hospital concept, you'll hold your thoughts since your paycheck and or position could be compromised. That's a lot of people: A total of 30,509 people had government jobs in 2015 in the state Department of Labor’s Utica-Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Oneida and Herkimer counties! Then there are their family members and others in positions barred from having opinions in the public...
In spite of the difficulty, #NoHospitalDowntown will fight on as the #MVHealthSystem, Mohawk Valley EDGE and probably numerious taxpayer-supported New York State Authorities (like this one) and government personnel are squandering millions on this ill-conceived #DowntownUtica hospital pipe dream. Off to battle we go...
May 25, 2016 - #NoHospitalDowntown has logged onto Instagram! We're not sure of what will become of this effort. It appears to be the domain of a younger audience, but we believe they'll need great healthcare. And we know that they'd rather a cool downtown streetscape to hang out in. Also, know that any new Downtown Utica hospital would surely post signs reading "No Parkour, No Skateboards & No Scooters!"
May 24, 2016 - Calling All Media Outlets, Well A Good Start Anyway! Albany Press (Susan Arbetter @sarbetter), check! New York Times Reporter, check! Investigative Post @ipostnews Reporters, check! Multiple tweets, including @PreetBharara and others. And today, the Wall Street Journal...
We realize that our Small Team is no challenge to Utica City Hall and Albany, a.k.a. The Capital, but we've also schooled ourselves in the Derek Sivers: How To Start A Movement" School of Leadership
Consider - Read about How Three U.S. Cities Are Building on Public/Private Partnerships and a guidebook: Reaching for the Future: Creative Finance for Smaller Communities Adding a downtown hospital district to Utica, NY will further gut the city of its character!
May 22, 2016 - Yard Signs On The Way, Will Taxpayers & Residents Be Heard? Political and hospital leaders push a downtown hospital concept, but it's one so few residents and taxpayers seem to support. As yard signs appear on area lawns will these Positions of Influencers on Downtown Utica Hospital change?
May 21, 2016 - What Talent Is On The Administrative & Operational Staff at Mohawk Valley Health Systems (And Why The Heck Is Their Name Plural?) What size does a hospital or health system need to be to possesses the required talent to design a complex and fully functioning healthcare system? What work is done in-house and what must be done by competent vendors to analysis what a community needs, and how is the system designed against larger (and required) competing healthcare systems?
Does the small Mohawk Valley Health Systems team have the leadership to answer these questions and challenges? We wonder, as it seems our area would be best served by a hospital that saw itself as a "single system", functioning on all cylinders together, right? So why was Utica's new and unifying entity called Mohawk Valley Health Systems, Systems with an "s"?
May 19, 2016 - Utica Business Wishes To Expand in Proposed Hospital Zone, But Told To "Wait"! Downtown Utica has a popular grocery story seeking to expand, but has been told to wait and that they appear as a garden in one of the Mohawk Valley health System's hospital renderings.
We will be watching as the ill-conceived downtown hospital concept unfolds. Today we learn that MVHS to Begin Appraisals For Downtown Hospital Properties. Yet they still don't fully describe the area and they say "several blocks", when our investigations below show it being over seven blocks! The MVHS can be read here MVHS Begins Downtown Property Appraisals
May 17, 2016 - Is A Utica Newspaper Trying To Re-write Public Opinion? A reader writes to the Utica Observer-Dispatch to suggest that the area doesn't need a new hospital, and that the money should be used on something else. The paper is kind enough to print the opinion, but finds it necessary to (wrongly) add:
However, the newspaper has it wrong. Per their very own reporting, last year New York budgeted $300 million specifically for a new hospital, and in spite of that "earmark" $100 million was diverted to "Nano at Marcy"
Why confuse readers, the public? Seems the newspaper's editors know very well that budget monies CAN BE used for other purposes, it happens all the time. For example money originally designed for 911 improvements goes into general fund As we know, where there's a will, there's a way.
In the Youtube Video below, fast forward to minute 12:30 and see another example of New York State budgeting tactics...
May 16, 2016 - Government "Leadership" & Taxpayer-back Organizations to Operate Bulldozers... Say Goodbye to More Historic Buildings, Utica's small city street grid, and a chance to create a walkable downtown neighborhood- one that people would want to inhabit! Also say goodbye to over 30 businesses and watch them close-up as they can't afford to relocate or see them move out of the city.
Did you know that Bagg's Square just lost Murphy Safe & Lock Company to New Hartford? You will not find this locksmith on Hotel Street anymore, as they'll soon reopen in the village of New Hartford down from their post office on Champion Road.
Seems like the city should be working harder to keep businesses downtown, and not driving them out like this hospital concept would! Right?
May 12, 2016 - In locating a hospital, you would look at the population density as well as future trends. Since the hospital and government leadership will not provide site selection studies, we are looking for the information on our own.
From the population map below, you will see a significant population is within South and West Utica, and suburbs to the south and south-west.
Information like this, plus the financial considerations for a totally new hospital (and walking away from very significant investments at both St. Elizabeth's and St. Luke's) should be made clear to the taxpayers and residents. Instead, we only hear political voices calling out for downtown, it must be downtown... or the $300M goes away! Perhaps the facts are missing as the Utica area really doesn't "need" a new hospital?
As one senior executive has reported (and as we hear from area medical staff frequently these days), "Neither hospital uses all the beds for which it is certified as more health care transitions from inpatient to outpatient."
May 11, 2016 - Use Our Money (Lots of Our Money), Then Withhold Information! The MVHS Board of Directors worked with Mohawk Valley EDGE on their current Downtown Utica hospital project per the image link that follows...
However, this past week we learned that the planning information is not available to residents and taxpayers who have questions. This per their President, Mr Steven DiMeo "EDGE is a private, New York not-for-profit corporation... EDGE has no plans to search files for the records which you seek..."
Meanwhile nearly all of Mohawk Valley EDGE's $5,000,000+ dollar budget comes from New York State taxpayers.
Interestingly, the CEO of the Mohawk Valley Health System, Mr Scott Perra, also sits on the Mohawk Valley EDGE's Board of Directors. This maybe be all-good-and-well, however just don't ask questions about funding, the hospital concept, etc. as these leaders have our very best interests at hand, right?
May 10, 2016 - Careless Healthcare in Utica, New York? - We are wondering if Utica is looking a “Flint, Michigan” situation in the eye? Consider that Flint’s water crisis reveals Government Failures At Every Level.
Seems our Oneida County Health officials; Phyllis D. Ellis (BSN, MS, F.A.C.H.E.), Director of Health, and Patrice A. Bogan (MS, FNP), Deputy Director of Health might know best. Give them a call at (315)798-6400 and ask them about the situation and their Oneida County Listing of Lead Information & Resources and the lead "Red Zone" map below.
However, we do know that one dedicated Utica College student looked into this very carefully. Lana Nitti wrote a paper and presented a UticaTEDx talk Confronting Lead Poisoning Block by Block, which we listened to in fall of 2015.
In this talk, Lena says Utica is a hotbed of childhood lead posioning, and exhibits the highest levels of lead exposure - even above New York City!
Read Lana's post here THE LEAD CATASTROPHE IN UTICA.
This situation is just one more reason to wonder why moving a hospital down into Utica's Central Business District was ever thought to be a good idea. It might be one thing if we were a large city, with multiple large tracts of land, but we are not. Utica is a very small city, and one with multiple issues facing it. Bad roads, bad sewers, and now the lead issue on top of even others.
Not many kids live in this downtown district, and with good reason. It appears that Kennedy Plaza might be the cause for the greater Red Lead Zone, and one that might flash brighter on Columbia and Lafayette Streets had more children lived there. Seems a very unlikely place to position a new hospital, when an excellent location on a hill and near Utica College offers so many advantages. Please call and write your representative today!
May 6, 2016 - Bad Utica Government & Taxpayers Keep Paying So maybe the #DowntownUtica #Hospital is more about settling an old political turf war? Taxpayers in Utica pay entirely for the New Hartford-based St. Luke's Hospital fire calls!
Government backers (that's the only type we've heard from so far) of this ill-conceived hospital concept will say this is just another reason to build downtown. So why didn't they force the Masonic Home into downtown? Consider Redrawn: Acacia Village heads to Utica Taxpayers have to wonder what other ugly things are behind the hospital "concept". No reports, no studies, no information, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown
May 6, 2016 - A Sinking Feeling? Research offers an empirical study of the relationship between real estate prices and distance from the nearest hospital. It shows that hospitals are what the author calls "semi-obnoxious" amenities: you want to be near one, but not too near, because of hospital noise and traffic. As shown in #DowntownUtica Map, a hospital would impact prices within the blue area. Actually the circle should be larger, since the hospital could occupy a sizeable area, and the critical distance should be measured from the edge of the facility. Plus, nobody knows the size or shape they've imagined- let's hope that the Mohawk Valley Region never finds out!
Spread the word, please Download This Post & Handout To Others (PDF)
May 3, 2016 - The Reality of Pushing a Downtown Hospital It's sad our civilization cannot learn from those that came before. Our current Mohawk Valley government leadership and hospital administration are busy selling a downtown hospital concept, which offers no greater outcomes for the region's healthcare.
The effort, if it comes to pass, will waste hundreds of millions of dollars (intended for better healthcare) on a flawed economic development effort in downtown Utica. Read on...
According to Robert Sullivan "Yesterday was the 100th birthday of Jane Jacobs, author of the planning bible "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." It seems that a similar battle like the one we are engaged in here happened 50 years ago in NYC. Robert Moses, the Planning Czar of Manhattan at the time, advocated the destruction and clearing out of entire neighborhoods in order to redevelop them. One neighborhood on his hit list was the one Miss Jacobs lived in, Greenwich Village. He wanted it gone for an expressway and apartment towers. Miss Jacobs started a community revolution against this foolhardy plan and won! In fact, the battle she waged changed the way American cities redeveloped themselves from that point on. The destructive "Urban Renewal" policies of the 1960's and '70's, of which Utica itself was a victim, were abandoned in favor of more thoughtful and inspired thinking."
May 2, 2016 (PM)- Bye-bye Downtown: City Plans to Move Businesses Eastward From pages in a Utica Brownfield Report (PDF, 209 pages), downtown businesses in the way of a hospital relocation would be moved to:
Use Status/ Property Description/Use and Environmental History: Former General Electric Co. Plant. Currently, Bleeker [sic] Street Warehouse with vacant lot and one residence to the west between Ontario and Oscar streets. Loading docks, large AST, and transformer bank on east side of building. Contaminants of concern may include VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs and metals.
Interestingly, back in August 2015, we suggested this same Bleecker Street site as a possible location to place the new hospital. #NHD wasn't totally serious, but since the hospital administration and politicians pushing downtown would not share their site selection studies with taxpayers and residence, we started looking around.
May 2, 2016 (AM)- Caring For Our Elderly When we care for our elderly, one decision seems to be establishing nursing and extended care facilities nearby or adjacent to hospitals. In Utica we see this; Heritage Home opposite Faxton, St Joseph's right down the street from St Elizabeth's, and St Luke's Home on the campus at St Luke's Hospital.
What are the implications if any to these facilities relative to moving the hospital downtown? Is there a report that looked at the impacts, are planners really thinking through the #DowntownUtica hospital concept? Might this hospital relocation just be an ill-conceived, politically-back, "Hail Mary" effort to create a long-term construction project in a visible downtown corridor? We'd sure like to see a study or report that proves us wrong.
April 29, 2016 - Yet Another "Cart Before the Horse"? Really? So the NYS Department of Health requires "new hospital design plans" in order to review the Mohawk Valley Health System's "Certificate of Need" (C.O.N.) application? Would it not seem important to only look at the current state of an area's hospital(s), plus the current and future population's healthcare requirements, in order to see if an area required a new hospital?
Why would a hospital need to invest dollars into hiring an architectural firm for new hospital designs, before the need was justified or approved? Sounds like a waste of money, right?
April 28, 2016 - False Hopes: With New Hospital, Families Won't Have To Travel... Seeking acceptance of their plan, one hope supporters of a new downtown hospital offer is that local residents will no longer need to drive to Syracuse, Boston, or elsewhere for healthcare. However, according to a Harvard Business Review article titled ""The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care, it reports numerous studies suggesting otherwise.
According to the article "...as hospital volumes rose, the chances of a patient’s dying as a result of the surgery fell by as much as 67%. Patients, then, are often much better off traveling longer distance to obtain care at locations where there are teams with deep experience in their condition. That often means driving past the closest hospitals."
In fact, placing the hospital downtown would decrease any chance that their hope could be realized. As going downtown will be significantly more expensive, and that added cost would take away from investments in; equipment, better staff/doctor pay, or lowering hospital operating costs/debt costs. If advocates truly cared about healthcare, they would undertake adding a "high tech" wing to St. Luke's and strength the medical district already well established around and alongside Utica College.
Hospital CEO Scott Perra says operating St. Luke's, while expanding their isn't possible, yet Georgetown University Hospital did it "The building would replace a parking lot and attach to the existing hospital on the Georgetown campus."
Write a letter to the media, call or email your Hospital and Government Leadership, tell them their downtown Utica Hospital is a very ill-conceived concept.
April 26, 2016 - Per Study New York is a Good State for Misbehaving Doctors Sad that New York would make yet another "bad list", and what might this say about doctors who may succumb to political influence while trying to select a new hospital location? We have no idea, but are closely following the area's hospital-related headlines. Help us, join our Facebook Group #NoHospitalDowntown
April 25, 2016 - You can make a difference! Take a few steps and you'll help prevent a new hospital district from altering downtown Utica forever!! Sign the online petition: #NoHospitalDowntown (Utica, NY) Next, contact today, your- State, County, City and Hospital leaders to say you oppose a Downtown Utica Hospital (complete contact info coming soon).
You'll help prevent 34 acres from becoming tax exempt, which would add pressure toward future tax increases for all Utica property owners. Look at the old buildings they plan to bulldozed as the push out 30+ businesses They'll replace it with an huge medical district that forms a "super block" Have a look at the streets that would be cut-off, wiped-out and changed forever.
Write, call or email as many of the below leaders as possible. Or call or write the media. Click for the MV Health System CEO and Board of Directors Act today and you will be helping to keep the hospital expansion happening at St. Luke's.
Consider This- St. Luke's hospital owns a lot of land, like 64 acres, on a nice hill with great road access.. why go into a small city where they'd be land-locked?
The current plan to go downtown has a big government/hospital leadership push, "But this idea would continue the street grid's destruction and expand on similar principles as applied in cities like Buffalo, Chicago and Boston."
April 24, 2016 - Sophisticated and complex decisions can be best decided using advanced reasoning and mathematical modeling. One hospital used a version of Analytical Hierarchy Process or "AHP". We found out about AHP, as we're seeking understanding since our local Utica-based, state government and hospital, leadership has not offered the public any studies, reports or information as to their methods. As soon as they call for public input (when will they?)... we'll be ready with hard questions. Sure hope they're preparing...
Where are people located and where do patients go when seeking medical care, a hospital, in and around Utica? Shown below are hospitals surrounding the Mohawk Valley Health System in Utica and the distances (as the crow flys) between them- Cooperstown, Hamilton, Little Falls, Oneida, and Rome.
April 23, 2016 - Depending on what you have heard and seen, one is not sure what parts of Downtown Utica are set to be destroyed by a 5th, 34-acre, medical district. But either way, your government leadership has reached into their limited "bag of tricks" and pulled-out huge amounts of taxpayer dollars and even more "health care" spending. First they plan to bulldoze a large number of historic buildings along Columbia and Lafayette Streets.
Read "The History of the Columbia / Lafayette Streets Neighborhood" and witness a video showing most (but not all*) of The Buildings to be Bulldoized for a New Downtown Utica Hospital
*In the rendering released to the media, the plan appears to take land to the west, so the canal-era building below would also fall as well. That would mean the main Urbanik's Paint & Wallpaper building would be taken too.
If those building falls, it is also likely that the Columbia Bar and building (home to a historic and amazing bar and nice tin cielings)up at the intersection of State and Columbia Streets would likely crumble.
April 21, 2016 - Today twin Opinion Page writers in the Utica Observer-Dispatch take our side! The writers below bring up points that reinforce our reasons for suggesting that a new downtown Utica hospital appears an odd and ill-conceived concept. Such a hospital project is very unlikely to deliver the healthcare benefits and investments that the region needs...
Hospital decision lack public input - The April 10 O-D prompted memories of downtown Utica, but what was can never be again. Building a hospital here will not help. Although the ideas presented are glorious, exciting and filled with hope, depleting the tax rolls, increasing traffic, initiating a cluster of confusion for an extended period of time, would not seem to be of any benefit. I don’t believe living in the past (what was) is an answer.
If a new hospital is needed — consolidation — build it, but in an area that is currently available, with less negative impact, at St. Luke’s Campus. Look forward and make Utica known for cutting-edge medical care and technology; expand on what already exists, only make it better. And when the best has been accomplished, if the older buildings are not up to standard, remove them and expand on that existing footprint.
Utica’s 20th-century political corruption and organized crime resulted in the nicknames “Sin City” and “The City that God Forgot,” a past that needs not be glorified. I’m not naïve enough to think this letter will instill much thought. A back alley, underhanded, decision has already been made, quickly, quietly and carefully shutting others out. There must be a reason, a profit, but to whom? Without full disclosure, is this déjà vu? (JOAN D. THOMPSON, Ilion)
Too many questions linger over hospital - Mohawk Valley Health Systems (President/CEO Scott) Perra says he’s short $98 million. How can he be so precise? Has he factored in cost overrun? He figures on $25 million from local fundraising. How many local agencies would love to have some of that?
None of the reasons given for “why build new?” is cogent; at best, it’s a case of “it would be nice to have.” We’re told that renovations to existing hospitals “can only do so much” — but what if that “so much” is sufficient? I have yet to see a parade of doctors and nurses demanding a new hospital. I have yet to see a serious plan for repurposing existing hospitals. We don’t need any more giants like the Bossert plant standing empty for decades until they’re finally torn down at great expense to taxpayers.
I fail to see how the new hospital would turn around downtown Utica. A downtown thrives when enough people actually reside there in comfort and when they and others can work, shop, dine and attend events there. I suppose the construction industries would benefit, but there is no guarantee that local ones would get first call. The sad thing is that the people who dreamt up this notion of a new hospital are lauded for having “vision.” (FRANK BERGMANN, New Hartford)
April 18, 2016 - Not All Costs Are Known! The mayor doesn't know what it will cost to move 30+ businesses, and now today's paper reports Will New Hospital Force Utica Police To Move?
The downtown hospital is a silly ploy to create unnecessary construction activity in downtown, largely at the taxpayer's expense. Aren't your healthcare expenses high enough? Now they say we must pay for a new hospital, for moving the police complex and 30+ businesses...
April 18, 2016 - No Reason to Build Downtown Hospital If only logic was the measure, this wise writer would be correct!
However, over local and state government officials have failed to fix our overall economy, and thus they've resorted to creating fake economic development projects. Spending tax dollars on hospital construction might fool some that there is prosperity, but as soon as the dust settles, our economy
April 17, 2016 - Cart Before The Horse Our state and local politicians are handing out our money, and yet our two (yet to be merged) hospitals have not yet been granted a license to build a hospital. The "Certificate of Need" (C.O.N.) hasn’t granted the required license, not that Cuomo couldn’t deliver that, however we think the studies are missing because if you studied the area (current and future trends), you’d be hard pressed to prove the need for a new hospital. We suggest if you added a new “state-of-the-art” wing, and medical office building, onto St. Luke’s the area’s healthcare needs would be far better off as well as the taxpayers’ investment.
April 15, 2016 - Say Goodbye to Historic Utica Buildings! If we are to believe that downtown Utica is the most ideal location for a new hospital (and thus a new medical district) what has changed? Our opposition suggests downtown MUST become the new hospital site, and it is a matter of life and death - if not established there - lives will be at stake!
So, how many people have not survived due to the longer drives to St. Elizabeth's, St. Luke's and the Faxton Hospital locations over the past 150 years? Why were these three hospitals built in the wrong location?
Facts tell us that people have left the downtown and now live in various suburbs. Where is the population density maps of Oneida, Herkimer and Madison Counties showing the mathematical population center of the Mohawk Valley Health System's service area? Where are the facts, studies, and reports to support the necessay destruction of a huge portion of #DowntownUtica? Does building a 5th medical district warrant the destruction and displacement of over 30 businesses?
April 14, 2016 - How Many Hospital Renderings Are There? Yesterday hospital and politicians leading the charge to place a new hospital in downtown Utica held a media Q&A. The public was not invited.
The media broke the latest downtown Utica hospital story, after which social media kicked-in. Taxpayers and residents saw only one rendering, however it seems that not all taxpayers and residents are equal.
On Facebook, Scott Michael Murray posts, "One of the many proposed hospital renderings: Imagine what a facility like this could do for the area." So what's Scott seen; a college student has seen or heard of "many renderings", yet today the media only offers the public a single rendering?
Guess tomorrow's media will have "many more" renderings, right? Two quick observations from the one rendering released: It appears to include new parcel(s) to the west (that were not disclosed before), and it neglects to take the Rockford Auto Glass block where the "MV500 Plan" showed a parking garage adjacent to Hotel Utica.
April 10, 2016 - Of Trains & Hospitals Over the weekend someone from the medical community pointed out to #NoHospitalDowntown that the proposed downtown hospital would place the new hospital within 1,500 feet of the heavily used railroad tracks.
It was further reported that in the event of a train derailment carrying toxic materials, a certain radius around the crash site would need to be evacuated (for example, 2015 Tennessee train derailment). If this were to include the new hospital, a compound problem would exist; the hospital might need to be evacuated, yet potential accident victims would be seeking care at the hospital. What too about the dangers of moving the hospital away from St. Luke’s and within 1,500 feet of the well-documented concerns over “100 car oil trains”? These are factual statements, and scary concerns, which advocates for the hospital will simply say we are using to scare people- but if we just had those site selection studies, we all might know if such risks were analyzed and or remedied. But we the people don’t, so... As we’ve said from the start: No information, no studies, no reports, thus we remain www.nohospitaldowntown.com
April 9, 2016 - PM REPORT For another day, but just be aware that today a meeting was held at Utica College about Utica's Master Plan. More to be reported here at another time...
April 9, 2016 - AM POST A letter from a cafe owner in South Utica...
Supporters of the plan to build a hospital in downtown Utica suggest that it will lead to a great increase in foot traffic downtown and provide a major boost for small local businesses. Opponents of the plan cite research that shows that commuters to jobs in the inner city tend to drive in, park for the day and drive out keeping their business activity where they live. Research shows that the people who support downtown shops are the ones who live there or nearby in the city. As a small business owner in Utica, my experience supports the latter point of view.
My coffeehouse has been strategically located between Faxton and St. Elizabeth hospitals in Uptown for 14 years. When I opened I expected I would see a lot of hospital worker business. I have seen almost none. Hospital commuters may go through the fast-food drive-through windows but they don't walk or drive to local shops. Most probably grab their coffee at a drive through on the way to work. I expect that the downtown experience will be the same with new McDonald's and a new Dunkin' Donuts near the hospital doing very well and the small local business a few blocks away seeing no change.
I am tired of our city making development decisions based on the funding available. Isn't it time to begin to build what we need not that for which we can get a handout. Downtown needs to become walkable. People walk around in cities that have connected blocks of small shops at street level, preferably in older, funky buildings, like those in Franklin and Bagg’s Squares. We need to keep our older building intact and to develop in and around them. Put the hospital where it belongs at the current St. Luke’s campus.
Orin Domenico, Owner, Cafe Domenico
April 8, 2016 - Where Others See "Blight", We See "Opportunity"! Where they have given up on downtown, we know it is much wiser to keep the current momentum going by "not bulldozing 34-acres", but allowing more good things to happen. Good and "authentic things", which will happen to these buildings. Streets and historic buildings that now exist and house over 30 businesses; watch the video...
These buildings are all located where the ill-conceived downtown hospital concept is headed. Not if we can help it! We will offer more insight into the history of these buildings. They hold the possibility for developments that have and are happening in downtown today, as well as Bagg's Square and other districts. Networked together they would attract tourism in the future, but nobody visits cities to spend time in their medical districts- especially ones that create "super block" that eliminates the small city street grids.
Consider this! Utica-based cardiology doctors exclaim that today (no new hospital required!), care available is "equivalent to any major medical center - anywhere!"
April 7, 2016 - A major media outlet declined to run this letter today...
And as that media outlet likes to say, on stories it does - or is "allowed" - to run, "Check back later for updates."
April 6, 2016 - Fiasco General No costs are known, as they're just now looking at what it would take to relocate 30+ businesses to make way for a proposed downtown hospital. Also they report they don't know what buildings and blocks are to be used, per today's headline story East Utica Site May Be New Home For Businesses Of Ousted By Hospital
This further confirms that "Fiasco General" is alive and well in minds of our regional/state political and hospital leadership. They told us last weekend that the "costs to build" at the two sites "is about" the same. However the city says they have "no idea of costs to relocate businesses", or even what property is to be used downtown! This is a real concern.
Yet these same people are planning what they tout as a Oneida County Healthcare Facility Transformation? They're off to an awful start, which tends to reminds us of how Healthcare.gov Botched $600 Million
We see a past tweet (shown below), has been deleted from the Twitter Platform, but not before we caught it. Someone should ask @MikeBeck33 what happened, did he get a call? We have knowledge of people working for the government who once side with #NoHospitalDowntown, but then their voice was censored...
I'm tired of reading the same articles over and over. I wish they would release some details on the Hospital. pic.twitter.com/9fqAZtNzC3— Mike Beck (@MikeBeck33) April 5, 2016
"Aside from the direct taking of 20 or so businesses, has anyone figured that many more businesses will fail and that new blight will be caused by the closing of Bleecker/Lafayette as a major east-west thoroughfare across the city? We've seen this before when Whitesboro St. was severed turning Columbia Square into a backwater. The politically connected elite will make out big time on this deal, but the City of Utica and its residents will suffer -- as usual." - Frank Montecalvo
April 4, 2016 - Today #NHD went on the radio to declare dismay over the Hospital Headlines in the Utica Observer-Dispatch. It's proclaimed to be decided, "Fiasco General" will be downtown, but zero information was given to taxpayers and residents in support of the decision. Listen to the WUTQ broadcast here Hospital Debate: #NoHospitalDowntown Jim Brock & Brett Truett
April 4, 2016 - Today on the radio, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said that downtown Utica has more land avaialble for a new Mohawk Valley Health System hospital. However, if you compare the two locations by placing land available on-and-around the St. Luke's campus onto a view of downtown (as shown below), the St. Luke's parcel covers a huge portion of downtown. The St. Luke's site has more land and the hospital already owns most of it!
Trying to build a new medical district, in an already compact downtown, would start out constrained - and only get worse! Also all connectivity between Utica's newly emerging neighborhoods around downtown would become separated by a new "super block", which a new downtown utica hospital would create.
Downtown Utica must preserve it's historic buildings, streets, and alleys. New developers and business owners have been acquiring and creating wonderful spaces in older buildings
Varick Bar & Grill, The Stief
JetNet, Hurd Building
Utica Coffee Roasters
Nail Creek Pub
Tailor and the Cook
Buildings on the Busy Corner
Brodock Press Building
A&P Master Images
Lukin's Brick Oven Pizza
Bella Regina & Utica Classic Guitars
Sweet Escape Chocolate Lounge
Bite Bakery & Café
Mohawk Valley Winery
Columbia and LaFayette Streets will become prime real estate in the days to come (video forthcoming), but only if we can hold-off the hospital's bulldozers. A fifth medical district would not create higher value downtown lofts, for-profit businesses, and places that attract visitors- but it would reduce Utica's tax base, which is something we cannot afford!
March 31, 2016 - Utica's newspaper says Stop Delay on Aud Property Sale and let the developer proceed. The County, per Carl Annese the authority’s chairman, and per the newspaper, "said last week it has potential plans, but that he couldn’t release details... they may be able to unveil them publicly by the end of summer".
This, and as we've also heard the Aud Authority wants the same property for an expanded sports venue. But it's MUCH bigger than all that. As you've seen below, it's also about a downtown hospital and we've suggested below, the planning is in Albany. The city is mostly in the dark (leadership and residents), yet at the county level we have Picente Leading New Association for Sports, Entertainment Venues
Then further up at the state level, their planning for multiple parking garages, walkways, and new roads that will be shared between an expanded AUD, a new convention center, and a downtown hospital district- with some sort of for-profit medical center - as taxpayers cannot foot the entire "Next Phase of Nano" on their own, or will they?
It will be tied to saving the Hotel Utica, various downtown businesses, and connecting it all to Utica's Harbor project. Let's hope the economy holds up and that "nano technology" generates many billions in new revenue and the thousands of jobs we've been hearing about for the past 15 years
March 28, 2016 - Today two members of #NoHospitalDowntown spoke with Albany-based Susan Arbetter of The Capital Pressroom We're seeking facts, studies, and reports that have gone into the new hospital decisions. A hospital that depends on no less than $300M in taxpayer funding- probably a great deal more. So we're simply asking for an open conversation. The area's political and hospital leadership says they too seek open talks. So why are they not happening?
Listen to segment here
CAPITOL PRESSROOM March 28, 2016: Mayor Miner, Jim Brock & Brett Truett, Dr. Michael Reich, Jules Kroll
For hospital portion jump to minute 12:45
It is not likely that Utica's Mohawk Valley Health System will stand alone for long. All the consolidation locally and nation-wide is possibly leading up to an affiliation and eventual merger with a health group to the east or south. The "New Hospital" is all about setting the (operating) table for some outside organization to come in and take over; the staff, facilities and debt - at least portion that taxpayers don't get stuck with!
March 19, 2016 - Utica's Common Council passed a resolution supporting funding of a new hospital in downtown. It has been posted to a Facebook Group called YES Hospital Downtown Utica The resolutiuon is pretty fancy, carries some spelling errors, but by watching the use of "we", "me", "email me directly at JOEUTICA@GMAIL.COM", clearly suggests that 4th District Councilmen Joseph A. Marino is the Facebook Group editor...
However the meaning is clear and we at #NHD have formed our response: Dear firstname.lastname@example.org & Utica Common Council, Please log our strong opposition and vote of "No Confidence" to your request for comments as to the Council's Recent Hospital Resolution The hospital has been in the news for well over a year, and a very significant sum of taxpayer dollars have been pledged. However, the process to date has not abided by a democratic process. A press conference in coming days will expand upon our position, and those of like-minded people, taxpayers, and residents. Sincerely, #NHD
Looking back at the City's Common Council webpage for their March 16, 2016 meeting, the hospital resolution was made behind closed doors and went unpublished- not on the "Agenda" or in the "Recap". Interesting. Also odd, the city website slogan reads Utica...starts with you! And we always assumed they meant "the residents and taxpayers", but guess we've been mistaken.
March 16, 2016 (B) - Joe's job as city counselor is to deliver a modified Master Plan. The post below shows the City's Common Council Resolution And now on the radio, Joe gets to work on modifications to the Master Plan..
Listen to Joe Marino's "basketball segment", or "budget section", or go to minute 3:24 and fast-forward to "hospital section", oh sorry, we mean the "master plan section". Utica, please take notice, the politicians of our region want a downtown hospital more "to show construction activity" in downtown- it has much, much, less to do with improved healthcare.
Our work is on-going, prepare for work from professional researchers, perhaps the formation of a PAC (political action committee), expanded media coverage and more.
March 16, 2016 (A) - Today the Utica newspaper reported that the City's Common Council passed a resolution supporting funding of a new hospital in downtown...
This move takes place before a single plan has been made available to the taxpayers, residents of Utica, or those in the Oneida County region.
According to the newspaper, an item the council acted on was:
"Approving a resolution supporting the state’s budget allocation of $300 million to the Mohawk Valley Health System to construct a new hospital in downtown Utica."
#NHD will report more on this vote. However, as more and more political moves are made - without sharing a plan for such a downtown hospital - Well, how could anyone support bulldozing 34 acres of land, historic properties, roads and alleys, and removing tax-paying parcels of land from city revenue? Strangely, the City's Common Council has done just that.
Consider This... Columbia and Lafayette Streets in Downtown, Utica, NY offer many buildings that have historical significance, that cannot be replaced if bulldozed for a 34-acre medical district.
March 11, 2016 - Per NYS Senator David J Valesky: Senate & Assembly budgets to restore $300 million for new hospital in Oneida County. Senator Valesky goes onto report comment...
“As a Central New York senator who also serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee, I have made restoration of the $300 million commitment to the Mohawk Valley Health System a high budget priority. I am pleased that working together with my colleagues in the Legislature, we have been able to restore these important funds in the legislative budget resolutions. Our singular focus now turns to including this critical appropriation in the final budget agreement with the administration.”
March 6, 2016 - Today, a Utica newspaper opinion writer says The Missing Hospital Pieces Should Remain Missing: "The missing pieces should remain missing because it makes no sense to discover them. This newspaper should be calling this out and support allocation of funds to repair critical services. Specifically, while infrastructure for critical services, such as drinking water, continue to erode, and the same goes for the condition of area roads, politicians wish to distract the public with a new shiny object, an unnecessary hospital. Claims that a hospital will magically provide economic benefit are false. If that were the case, the areas around Faxton, St Lukes and St E's would be overrun with development and new business. They are not. "
March 5, 2016 - #NoHospitalDowntown agrees! Vote Out Leaders Who Support Downtown Hospital:
"It appears that Gov. Cuomo is at it again. He raised the hopes of local officials by promising $300 million for the hospital project. Now that he has “reallocated” that money, his latest promise is that maybe the money can be “found” in the budget approving process. Sure, governor, we will believe it when we see it! I have previously written that the project should be subject to public referendum. That is not likely to happen. So the voters need to vote out those officials who support the project."
Mitch Pezdek, New Hartford, NY
Our Facebook Group #NoHospitalDowntown has been watching the situation closely. We are not waiting for elections to assemble the facts required to show that a downtown hospital has very little to do with providing excellent healthcare or investing healthcare dollars wisely. The concept (we’ve seen no "plan", even after a year and a half of politically-driven media stories!), is a VERY ill-advised economic development plan.
So, yes, vote out or don't elect those that see the downtown hospital as a solution. But better, also tell people that the City of Utica should allow and keep room for smaller scale projects that are already underway, and that preserve the historic buildings, streets, and alleys are the way to create a desirable and walkable downtown.
March 4, 2016 - A post from another Utica-based blog Clipper220.com writes about Utica-Rome hospital changes...
"I can tell you what I see but I'm only a semi-insider. I don't see budgets or sit in board rooms. Everything right now is being driven by dollars. Both local hospitals are not-for-profit and both have drawn from their reserves heavily in the 2010s. In their last full year before they affiliated St. E's lost in the low double digits millions of dollars and St Luke's lost in the high single digits millions. Their present affiliation is at best a stop-gap measure not a long term solution. St. E's facility is 100 years old and well past it's useful life. It's inefficient logistically, in energy use, in layout. St. Luke's is better, only 50 years but still not up to date."
"This is not a situation unique to Utica. I think there have been only 2 new hospitals opened in NY in the last few decades. There have been a wave of consolidations which will probably accelerate. Little Falls affiliated with Basset and now operated as a "community access" hospital with only a limited number of beds, 25 I think. Major cases are all transferred out. Rome Hospital just hired a new CEO. I was a little puzzled when I read his background, he was trained as an industrial engineer. According to Barb he is a merger specialist and his last 2 jobs were guiding health care organizations through the process of being acquired. My personal opinion is that best case Rome will affiliate with Utica or Basset. Next best would be an affiliation with a Syracuse hospital. An unlikely but possible scenario would be an acquisition by a Kaiser-Permante type organization looking for an opening in New York. I also think the same set of possibilities is likely for Oneida Healthcare."
As posted on Mar 2, 2016 by clarencebunsen
March 3, 2016 - #NoHospitalDowntown agrees with this opinion page writer, Use Hospital Money To Fix Water System:
"It has been reported that water lines from Hinckley are losing 8 to 9 million gallons of water a day. Mohawk Valley Water Authority Executive Director Patrick Becher said this was not good but the water is going back into the water table. I don't think water flows uphill. I also remember a wetland was used for the nano building. This was also not good. The point is the sewer and water infrastructure are in bad shape. The city wants to build a new hospital, which some think is crazy. Why not get Albany to defer the money for the hospital to repair or replace said sewer and water troubles? I know sewer and water systems are special districts and repairs are to be made by the users. This seems to be a special case for life and health safety. One other comment: Herkimer wants to build a jail that nobody seems to want. I was sad it was to be built with tobacco settlement money. I thought this was to be used for health-related issues and ads against smoking." Bob Seager, Woodgate, NY
Our population has fallen by 40 percent, but our costs have gone up, and there seems not enough money to fix problems that have no solution. Our water system is leaking millions of gallons of water, and crews run around placing bandaids onto pipes. A significant portion of our 250+ miles of roads are deplorable, but our budget only allows "resurfacing" of just 5 miles per year. This when many of the roads need total rebuilding. Our traffic lights are most outdated, go out, and repairs don't always happen quickly. When the area has a big rain, our raw sewage flows into the Mohawk River. The city owns buildings it can't sell, yet allows rain and snow to enter through broken windows and roof systems- thus further destroying historic properties. While we need bigger tax revenues, the city seems to ready to remove 34 acres off the tax rolls to build a new hospital when we already have three!
March 2, 2016 - #NoHospitalDowntown says the destruction of historic buildings and closing off streets is a big mistake. Downtown is changing and people are looking to move to and invest in buildings. Numerous other articles over the last three years show this to be true. #NoHospitalDowntown is cataloging plenty of data that shows a huge hospital district is sure to be a step backwards.
Some are jumping to support politicians advocating for a 34-acre hospital district, without seeing a single site plan or building rendering! Really? We suggest the buildings that they feel should be torn down, and streets closed, hold tremendous opportunity. They want to shame current property owners, but it's the political leadership that they're supporting that has given us the poor economy that's made it hard to invest in downtown buildings. However, inspite of this, it is now changing. So we say No Hospital in Downtown Utica, NY!
February 29, 2016 - The City of Utica undertook a Master Planning program in 2010. After years of discussion, nowhere did the plan recommend introducing a huge, super-block (34-acre) hospital district into downtown. In fact, the plan called for a walkable city, and many other things counter to what a hospital would bring. In March you can get involved, have a say as they're looking to refresh Utica's Master Plan. We'll be watching to see what this revisit proposes, and how the process is carried out.
#NoHospitalDowntown is advocating for Utica to hang onto it's small city scale, to be keep growing organically, and to become New York's best little "city-village". This is now happening as downtown attracts more residents, people that will live and create a 24/7 economy. A huge hospital will be a huge step backwards! Transferring our medical economy 3 miles across town will only add to the current lopsided downtown economy; populated by too many nonprofit and government offices, which have led the destruction of historic buildings and closed off streets- only to make surface parking lots!
February 25, 2016 - Hospital CEO Scott Perra says that a downtown hospital will be something that sustains an area like past manufacturing corporations such as two GE plants, Chicago Pneumatics... and so many other firms we've lost... Really? We don't think so!
So what do hospitals do? What do they create? "Excessive health spending creates economic activity, but diminishes national productivity. National wealth increases when efficient labor and capital investment create higher-quality products and services at lower prices." Hospitals ARE NOT economic engines that create wealth and prosperity like a factory, sorry Mr. Perra!
February 21, 2016 - FINALLY they admit it; The new downtown Utica hospital is NOT about healthcare! “The MVHS Board of Directors supported a downtown site location because it can be a catalyst for economic growth in our region and could help spur additional development as we embark on the area’s newest venture with nanotechnology.”
Let’s decode this statement…
Perra says, “it can be”
You should read, ”but there’s NO guarantee”
Perra says, “ a catalyst for economic growth in our region”
You should read: “a transfer of the Utica-area’s healthcare economy into a compact downtown Utica footprint, [not “the region”, he’s just wrong and fishing for buy-in]” And that growth (if they do go downtown), would leave an equal amount of vacancies in South Utica and around St. Luke’s. Let’s add these to the large number of lots, vacant buildings and left-for-dead industrial parcels.
Perra says, “could help spur additional development”
You should read ”again, NO guarantee”
Perra says, ““as we embark on the area’s newest venture with nanotechnology”
Correction: It’s not “new” the region has been working to lure "chipfab" for about 15 years. Now GE brings 19 jobs to Quad-C, taxpayers just sent up another $100M and we’re still not shipping product and creating any income. AMS promises more jobs, but the funding is almost entirely on the taxpayer’s backs. And now we can go further into debt for a new hospital that will wipeout a sizable portion of our Erie-canal past.
Wow, a 34-acre hospital district! Better make room for the tour buses, people are going to want to see that!
Did Perra get his wording wrong? The legislation that won $300M was requested by our Assemblyman for a "Oneida County Healthcare Facility Transformation”. Now Perra uses, “create an integrated healthcare delivery system in Oneida County.” Guess they’ve just toned-down the rhetoric in the budget language. Perhaps we lost the $300M* as Cuomo's holding-out, not for something "integrated", but a powerful “transformation”?
*Actually, Utica did not miss-out entirely on the $300M. This as Governor Cuomo and MVEDGE slipped $100M of these very important healthcare dollars up to SUNY Poly/Marcy nanocenter - for that amazing job generator that's just not yet kicking - long live our "Nano Promise".
Are we allowed to ask again... "Where is a side-by-side comparison of taxpayer dollars vs. private dollars spent on "chipfab/nano" over the last 10-15 years in the Mohawk Valley?"
As the following link, and comment from 1998 reveal, the Utica-Rome region has been chasing jobs for a long time, and our economic reality of job seekers has not improved.
Utica, NY- Area Leaders “Okay to allow 34-acre hospital district to wipe-away original 1883 street grid & buildings pic.twitter.com/zoeZof6HmG— #NoHospitalDowntown (@NoHospitalDwtn) February 21, 2016
February 20, 2016 - Titled “Older, Smaller, Better- Measuring how the character of buildings and blocks influences urban vitality” the report offers data that says a massive 34-acre hospital district is NOT what will make downtown Utica a popular destination to visit, walk, or live-in...
This study is written by a long list of urban planning professionals; companies and professional titles including:
NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION (President & Chief Executive Officer, Executive VP & Chief Preservation Officer, Chief Marketing Officer)
PRESERVATION GREEN LAB (Senior Director, Planning Director,, Senior Research Manager)
IMPRESA INC (President & Principal Economist, Senior Research Associate)
BASEMAP ( Founder)
GEHL STUDIO—A GEHL ARCHITECTS COMPANY (Partner, Managing Director, Urban Data Specialist), and
STATE OF PLACE (Ph.D. & Founder)
Help #NHD in our conversations to keep Utica's hospital development at the St. Luke's Campus!
February 19, 2016 - Consider This... To Whom It May concern: There is always a possibility that one forms an opinion without knowing all the facts. I now state my opinion fully aware of this condition. I am not aware of the parameters for receiving state funds or how they are distributed. It is not my fault as I am forming an opinion only with facts I am allowed to have via public media.
I strongly believe a new hospital, if needed, would best be located on the St. Luke's property site in New Hartford.
Reasoning for this view is based on the following considerations:
1. Room for expansion of hospital facility in the future
2. Room for a parking facility (lot or garage)
3. Nursing home just renovated and expanded contiguous with property
4. Roads (highway) accessibility already in place
5. Ambulance ease of traffic and approach
6. Room for a med-e vac facility
7. Proximity to Utica College for academic availability
8. Potential of a medical corridor with Utica College and old Utica State Hospital
9. Room for a research facility in cooperation with Utica College
10. Potential for a nurses(ing) school facility in cooperation with Utica College
11. Convenient public transportation options for visitors
12. Room for a joint hotel venture with Utica College benefiting both venues
13. Room to have a lab facility for research and daily medical testing
14. More centrally located to areas of population - both urban and rural
15. Potential for a future "total medical center" with a research component, nursing and related medical field schools including: nursing, laboratory technology, physical therapy, radiology X-ray school, as well as mental health clinic, state-of-the-art heart research/treatment center.
16. Medical physician office building.
17. Out-patient treatment/surgical center.
18 Opinion of some ambulance attendants/paramedics "...an urban project is not best".
Let us not make a hasty decision - or a wrong headed decision - as was done with (1) the Oneida Square Round-About, and (2) the Bagg's Square bridge...
Round-About: May I point out the need for a two-car length space between each road/street entrance into the circle in order to have a proficient Round-About... (a) The present one is inadequate because it is too small to accommodate traffic sufficiently. (b) It was a great idea, but incorrectly implemented as stated above. (c) Haste, provincial thinking and ignorance of what was needed led to another half-baked project. (d) The focal point of the square, Civil War Monument has lost some of its significance. And (e) A display of little patriotism, or lack thereof, is evident by this project's concern for history.
Bagg's Square Bridge: May I point out the destruction of a proper entrance to our city from the north... (a) Bagg's Square has been buried. (b) The beautiful Federal Building has been obliterated. (c) Main Street, from the west has been truncated. (d) Many buildings have been demolished, some very historical. (e) The D.A.R. historical marker was removed until replaced a few years ago. (f) Entrance to the Union Station from Genesee/John Street via Main Street has been precluded. (g) Much of the legacy of the most notable benefactor of Utica has been denigrated. (h) Much of the historic legacy of the Bagg (Bagg Commemorative Park) family has been diminished. (i) The million dollar rejuvenation of Union Station is not prominent in our contemporary landscape. (j) Streets in Utica; Catherine, Genesee, Broad and Oriskany have been scared or compromised. And (k) Parking or the Federal building and businesses on lower Genesee Street has been lost.
May it be widely recognized that I do not have a dog in the hunt - nor an ax to grind. Although, I must admit to being disgusted with the inability of our leaders to make better decisions.
Joseph P. Bottini, Oneida County Historian
February 17, 2016 - The news is not the news! Our local leaders report in today's newspaper, "there's no money in the state budget, as the Governor Cuomo hasn't returned the promised $300M"
The story misses the point. We have to wonder, "Just who's paying attention to what's going on in the upstate economy?" The plan to site the hospital downtown is not about healthcare. It's an Albany-backed effort to make it appear that downtown Utica and the regional Mohawk Valley economy is healthy. Albany wants to see construction cranes in the sky lifting-up a 7-8 story medical and hospital district. There are many examples of these "investments" that occur out of the regular state budget and out of sight from taxpayers. Consider "SPENDING IN THE SHADOWS: DISCRETIONARY FUNDING IN THE NYS BUDGET" (PDF link):
A report that states: "The New York State budget is the definitive statement of the state’s fiscal priorities. Unfortunately, there are elements of the budget that are inscrutable, decided behind closed doors by a handful of political leaders, and beyond the reach of the public. In particular, large, unspecific pots of state funds are put into the budget legislation year after year in which decisions about spending purposes and recipients are deferred and go undisclosed. These ‘lump sum funds’ have grave consequences for transparency and present a risk for corruption."
And continues, "For the purposes of this report, lump sums funds are defined as pots of funding that are authorized to be spent through the Capital Budget and Aid to Localities Budget which are not sufficiently itemized, lacking a detailed break-down of where the funds will be spent, and are spent at the discretion of one or more of the following state elected officials: the Governor, any or all Senators (typically the Temporary President or Majority Leader), any or all Assembly Members (typically the Speaker), and the Attorney General."
Also read an August 2015 North County Public Radio (NCPR) story titled "Watchdog group says Cuomo, NY legislature, using "slush fund" for projects" that reads:
"The fund, known as the non-controversial sounding State Municipal Facility Program, was part of the 2013 budget. Bonds were issued through the semi-independent entity the State Dormitory Authority, for $385 million dollars, and the money was supposed to finance upgrades to government owned properties, such as repairs to village halls or state roads. That definition was expanded in 2014 to include economic development projects, and the fund was increased to the present $1.1 billion."
February 12, 2016 - As Utica College expands, their campus stretches ever closer towards "Old Main". This new $2.5M dollar investment increases the support it can lend to a synergistic partnership to St. Luke's across the street. This funding is said to boast the college's Medical & Wellness Degree Programs...
These programs to benefit from being next door to the St. Luke's campus, and another reason to say #NoHospitalDowntown As Utica College expands, and by expanding a Regional Hospital at St. Luke's, a large and integrated "medical corridor" is taking shape. with 100-acres for future growth.
February 12, 2016 - Money For Downtown Utica Hospital "Will Be There" Cuomo top aid, Roann Destito Says Money "never removed, and "will be there" when project is ready...
February 10, 2016 - - Hospitals are required, we all need them. However, they do not make good neighbors. Neighbors in Saratoga, NY are unhappy about possible hospital expansion. Would Nano Utica/Nano-Marcy Success Lead to More Destruction to Downtown in the Future?
February 8, 2016 - A story in today's UticaOD is titled Downtown Utica foot traffic step in right direction. We agree and also suggest that a 34-acre hospital district will not improve downtown. Consider what George Chambers offers in response to the article and a suggestion that a downtown hospital would mean more foot traffic... Mr Chambers disagrees and says:
"Welcome to the new "urban renewal". Let's repeat the mistakes of the 60's and 70's. Tear down valuable, historic buildings and replace them with plain, nondescript, " modern" boxes. Eliminate all the charm and character that remains. Never mind that there are plenty of other undeveloped sites available. Go ahead and tear down the area that will make the city viable and livable. Utica is truly the city that eats its young. Generation after generation. Good ideas never survive. Attempts to make it a better place are thwarted by those that can't see past their own limits. This hospital should be built in a different place. Not shoehorned into where it does not fit. It is an obviously terrible idea for downtown that will ultimately ruin this city." George Chambers at #NoHospitalDowntown on Facebook
February 6, 2016 - Our leaders should look out for taxpayers' wallets, and not just suggest they're working to protect our healthcare. Maybe in their fight to site a hospital, downtown or otherwise, our leaders would set-up taxation so the hospitals pay taxes just like any other private business? Others think this way too...
“Exempting nonprofits from tax is grounded in the belief that they provide some service to society that, in their absence, would have to be provided by the government. But for most nonprofits, that is not true.”
The writer goes to say, "...liberals should want nonprofits to pay taxes because that would give government more money to do good things, and conservatives should be appalled at the exemption because it means nonprofits are getting public services such as fire protection for free and at the cost of others."
February 5, 2016 - Adding to development now- new businesses are not waiting for - nor require - a new downtown hospital! This, as a new Dapper Dan dry cleaner location is to open in downtown Utica. Their new location is just 1/4 mile from where misguided leaders wish to bulldoze 34-acres.
#NHD applauds Dapper Dan for not only investing in downtown, but doing so in an old brick building!
We encourage others to head down to the Columbia and LaFayette Street district; make a purchase or perhaps look to develop a business and or building.
Current businesses in the targeted "bulldozer zone" include the following 33 firms!
Clemente Novelties Inc
Columbia Place Associates LLC
Dental Systems Group
Schmalz Mechanical Contractors
Eggers Caryl & Corrigan Inc
Elite Envy Salon & Spa
Dacobe Enterprises LLC
UAP Engine Rebuilders
Iglesia Del Dios Altisimo (Church of the Most High God)
John Bosco House
Rockford Auto Glass
Pete's Auto Parts
H J Brandeles Corporation
Fisher Auto Parts
JP O'Brien Plumbing & Heating
The Salvation Army
Turning Point Church
Your Store (PDF)
Mohawk Hospital Equipment Inc / Mohawk Healthcare
Nu-Look Cabinet Refacing
North Country Books
Urbanik's Paint & Wallpaper Co Inc
Resource Center for Independent Living
More on these businesses and other buildings to follow. Including news, views, and stories of people who live in this area. People, families, who are working to restore historic homes and properties.
In the meantime, please connect with #NoHosapitalDowntown on Facebook.
January 31, 2016 - Per the UticaOD's YOUR VIEW: Letters To The Editor
Want more state grants? Better hang onto your wallets Beware New York taxpayers and voters! Every time we turn around, Gov. Cuomo is proposing new programs that will give away hundreds of millions of dollars for building projects, industrial parks, infrastructure, hospitals, etc. In his State of the State message, the price tag on infrastructure projects alone is $100 billion! What he does not discuss is the source (s) of revenue to provide the money that he wants to hand out.
The state derives income from taxes and fees and from borrowings. The taxes and fees are paid by individuals, families and businesses. Borrowed money must be paid back by future generations. The last governor who had a long list of grandiose projects was Nelson A. Rockefeller. He nearly bankrupted the state by having the agencies of the state, such as the Dormitory Authority, borrow the money with a “moral obligation” of the state to back the flimsy credit of the agencies. He did not propose that the state borrow the money because it would have to be approved by a vote of the people.
So when the governor promises new “grants” for the Mohawk Valley, hold onto your wallets. If you want to know where the money is really coming from, look in a mirror. The source is you! Mitchell Pezdek Jr, New Hartford, NY
January 25, 2016 - Oneida County Executive PICENTE SAID...
"I think they're story will be a little different because they got a complete overview from us today as to what's been done and what's been moving forward and the amount of money that the hospital has spent on this."
Odd that area residents, taxpayers and at least a few downtown property owners, remain in the dark. Yet Albany has a complete story from our County Executive.
January 24, 2016 - WHAT HEALTHCARE STUDIES HAS THE UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH EDITORS HAD ACCESS TO?
We appreciate the coverage on the proposed new downtown hospital by the local newspaper. Yet we remain somewhat confused by some of their headlines, investigative angles, and now of their editor's OpEd today. Okay, nice story recap. You also state that this website and group are justified in holding a very critical opinion of the leaders and hospital plan. However, the fact that the paper boldly states they've always supported the downtown hospital! That is hard for us to understand, how so? Why?
As we've asked our leaders, both political and medical, where are your studies reporting that our three current hospitals are in critical condition? That area residents are dying and of sickness not finding cures? Let us be clear #NoHospitalDowntown feel that taxpayers and residents must have the studies that show a new hospital is needed first. Only then can a conversation begin about the size, type, location, etc. of a new facility.
This hospital project has not only been done behind our backs, it's been more about economic development, but was called a "Oneida County Healthcare Transformation". Worse, our leaders have decided bulldozing 34-acres they don't currently own as a great idea. Sorry, we just do not agree. Even if our leading newspaper fails to see our logic. But then we have first hand proof that they're also taking steps to protect the people (our leaders) who are controlling the story, by not allowing our voices to be heard on certain pages of the UticaOD.com (not at first, comments posted, and then commenting was turned off). And with that, and now today's OpEd, the paper has lost our confidence- just as the hospital and its backers have.
January 22, 2016 - Our local media seems unable to keep on top of their own missions. Or perhaps those missions are not to inform and educate the populations that they serve, and earn their livings off of? The media sure seems unable to stay ahead of the political theater that our local and or Albany-based colleagues are spinning. The media seem to lack the necessary understanding of what's happening in order to get well-educated questions onto the floor of the recent press appearances. Instead we see our leaders controlling their message, their story, and meanwhile area residents are confused and or misinformed. This is very unfortunate. As mentioned below, the media headlines of recent days are a smoke screen, media spin, or perhaps our local politicians are not even keeping-up with Albany?
Do they really think "their hospital money" was gone, and that the downtown hospital was dead? What, a lack of funding? Don't they know that taxpayers always have more. Especially for politicians willing to sell a good dream. And sell, and dream, Governor Cuomo does! This as Cuomo proudly states and spreads on Twitter on January 13th:
With that tweet Cuomo spends another $1,050 on behalf of each resident of New York! Where do we stand as taxpayers? Have a look at the Financial State of New York website, it is not a pretty picture. So as we've said for weeks, please prepare yourselves for a very large downtown Utica plan. Albany has a plan that will surprise not only area residents, our media, but even our local leadership. All one must do is think, who was it that gave us the ongoing (and still not yet here), the Utica "Nano Promise"? Your answer? Albany!
So again, please prepare yourself for project phase number... oh, even we must admit that we've lost count of just how many years, programs, ideas, and project phases we've had to endure...
...Chip-fab, Semi-NY, NY Works, Power For Jobs, Empire Zones, Business First, NY Open for Business, Tax-Free NY, StartUp NY, NY Furnace, Renewable Heat NY, Build Now-NY, Shovel Ready, Look Upstate NY, Launch NY, NY Performs, NY Loves NanoTech, NY Loves CleanTech, NY Prize, New York State of Opportunity, MV500, Upstate Revitalization Initiative, NY-Sun, Built-to-Last, Build to Lead.
We are missing some, so please let us know which ones you can recall.
January 19, 2016, 7:30PM - Is the news, the news? Reading the online paper tonight (and tomorrow's print version most likely) you will read that Governor Cuomo has pulled the hospital money: State Pulling Plug On New Hospital?
This news is based on fallout of Cuomo's State of the State address just last Wednesday. And now, already, our leaders have talked, assembled, planned a joint Albany trip, as well as placed the story into the top of the UticaOD's news cycle... so very fast! And with a meeting set in Albany for tomorrow, where everyone they need to talk to has cleared their schedule and are ready to discuss what must be complicated budget talks?
We suggest that this news is a smoke screen.
People for the hospital funding will get upset. Those that do not want a downtown hospital might be happy. However, as you will later read and as we have stated below, you must prepare for the next wave of headlines. Such as, "Utica-area leaders and hospital officials have returned home- and with twice as much money as they hoped for- and even bigger plans! We will read, these men from different parties came together for the residents, worked very hard across the table, and found new pockets of cash. They're coming home to build a new downtown, that will re-make Utica for years to come!"
Okay, call us crazy, but really? Our leaders (Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome; Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica; Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr.; Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri; and health system President and CEO Scott Perra) in less than a week have a seat at the table in Albany? We must wonder; if anyone will be talking about any job openings in and around the state, perhaps even in Washington DC? Are they renting a bus, or taking a train together, are they working late into the night, early into the morning hours? Will their talks focus strictly on Utica-area healthcare? Or will they drift and include economic development matters, a need for big new downtown building projects? Will they come back to annouce a new fire department and police station complex too? We hear a lot of stuff around town, but we do not trust that 'the news, is the news'.
We just hope that taxpayers are listening and asking hard questions. Is it odd that the paper can’t even craft an honest headline? The story confirms that the money was in fact pulled by Albany, so there’s no need for their question mark. Accept, however, if your desire is to spin a story. Right?
And another new "reporting" outlet makes the same mistake, their story is about the state pulling hospital funding, but their headline uses a question mark "asking if funding was pulled"... something very basic does not add up in these new stories.
January 20, 2016 - What are the facts, and what can or should taxpayers and property owners downtown believe? Lots of talk about a new hospital; site studies were completed and that downtown Utica was everyone's first choice. Not only did the hospital do their planning we were told, by they also had the Mohawk Valley EDGE do site studies, and then another firm was hired by the hospital to look at those MV EDGE studies. Yet today, and surprisingly, its reported
January 19, 2016 - Most of the conversation in the media (see below) regarding a possible new hospital has been about economic development and placing activity in downtown Utica. What does this have to do with making sure our area's healthcare-seeking population is properly served? Has the current Mohawk Valley Health System Board looked at the three current hospital locations, their past and future records of success, failures, areas needed for improvement, etc.? Will the public ever hear about such findings? Or must we just trust our political leaders to fully understand the region's healthcare needs for a new facility and where a new hospital should be constructed? Where is the study that says a new hospital is required and the benefits it will bring?
In the meantime, perhaps the MVHS Board should read Five questions board leaders should be asking themselves in 2016.
When we look at the MVHS Board (and our political leaders)- are they the correct team required to make all these decisions? If they are, then they've surly completed the necessary studies- and the results are long, long, overdue area residents.
The Utica Observer-Dispatch continues to follow the Utica hospital story. Today's issue presents the story Smaller Hospitals Not Fearful of Possible Utica Health Center. We are pleased for this reporting and that the media is investigating healthcare-based issues. Thank you UticaOD!
January 18, 2016 - Who decides what the taxpayers will pay in city taxes? Your mayor might say one thing, a county executive another, and then you have agencies that can also have an impact. We also know that governors have their mandates too. Are they working together and whose interests are at the core? As we read in the New York Times today Questions on Subsidies and Local Hiring Surround Syracuse Project ...Syracuse taxpayers don't know.
Does anyone else know for sure what a new hospital and related developments might have on Utica-area taxpayers? As Syracuse shows, anything can happen. And when an area is hurting for development like Utica and Syracuse, often the existing taxpayers can get left carrying a very unfair burden.
On the same topic, read Auditorium Authority "Competition" for the Whitesboro St. Property on Fault Lines, The Greater Utica Blog
Consider This - Whether this applies to evaluating one of our existing hospitals for demolition, in part or completely, and or bulldozing historic canal-era buildings in downtown Utica, why not call professionals in? Here in Utica residents were told that old downtown buildings would be razed, and perhaps streets closed, for a new hospital coming to 34-acres. Our politicians said they would find plans for the three old hospitals as the new hospital went up. However, the head of the hospital board told a crowd at a city meeting that St. Elizabeth’s would certainly not become low-income housing. Yet he confessed not a dime had been spent on redevelopment plans. It seems odd, that those two statements can co-exist, and in the same breath, right?
We suggest that the public be involved in the planning up-front, and that professionals, like Landmarks Preservation Commissions and the American Institute of Architects, be consulted as well. This was done for a hospital project in New York City (PDF).
Utica deserves the same measured steps, and an open discussion on all aspects of the hospital plans that involve our streets, historic buildings, neighborhoods and budgets; not to mention our future healthcare- which, by the way, is the most expensive healthcare system in the world and the worst performing.
January 14, 2016 - Rather than place an apartment complex next to railroad tracks, perhaps the Downtown Utica-focused developer Purcell Construction, would build on a site where the downtown hospital thinks they're best located over on Columbia Street? In such a deal the Utica AUD might be able to make their "plans" come into better focus?
As we have reported below, a county-directed group seeks to build a sports and entertainment district: Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority offers $500,000 for a Bagg's Square Parcel in Utica. If you look into the story, you will see it is essentially Oneida County pledging money to the City of Utica. It is further pointed out that the taxpayer is the seller and the buyer. And if one really wants to see what it means to taxpayers, one place to look is at the Utica AUD's budget.
The Utica Comets Hockey sure have attracted revenues, but where are the monies coming from, and where are they going to- and where are the taxpayers and ticket holders in this interconnected system? Per illustration below, people paying water bills in the region (to the Mohawk Valley Water Authority) are also paying to keep the AUD going, per the Utica AUD's 2013 Financial Statement (PDF). And for reference 2014 Financial Statements. Interesting, right?
Is it shocking that the Utica AUD's liabilities have jumped from $334,254 in 2013, to $4,171,911 in 2014? Also in 2014, revenues for "Concessions Income" and "Ice Rentals" went to $0 when they were $131,173 in year 2013. As a New York State Authority, NY taxpayers appear to have a greatly increasing risk.
These facts will soon all become connected as we believe plans in Albany and City Hall will prove out that the Sports & Entertainment Facility plan (see below) are quietly going to combine with the New Downtown Hospital. And, just as private developers like Purcell get blindsided, we suggest if not awake, taxpayers in Utica and Oneida County will be too!
January 13, 2016 - Per the Utica Observer-Dispatch, the NYS Public Authority that operates the Utica AUD has placed a purchase offer of $500,000 for the Washington Courts site, which runs along the railroad tracks in downtown Utica. The Utica AUD and Board of Directors is largely funded by New York State taxpayers by way of Albany. As the days unfold, you will see this purchase expand into plans that meet with the downtown hospital plans, that oddly have not yet been released. Can we honestly believe that the hospital board doesn't know of the plans and what they will look like? In the story, our County Executive shares his opinions- and as the new leader of a yet another new authority (the NYSSEFA) he's likely preparing to funnel more tax dollars into the plans. You might say this is a good use of taxes, but why can't the taxpayer be part of the plan? And truly, until you see their plans you cannot say these leaders are dealing fairly, can you?
January 11, 2016 - Our #NHD headline today: Does Utica "Need" a New Hospital, or do Our Leaders Just "Want" One?
If one lives in South Utica and encounters a heart problem, you'd be under a mile from the modern [their word, not ours] Mohawk Valley Heart Institute established in 1997. Their website goes onto read "St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare, working together as the "hospital without walls." Our collaboration engages the best physicians, staff, facilities and equipment to provide the most effective treatment and rehabilitation for our patients."
They have even added a newer website, which reads "MVHI has grown into one of the premiere cardiac care facilities in New York State, where we continue to develop new treatments and support research, provide community support, and improve the lives of those who come to us for care"
So why would area leaders have us believe Utica needs a new hospital? One politician told us of "crowded hallways" as a sign for needing a new hospital. So, has the need for a new hospital come from such observations alone? We've been denied access to any reports, so we will just have to wonder- or do our own research. This is exactly what we've been doing as we'd like to understand how deplorable our three facilities are, and just how many lives are being lost or sicknesses going without cure.
As for replacing our emergency rooms, we should first ask "How well are our current ER's being operated and managed?" The following story is about a study showing Many Hospitals Neglect Practices to Combat ER Overcrowding The study title and link:
January 10, 2016 - See today's printed version of the UticaOD for their newest story related to a downtown Utica hospital. Interestingly we do not yet see that story posted on their website. Perhaps just a small timing issue? However, might there be other reasons "they" might hold-off posting the story online? It is great that the paper is writing about the hospital, but as you read it you'll notice it is more a story about economic development, very little factual data on hospital and healthcare issues. This suggests the downtown plan wasn't about healthcare. It is a government-based plan to build shiny buildings that will "suggest" our area is progressing. But what about the hospital studies we were told about, did they have anything to do with healthcare-related metrics? In the same UticaOD issue we read an Associated Press story of Cuomo's very ambitious "Built to Last" talk coming up on Wednesday... this will then be followed by stories from Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Assemblyman Anthony-Brindisi on the big downtown Utica plans. One reason they'll say "they" can afford these plans is due to increased state revenues. How did revenues increase? Well by increasing the minimum wage!
January 8, 2016 - While we're not sure what the Board of the Mohawk Valley Health System is up to in regards to their downtown hospital plans #NoHospitalDowntown continues to meet to compare notes, ideas, gather data and information. Please visit us on our Facebook Page and let us know what your thoughts are.
January 7, 2016 - Should college and universities spend millions and billions of dollars on sport teams, coaches, infrastructure, and everything that it requires? Or should institutions focus on preparing students for careers and all of life’s challenges that lie ahead of them? One university president suggests the answer is “No” Drexel University happily avoids the sports spending binges that sap resources at far too many other schools
What about very significant taxpayer dollars being invested into expanding county and city owned facilities- for example Rochester's Blue Cross Arena? The same venues where college teams, as well as privately owned companies, operate within and profit handsomely? In our case, here in Utica Mohawk Valley Garden Takes Over Utica Memorial Auditorium In this deal New York was investing $8,000,000 of the taxpayer's money.
If you love sports, you might say “sure!” But what if you happen to be out-of-work and or under-employed, and feel your regional governments have spent too much on the wrong things? Your leaders have been chasing employers to locate here- yet they haven’t shown up and you’ve been waiting for decades? But now, what if these same leaders suggest a new "big need", one calling for a new or expanded arena, sport complex, and even a hospital district complete with multiple parking garages and billed as a Oneida County Healthcare Facility Transformation?
We at #NoHospitalDowntown have been watching. We’ve been criticized that our questions will chase away $300M dollars in funding. Yet when our leaders say they’re eyeing 34-acres for a downtown hospital district, but no defined plans exist- and it’s only 12-acres! Well we have questions, especially when the 12-acres support Erie Canal-era buildings, and tax-paying businesses. While some buildings are not shiny or overly productive today, they're buildings prime for redevelopment into properties that cannot be recreated if bulldozed.
We see Rochester has spent heavily on their sport venue, just as Utica’s AUD has in recent years. Then more recently we heard our Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is heading a new New York State venture. It's not private, it's "public", so taxpayers will foot the costs for the New York State Sports & Entertainment Facilities Association Today we’ve located the website they have under construction, visit them at NYSSEFA
When we look to see who’s names are connected to the NYSSEFA, we found a firm called Park Strategies LLC, which was founded by and is run by none other than Former NYS Senator D’Amato. So this new public association, that Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente heads, appears to have a contact person who works for a private lobbying firm, Robert D Bulman, also of Park Strategies LLC The website features the Utica AUD, talks about the Utica Comets, is headed by our County Executive, but is the email and contact form information being received by a leading Albany-based lobbyist? Are things like this why U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says New York State suffers from "a lot of enabling of corruption"?
Either way, we suggest that Utica-area taxpayers prepare for a significant plan for their downtown. A plan designed by others, but paid in large part by taxpayers. And while labeled as an "amazing healthcare investment opportunity", it just might be "more urban hospital sprawl" designed to bring a parking garage to the Utica AUD and wipes-out our canal-era past. It also seems likely to wipe-out the historic police building and a modern police maintenance garage- which was a first step in the Utica's Gateway Plan but one that stalled.
You can read of this plan and so much more in a Cornell University thesis by Ross Randolph Pristera URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND REVITALIZATION RELATED TO CITY AND REGIONAL POLITICS IN UTICA, NEW YORK (PDF Link)
January 5, 2016 - First #NoHospitalDowntown wishes to say "Happy New Year!"
We see today where Cuomo is gearing-up for the New York State of the State address on January 13th. He'll lay out his priorities for the year. Our guess is Cuomo will mention Utica. As we suggest below, we'll hear how we'll need to spend heavily to prepare for "Nano Utica". All which will translate into even larger taxpayer-supported investments, this time in a hospital/slash hospital complex. Just about a week away... or perhaps the big unveiling will follow later in January? This when Cuomo visits Utica- complete with drawings and plans to bulldoze 34 acres to improve the Utica-region's healthcare outcomes!?! Cuomo will mention the need to invest in downtowns. Okay, but we suggest to keep doing what Utica has been doing and keep the hospital where it is- and don't bring in bulldozers!
December 26, 2015 - Per today's UticaOD OpEd page: Downtown hospital makes no sense
I do not understand the logic of the Dec. 6 editorial, “Hospital can fit in new Downtown Utica.”
1. Why would you want to add traffic and parking to an area that would have a police station, arena and a hospital? A perfect example: Court House, County Office Building and State Office Building.
2. Why would you move businesses that already pay property taxes and are well established in the area to a hospital that is a 501-C3 (pays no taxes) Chances are that if these businesses move the cost will be more than what they had before moving; they may not establish their business or move out of the area.
3. Why not get grocery store, pharmacy, car rentals and other stores to support the loft apartments? There will be the tax of properties that Utica needs along with what is already there.
JOAN SEAGER of Woodgate, NY
December 25, 2015 - To our followers and friends at #NoHospitalDowntown: Merry Christmas! Enjoy your holiday and we suggest you prepare for a second visit by Santa. It's our guess that an Albany-based leader will soon announce more "presents" in the coming weeks as Utica Region finally learns of new taxpayer-funded plans our government's been wrapping-up for us. They'll be BIG, so please excuse their delays: An expanded AUD, a new hospital, two parking garages, at least one medical-based office building, and new traffic patterns. We'll also venture a guess the local headlines will read something like "Area Leaders Act to Prepare for Thousands of Nano Tech Jobs" that will someday arrive...
December 19, 2015 - A quite story this week in the Utica Observer Dispatch about Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente serving as the chairman of the new New York State Sports & Entertainment Facilities Association. Might this be more about a Downtown Hospital? Oddly we've found no press releases from the state, and as of today just a few Utica-base media outlets ran the story.
Will local reporters tell us the history of this new entity, who created it, with what funding, and what's the role of the taxpayer? Might Albany be cooking up plans for us taxpayers who will fund it? Must we sit by as our government piles us further into debt with their transformative "economic development" plans? Take note, taxpayers funding public venues for private gain is not new!
We suggest you prepare for the upcoming site plan that will feature parking garages, a new downtown hospital, and other fancy downtown sports and entertainment-related structures, plus walkways and traffic patterns. All this after our leadership grabs more funding from Albany and prepare to bulldoze 34 acres of downtown Utica. This time our leaders will threaten, "If we don't go along with these plans, $300 million for the new downtown hospital AND the Comets will leave Utica!
Consider the money the state has spent on Nano Utica and now a new hospital, actually it appears to just be a lot of debt that taxpayers will need to take care of. From the New York State Comptroller's office:
"ESDC's debt outstanding totaled more than $10.7 billion for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, an increase of 20 percent over FY 2013, as shown in Figure 2. Of that total, most is State-Supported debt issued over time for various purposes but reflecting an increasing reliance on debt issued by ESDC to fund a broader scope of State purposes including highway projects, correctional and youth facilities projects and to refund debt of other authorities.7 Recent examples include bonds issued to finance the cost of economic development programs such as the Buffalo Regional Innovation Cluster, the Economic Transformation Program, and the New York State High Technology and Development Program."
Read linked PDF via the pie chart below.
December 18, 2015 ***NOTICE*** #NoHospitalDowntown holds three weekly Meetings. Our Friday meeting location is changing; we're now meeting at Citation Services, 418 Lafayette Street in downtown Utica. A big thank you to Utica Public Library for their past hospitality on Fridays- we really enjoyed your building, the Music Room is a fantastic asset.
Call Citation Services at 797-2319 for more information on Utica's #NHD Movement or for: office copiers, printer, and related equipment needs. The owner Joe has worked hard to buy, fix and make further improvements to his business, which operates out of these Erie Canal-era buildings. We're working to stop the hospital's efforts to bulldoze them.
December 17, 2015 Consider this - 5 Challenges in Renovating or Building a Hospital -When it comes to the culture of a hospital, nothing is as important as...
"Renovating and building new hospitals are expensive ventures, and in most instances, they are necessary"...but there are five main challenges and financial barriers every hospital management team must overcome before it moves forward with its own renovation or construction project.
1. Accessing affordable capital.
2. Selecting an approach and facility design that optimizes costs.
3. Forecasting future needs. One of the most highly criticized aspects of renovating or building new hospital facilities comes in the form of this question from the public... ...this was accomplished by using forecasting modeling and by analyzing the demand of the future with financial consultants and other stakeholders.
4. Adopting green building strategies.
5. Engaging and gaining support from medical staff, civic leaders and the public early on.
Our Utica-area government and hospital officials seem to have skipped these "new hospital" decision steps. Seems they just "heard that Albany was handing out taxpayer money, so they drafted some legislation and now we have nothing but questions- and they're off hunting for more money to make their "Healthcare Transformation" come true! Don't ask questions, just believe in their dreams...
December 14, 2015 Utica, NY - Via Amy Roth on Twitter @OD_Roth She tweets: "Don't place any bets on new hospital going in downtown Utica. Board chair: Parking garage funding didn't come thru"... but UticaOD edits/re-links their story, so click below for newest link to Amy Roth's story:
Has Oneida County applied for a "CON" for the proposed new hospital yet? Understand the "Certificate of Need" or CON process. Then compare the available information on New York State's Department of Health CON website as compared to Georgia's CON website You'll see that Georgia offers very up-to-date and detailed reporting, for example the Georgia CON Tracking Report (PDF)
We see where a "surprise" was welcome by our leaders as Governor Andrew Cuomo & Legislature passed a budget with funding for a "Healthcare Integration in Oneida County" based on the "Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP)" Program. Yet the same story goes onto report funding for the DSRIP project has not yet been announced.
So, does a surprise budget and a pot of money trump a CON?
December 12, 2015 Utica, NY - Last night the chair of the Mohawk Valley Health System board, Norm Siegel, spoke to the South Utica Neighborhood Association. He told about 50 people mostly what’s already been reported and offered limited additional insights as to what the new downtown hospital would look like, however it is their top location. Norm said, “…it all began when the CEO of the hospital heard that some state money might be available for new hospitals.” After hearing that, the hospital board asked Mohawk Valley EDGE to look at possible sites within 10 miles of downtown Utica. Mohawk Valley EDGE hired a consultant and a “big book” was produced. The MVHS wasn’t sure of those results, so they hired their own independent consultant to review EDGE’s work- as the board wasn’t sure of the results and an independent review was desired. A resident in attendance asked “May we see these studies, or must we just take your word, that of the MVHS board’s that downtown is best?” Norm replied, “No, you can’t see the studies.” Norm also confessed that since the region lost out in the MV500 contest, “the downtown location wasn’t looking too good.” Winning the regional $500 million prize would have covered infrastructure to support building downtown, parking garages, etc.
More news on this from the UticaOD: Money crunch puts downtown hospital in doubt
December 10, 2015 Utica, NY - First, the very very best to CPA Carl S Dziekan in his situation. Today Carl writes an opinion page GUEST VIEW: "One downtown hospital best for all". In response we at #NHD say thank you Mr Dziekan for keeping this conversation going. An expanded reply to follow here later, however a quick look at an online map suggests that Strong Memorial is not a single location. To sell this promise "a single hospital for all", is a false and or fully misleading proposition. We have more research on this story and opinion, but please feel free to help us, pro or con, over at #NoHospitalDowntown
December 9, 2015 Utica, NY - The UticaOD has re-worked pages on their website, please take notice...
Their original story titled "Proposed hospital cure or catastrophe for downtown?" has moved. You can now find this story at this new address:
That's the new URL/web address that works as of (9:52 PM 12/9/2015), the old address shown below (along with the error message/resulting screen shot) was:
So the good news is what had been news, is still news! However, their news published on November 29, 2015 has now become news published one day later. Just taking notes, as we're watching this story very closely (and we at #NHD want to keep our links working properly for our readers). We also think everyone should watch carefully, since there's a Utica hospital plan looking to spend between $600 million and $1 billion dollars- a significant amount will be taxpayer dollars.
December 6, 2015 Utica, NY - In suggesting a practical decision-making method, Founding Father of the United States Benjamin Franklin once said,
"When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time..."
So, until we see a real downtown hospital plan, entire site footprint, the hospital design and layouts, how the site was selected from others, etc. the public is being left out of a real, constructive, conversation and debate. In the meantime #NoHospitalDowntown prepares to advocate on behalf of property owners, taxpayers and to protecting downtown Utica's historical buildings, the existing road grid and character. We look forward to the eventual unveiling of Hospital Board's and their vendor's Reasonings.
December 6, 2015 Utica, NY - New Downtown Hospital Plan Doesn’t Make Much Sense I have lived in the Utica area for 88-plus years so I do feel I have a strong historical background for commenting on the proposed hospital in the Columbia Street area of Utica. It can only result in a terribly congested traffic situation that already has problems as a result of the increased use of the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Aud is good for our city and I hope it continues to move ahead with more events in the future. It does not need competition from a hospital’s traffic volume. Why spend millions of dollars on a completely new facility when we already have a viable hospital with room to grow? The present facility can be updated and added to as needed. The present St. Elizabeth Medical Center could be converted to an “urgent care facility” and rehabilitation hospital. I believe this plan would save the taxpayers from being overburdened with taxes already out of control and provide Utica with an area to grow business for the future in the downtown area. Hospitals do not encourage businesses as most have their own cafeteria and shops within the system. Consideration of these suggestions will be appreciated. GEORGE HARRIS, New Hartford, NY
December 2, 2015 Utica, NY - We at #NoHospitalDowntown are advocating for downtown Utica! We'd like to keep the small measured steps going, and not bulldoze 34 acres for yet a 5th medical district. The Utica-Rome region needs solid job growth in wealth-creation industries, not big taxpayer-funded plans. Plans touted by politicians as developments that will give "downtown Utica a re-birth" and create a "Health Care Facility Transformation", not to mention "Chip-fab, Nano" that's been in the works for 15 years. Almost every trick our leaders have done to create job growth has failed, just look at the numbers. Taxes go up, people and companies leave, the results are not hard to compute. Yet they're suggesting that building a new hospital; tearing down a police station facility, abandoning a micro-grid, co-gen, plant, bulldozing 34 acres, is going to help people earn more money and net them more or better jobs? Can we please see the site plans for the new hospital and AUD-based sports complex? Residents are getting sound bites and media headlines, but PLEASE show us the plans (even the concept drawings) and the numbers. We'd really like to "see" your plans for downtown Utica. If they're so great, why won't you show us?
November 30, 2015 Utica, NY - #NoHospitalDowntown would like to thank the Observer-Dispatch and their staff for their reporting these last few months, especially the last few days. For many years downtown Utica has been dying a slow death, as have numerous other Rust Belt Cities. In Upstate New York, very little was done as manufacturers and all the supporting businesses departed. Yet some of downtown Utica's best years have been the last couple years as small businesses and individuals have purchased buildings and redeveloped them. Yes, we are not yet thriving, but small solid gains are being made. #NoHospitalDowntown's desire is to allow the pace of these smaller developments to continue and to say "No!" to yet a 5th hospital and medical district! The bigger problem for downtown Utica is this:
All the downtown hospital plan will do is shift jobs from one area of town to another, while also destroying old buildings that people will one day miss. Sure, if built, downtown would get a new hospital and a couple parking garages, but what will it really do to improve the region's healthcare? How many people will want to move downtown to live next to a new 34 acre medical district? Lastly, our area has had a very hard time repurposing old buildings. So why should we be confident that the three old hospital sites don't end up looking like Old Main?
November 29, 2015 Utica, NY - "Downtown Hospital Catastrophe or Cure?” reads the local headline. We’ll suggest that the answer is neither. A catastrophe is something that happens very suddenly and the Mohawk Valley Health System hospital board doesn’t even have a plan (or do they, and they just don’t wish to share it?). If built the downtown hospital will take many years to complete. So it's not correct to label it a catastrophe. Is it a cure? Not very likely, as downtown Utica is already on the mend. While Utica is not thriving, what’s really broke is the upstate economy. In spite of unending plans by government leaders and public-private efforts (for like 30 years or more), it’s still broken- not creating jobs, increasing taxes, and losing population. Yet finally downtown Utica is on the rebound thanks in large part by small independent projects. Tearing down blocks-and-blocks of old streets and buildings for a super-block hospital, when Utica has four current or former hospital sites, is simply a stupid, government-driven, idea- and yet another waste of taxpayer’s hard-earned money. But at least the AUD will get parking! Which is one of our thoughts, funding this downtown hospital is a veiled attempt to place a parking garage by the AUD. This is why they're not showing residents their site plans, not the AUD nor the hospital board. Smoke and mirrors, and a few headlines... (see below post).
November 16, 2015 Utica, NY - Another development for downtown Utica: A $13 million, 129-unit, market-rate housing complex is turned down, while a $60 million Utica AUD-based Sports Complex is mentioned, but not detailed! Utica taxpayers should watch as the plan to teardown their police department (and it's newly constructed maintenance garage and parking lots), plus a total of 34-acres to build a new downtown hospital, begin to merges with a plan to place a parking garage at the AUD. Smoke and mirrors, plus a few headlines while a $13M Utica housing developer is blindsided!
November 13, 2015 Utica, NY - An arts organization from Minneapolis is in talks to create artists' live-work lofts in Utica. Perhaps for as many as 45-60 artists who would likely be located in or around Downtown Utica. According to the Utica newspaper, ArtSpace Projects Inc is Visiting Utica.
ArtSpace sees what #NHD sees, as they comment "So, you have exactly the right characteristics. You’ve got great historic bones here. You’ve got some amazing buildings that could be rehabbed and would make beautiful artists space.”
November 11, 2015 Utica, NY - The recent hospital issue has been in the news for awhile. Today #NoHospitalDowntown looks back to a May 15, 2015 media story where we're told that the MVHS Board was starting with downtown Utica as the center, and looking outward 5 to 10 miles... Hospital Officials Examine Sites For New Hospital. Yet in the "end" the public only hears of two possible sites; Downtown Utica on Columbia & Lafayette Streets, and a second choice at St Luke's Campus
November 9, 2015 Utica, NY - #NoHospitalDowntown has just learned that apparently the downtown Utica site was not the first, preferred site when discussions were initiated. The Yahnundasis Country Club location was seriously debated as the primary location for the new hospital campus. The NYS Department of Health was supportive of this location. It also supported the alternative location of the former Utica Psychiatric Center! For whatever reason, both sites were vetoed by both the Governor's office, local representatives Anthony Brindisi and Joseph Griffo, and Steve Dimeo, EDGE Director. The Mohawk Valley Hospital Board also rejected these sites! This begs the question-who is in charge here? Why would DOH opinions be ignored?
November 5, 2015 Utica, NY - Utica College reports "College won't annex St. Luke's if new hospital built in Utica". Read more about the downtown hospital plan on the UticaOD website. Follow #NoHospitalDowntown to support downtown Utica with a non-hospital based plan.
November 1, 2015 Utica, NY - We, #NoHospitalDowntown, support the rebuilding of downtown Utica where old buildings can continue to be redeveloped as is currently being done. Downtown Utica has buildings on multiple streets undergoing redevelopment. Old buildings are in demand; foot traffic is building, as places like Utica Coffee Roasters and a variety of other new business bring people downtown.
Some say these buildings are too expensive to fix, but it's not always true. You can take our current 2015 Urban Blight at 312 Columbia Street, Utica, NY and return it to Morehouse Appliances, 312 Columbia St, Utica, NY Circa 1894. Today, the original sign Morehouse sign structure remains, imagine how proud people will be when its reused, ice cream shop, with a 2nd and 3rd floor walk-up apartment/loft anyone?
October 31, 2015 Utica, NY - Property owner, a business owner, located in targeted hospital zone speaks out... "I purchased my property at 418-430 Lafayette St 15 years ago, back when the area was not considered a favorable place to be. It was as close to being abandoned by the owner as you could get. There were back taxes, liens, flooding issues to deal with and utility bills that I had to pay first, and an outside wall that was ready to fall. I took care of this even before I got my hands on the deed. I was told by many that I must be crazy, but as time progressed they changed their minds." Read More
October 31, 2015 Utica, NY- Letter to the Editor of Utica Phoenix "Dear Editor, We are thrilled to report that we have already well exceeded our goal of 1000 members by the end of October 2015. The momentum is building in opposition to the downtown location and support is growing for the St. Luke’s Campus site. Young and old people alike are mobilizing, they are expressing real concern and interest in saving our downtown from this ill-conceived notion of taking “34” acres of blocks of downtown off the tax rolls and creating this monstrosity and its parking garage. Where they see blight we see opportunity, where they see concrete towers we see a walkable downtown with entertainment, the arts, sports, lofts, condos, apartments, shops, restaurants and primary care. Let’ s continue to rebuild downtown building by building, block by block and restore our historic city to the glory she once had. Join us on Facebook at #NoHospitalDowntown or on the web at NoHospitalDowntown.com Weekly meeting times and places can be found on our website. Join the fight!" Jim G Brock Jr, NPA Financial Inc
We're Considering This... Suggested to us by our local Assemblyman, #NoHospitalDowntown is reading the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Environmental & Energy Design (LEED®) certification guide. Sure you'd suggest such guidelines for any hospital, even a mis-guided downtown hospital, but the Mohawk Valley Health System would also find these guidelines helpful for an expanded hospital at the St. Luke's Campus as well. In fact, LEED® teaches Co-Gen / District Heating & Cooling, which the St. Luke's campus has already an investment in- to the tune of $15,000,000!
October 30, 2015 Utica, NY- "Neighborhood organizing has a history as old as the neighborhood concept itself." reads "Let the People Decide - Neighborhood Organizing in America". #NoHospitalDowntown is at the Utica Public Library; we're reading, organizing and looking forward to having a say about the planned downtown hospital.
Consider This! In Lansing Michigan, a 2004 Hospital Bed Standard Advisory Committee, went to work to develop a plan. Take a look at just one meeting and their 69 pages of minutes (PDF). Did our local Utica hospital board perform such an in-depth audit? We don't have any indication that they did, and yet they have picked their top site in downtown Utica!
Here in Utica citizens are told of a new hospital coming to downtown by way of a newspaper headline. Zero community input, very limited or no communication with property owners in the sited area. Next, citizens questioned the parcel size shown in the paper; it's reported to be a 34 acre site, yet that area is only 12.5 acres! After a newspaper correction, and follow-up story, the site is reported to be 17 acres, but the parcel didn’t change. Two months later Utica has no idea where these 34 acres are.
October 25, 2015 Utica, NY- #NoHospitalDowntown is thrilled to report that we have already well exceeded our goal of 1,000 members by the end of October 2015. The momentum is building in opposition to the downtown location and support is growing for the St. Lukes Campus site. Young and old people alike are mobilizing, they are expressing real concern and interest in saving our downtown from this ill-conceived notion of taking “34” acres of blocks of downtown off the tax rolls and creating this monstrosity and its parking garage. Where they see blight we see opportunity, where they see concrete towers we see a walkable downtown with entertainment, the arts, sports, lofts, condos, apartments, shops, restaurants and primary care. Let’ s continue to rebuild downtown building by building, block by block and restore our historic city to glory she once had.
Consider This! Another city offers questions to ask in their hospital site location process... "Where Should a New Hospital Go? Have your Say on Site Selection Criteria" But here in Utica, residents have not been engaged in a conversation with officials, we are only told two final locations are decided. The top location is in a compact section of downtown Utica, NY. How does this location meet the site selection criteria, have a look...
October 23, 2015 Utica, NY- This week an area politician mailed #NoHospitalDowntown a note and an article suggesting some reading. Excellent! We love researching healthcare and hospitals- it's exactly why this website exists, as we’re studying the current plan for a new Utica hospital. #NoHospitalDowntown opposes placing a hospital downtown and we’re reading and advocating for a knowledgeable and well-informed process that brings this to fruition.
The article sent was called “Emerging trends in healthcare development: neighborhood care, mixed-use model on the rise”. The kind note and article we’ll assume was to impress upon us that downtown hospitals are a growing “mixed-use” trend. However, if one dissects the article and does a little homework, it in no way helps build a case for a downtown Utica hospital. Dangerously, if one simply reads the article’s title and moves on, they would have another misguided reason to believe a downtown Utica hospital has merit. With a little thinking and examination of the story, one quickly sees the article provides extremely weak evidence and is more likely just a rudimentary blog posting seeking traction for a niche real estate/building design website.
First, the article is presented by two real estate professionals Patrick Duke and Eric Fisher. In their positions, they are likely simply engaged to find, sell, and fill real estate parcels to their target healthcare organization customers. Also the publisher Reed Business Information of the “magazine” Building Design & Construction is not a publisher of scientific healthcare-based journals. RBI in this situation is a trade magazine producer, and their publishing in this case is geared towards professionals selling healthcare-related real estate and contractors focused on buildings used by healthcare-related facilities.
So what does the article say? The first point is that hospitals are re-thinking their locations and site selection processes. The trend is for medical services to be positioned on mass transit routes. However, for Utica this is a moot point and does not in any way support a new downtown hospital- as Utica’s three current hospitals are already positioned on our city’s bus routes!
Next the article talks about concentrated clusters of people living in close proximity to “fixed-guideway” transit stops, and a trend towards siting medical outlets and retail in the immediate neighborhoods. This concept does not apply to Utica and the Mohawk Valley region unless you go back to when our trolleys were operating. Utica is not likely to ever build a subway (fix-guideway) system. If Utica did introduce a gondola, would they be connected to our hospital(s), old or new? We don’t think so, but then again the community has been told almost nothing about a supposed plan, and in fact we don’t believe there is a plan.
Regardless, the article goes on to talk about very large population centers and the disbursement of healthcare systems into multiple neighborhoods with transit stops. In these large neighborhoods, you'll be informed that you may increasingly see medical facilities positioned among apartment complexes, further surrounded by a drug store, a wellness clinics, restaurants and shops. The article suggests people want to live, work, and play within walking distance of everything they need.
If #NoHospitalDowntown trys to apply this to the proposed downtown Utica hospital, much would have to change first. For instance the region would need to pull-in about 10-20 medical offices from New Hartford and Whitesboro, build the hospital, and then draw an additional 10-20 retail shops away from Sangertown, the New Hartford Shopping Center and Consumer Square, and then relocate/attract thousands of people into downtown who want to live around this new “hospital/medical district”. Is downtown Utica forecasted to grow by thousands of residents? Additionally, are our bus routes planning to draw bus loads of people into a newly themed medical downtown? That’s what would have to happen to match the article’s view, but how likely does this describe Utica's future?
The single example in the article is that of Bryn Mawr, PA, a very affluent suburb of Philadelphia where the region’s corporate elite live (median household income $100,634). This population cluster is on the Philadelphia metro line, an area that boasts 8 college and private schools. Described are upscale townhomes for aging baby boomers that include “private elevators”, where a healthcare system has located to capture these healthcare dollars and market share from competing hospitals as the Affordable Care Act kicks in.
Authors go onto suggest that by moving into vacant spaces in highly populated urban areas, hospitals can lower cost as well as speed-up their time-to-market by avoiding new construction costs! One has to wonder how these topics relate to building a $600M+ dollar hospital in Utica (median household income $31,048) only after bulldozing 34 acres of land. Philadelphia (population 1,553,165) and Bryn Mawr, PA are not a good comparison as they're drastically different from the Utica-Rome, NY (population of 299,397) Metropolitan Statistical Area, except that they are separated by roughly 20 miles.
Lastly the article suggests that hospitals use “advanced predictive analytic techniques” which are often used by the retailing and banking industries to determine ideal location. Beyond that, hospitals should employ the rigorous use of healthcare and patient datasets and real-time local market intelligence to optimize their medical system’s business growth. Again, #NoHospitalDowntown must wonder, how advanced was the information, how broad, and how integrated of a process was used to locate the new hospital? Can the voting public see these datasets so we can be confident the top location was soundly determined?
The article’s authors move towards a conclusion, but first they suggest that hospitals partner with healthcare real-estate professionals (like themselves!) to eliminate the risks of selecting a location.
Finally in article’s conclusion, one reads “… a crucial element of this urban-centic outpatient strategy.” So in the end readers come to understand, the article is not about the type of hospital Utica’s leaders are considering placing downtown afterall.
We at #NoHospitalDowntown are left to wonder, “Why was this article sent to us? Perhaps someone is looking for #NoHospitalDowntown to do their homework… or perhaps that of the Mohawk Valley Health Systems? If so, we’re happy to have helped out and we look forward to a much more rigorous test in the future. However, may we suggest capturing Google search results for “hospitals”, “mixed-use” and “downtown” is a very unreliable way to site a nearly $1B hospital as one seeks to create a regional “Mohawk Valley Healthcare Transformation”.
October 21, 2015 Utica, NY- A group of concerned local residents formed and own two URLs NoHospitalDowntown.com and UticaHospitals.com and in addition formed a Facebook page #NoHospitalDowntown We got our start when we heard that pressure was mounting for a vote on a downtown location/plan. We now know that there was never "a plan" for such a hospital, it was just "an idea" that is attached to $300M in Albany funding. Taxpayers cannot get detailed information on what the planned parcel or hospital complex looks like- because none exists! So how does the MVHS Hospital Board unanimously voted in favor of it?
We plan to keep advocating for a walkable downtown that develops like Bagg's Square and other districts are. Placing a massive hospital into a downtown that's officially deemed a “highly distressed area” (PDF link) - via a government-hatched and backed "plan" - lacks proper insight. Hundreds, thousands, of downtown residents must exist prior to a mixed-use urban hospital having a chance of success. Very few people are going to move downtown to live around a hospital, especially when the unplanned hospital's footprint wipes out 34 acres of an already very compact downtown.
October 20, 2015 Utica, NY- Plans for a new hospital in downtown Utica have created headlines and heated debate across all media platforms, please see our posts below. One result is this website, where we have recently changed our URL (web address). We are simply working to dispel our confusion, as well as impart information onto the taxpaying public. How has downtown Utica, which has been on a steady comeback in recent years, become targeted for bulldozers? Bulldozers and wrecking balls, which would reconfigure multiple downtown blocks into a large hospital complex? And when taxpayers in Utica ask questions about the site selection process, they’re quickly called naysayers and denied information that went into the process. We are told the process is only just starting, but how can that be truth if 50% of funding is in place and the site selection process is complete? Wouldn’t a community need to have a comprehensive set of studies completed to know what was needed, what it would cost and what it would look like? How can a final site be announced (and incorrectly portrayed in the media), if studies were done and four outside vendors have been engaged in the planning process?
We would like to offer a different path for developing our region’s new hospital. And even suggest that a “reset” considered. But not because we are smart, but because we’re asking fair questions and getting poor or in other cases no answers. Furthermore, we’ve found another New York community that suggests our local effort is flawed.
Take a look at Orange Regional Medical Center located about one hour north of New York City. In 2011 they opened as New York’s first new hospital in twenty years. Their plan did not arrive as a media headline and 50% funded. No, they started in 2006 with a steering committee, purchase of 61 acres, and… “Over 60 informational-gathering "user groups" were assembled with Board, physician and employee representatives to obtain design input for the planned hospital. Public input was obtained through community presentations and media solicitations.” Five years later the 600,000 square foot hospital opened with 383 beds.
Consider This! There are many case in New York where our government leadership is being watched and challenged. For example, here's a hard hitting place that seems to easily find our NYS politicians getting into hot water While here in Utica we're only being asked to be part of a long process, but where the hospital goes doesn't seem to be up to taxpayers, business and property owners, nor others that have a stake in Downtown Utica. We don't feel destroying blocks-and-blocks of downtown is a step forward, but we're told to stop being negative. What are we missing?
October 17, 2015 Utica, NY- After a meeting with the Mayor of Utica this past week, NoHospitalDowntown.com is now UticaHospitals.com. Why? Mayor Robert Michael Palmieri feels that Utica above all must appear positive and not negative. If a person or group is out there bashing Utica, saying "No to a new hospital", such messages hurt Utica's standing with other state officials. So, although we started our campaign to redirect the planned hospital into a better location (so we can save the Downtown Utica we love), we get it!
This is not, and has never been about grabbing headlines, nor creating a political football to be hijacked- we simply wish that a very hard look be given to the hospital issue. If we need to change a URL, so be it! We're happy to oblige the mayor's request. We only hope our willingness here will allow others to see that our intentions remain; seeking the best for our regional healthcare system, protecting taxpayers- and the scale of downtown.
We love the good things that are happening downtown Utica and feel that by not bulldozing blocks-and-blocks of buildings, these developments will spread and an even larger walkable downtown lies just ahead!
Consider This! Boise, Idaho has a growing downtown hospital, they have residents working to keep their city walkable. They have a website Keep Boise Connected and appear to have a very engaged conversation with officials. Checkout their website, and videos on Youtube; Keep Boise Connected parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. The topics and issues reflect the same things Utica must address should they ever try to develop a downtown hospital.
October 15, 2015 Utica, NY- Studying what makes a good hospital location, and what it means when area hospitals close. These complex issues are only the tip of the iceberg, but study we must! One article, titled Study Finds Patients Not Actually Hurt When Local Hospitals Close is relevant to the current talks on hospital consolidation in Utica.
Did They Consider These Questions? #NoHospitalDowntown is wondering... did the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) board do a complete and exhaustive study of the regional healthcare needs for area residents? What information about the region did they use? What answers did they arrive at? For example, here are a list of the Top 10 Strategic Questions for Hospitals and Health Systems. Did our hospital leaders considered such questions (and or others) in determining that we required a new hospital? It would be so refreshing to see such reports, along with comments from medical experts- rather than government leaders pushing a hospital (and a specific location) totally void of public input.
October 12, 2015 Utica, NY- In observances of Columbus Day, today's meeting at the Fort Schuyler Club is canceled as the club is closed. Please feel free to share your comments on our group's #NoHospitalDowntown page. This past weekend we started wondering, perhaps the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) decision to locate a hospital downtown Utica is not about consolidation? Could their project actually be an expansion plan being promoted as a consolidation? Something to ponder, as we collect all the facts on this project.
October 8, 2015 Utica, NY- Downtown Utica has new developments that continue the progress and excitement. Multiple blocks of hospital-based development is not required, would not allow for future hospital growth, and will wipe out chances to expand Utica into a walkable city that people desire to live in and visit.
Bagg's Square, Hotel Utica, maybe?, the Landmarc building, and numerous others that include new market rate apartments. What about a new plan called "Columbia Square"? Our group #NoHospitalDowntown says it is much better to redevelop the ugly buildings and empty lots on Columbia and Lafayette Streets into a walkable district that ties downtown to the brewery district. A new Columbia Square district would link the AUD to downtown far better than a hospital tower that creates a massive Super Block barrier.
Place the hospital where it is now, on the St Lukes campus, convert multiple surface parking into a garage and expand alongside Utica College
The St. Luke's Campus Today, lots of surface parking:
Future St. Luke's Campus?:
October 7, 2015 Utica, NY- Read blog post Downtown Hospital: Stepping Over the EDGE: "While everyone debates the merits of the Downtown Hospital, the bigger story has gone unnoticed: Mohawk Valley EDGE's role in the decision to locate the hospital downtown... EDGE's practices place us all at the mercy of those "with disproportionate influence and power in the political process." In the end, this discourages private investment in Oneida County."
October 6, 2015 Utica, NY- Mayoral candidates discuss downtown hospital
Palmieri- "Let's give these people, the board that has come up with the decision to come to the City of Utica, let's give them an opportunity to expose it, he said. "To be open and transparent as they are before we say 'No we don't want a hospital,' that's what has stagnated the city for 60 years."
LaPolla- said there are many unanswered questions "I've got to be convinced that my questions are answered, then certainly I'll address it as to how it affects the tax payers of the city."
Sullivan-Fatata- "I don't think people in loft apartments paying $2,500 a month want to hear ambulances all night," she said. "I've been to [Albany Medical Center,] I've been to [Syracuse University and Upstate Medical University], and let me tell you, I don't see any great development happening near those hospitals, nor do I pockets of cool places to live around those hospitals."
October 6, 2015 Utica, NY- News story "Reasons for new hospital vs. reason for new hospital downtown". The reasons stated via Eyewitness News are:
1. Add state of the art services
2. Support an aging and growing population
3. Consolidation, get under one roof
4. Attract specialists not currently in our area
The above list as reported today is not reason to place a hospital downtown. The list, if true and they're necessary issues, it is only a list of reasons to build a new hospital- regardless of location! They say to get "under one roof". However, how many facilities does the MVHS now operate? How many will they operate if they build a new hospital? To say they want to be “under one roof” is not a true story, as hospitals are spreading out and moving services closer to where people live. Our population is not growing, our population has been shrinking for many, many, years. If they want to "care for an aging population", that doesn't necessarily mean more hospital stays are necessarily, right? We’re not so sure anyway. If they wish to, as they say "care for an aging population", what about residents at the newly expanded Saint Luke's Home? Why not keep the hospital where it is so it can best support that aging population? That is also in-keeping with consolidation as those two facilities already share the same site and infrastructure.
October 6, 2015 Utica, NY- New information on the hospital has been posted MVHS: New Hospital Q&A From the Mohawk Valley Health System website, we learn the following companies have been consultants to the planning thus far...
In other news, the Mohawk Valley Health System reported: "In August, MVHS had a year to date operating loss of $2.5 million compared to a budgeted gain of $400,000."
Consider This! #NoHospitalDowntown feel hospital improvements should be solely focused on "Better Healthcare". However, today Utica is hearing that a new downtown hospital will remake our regional economy. WIBX on October 5, 2015 carries story where hospital CEO Scott Perra comments, "We recognize that a new hospital downtown can provide a catalyst for the revitalization of the City of Utica and the entire Mohawk Valley."
However, think about this: cat·a·lyst, a noun, means 1) a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. 2) a person or thing that precipitates an event. Further, according to earlier statements, downtown Utica has already begun moving towards better days...
TWC News on July 28, 2015 story reads, "I see a real revitalization of Utica, of this community, of the whole Mohawk Valley. It's something that people might not have seen a few years ago. But you can't help but walk around this city and get a sense of the vitality, the revitalization," said Secretary of State of New York Cesar Perales. And on April 29, 2014 Governor Cuomo has an announcement. People are quoted "... in the growth and revitalization of the Mohawk Valley, ... is exciting and will serve as a true catalyst for economic development."
#NoHospitalDowntown is researching many aspects of the hospital decision making process. We're seeking smart development for Utica, and the taxpayers both present and future. We're not being negative only to say "No"- we're simply seeking for the hospital to stick to healthcare, and not to the task of transforming an entire regional economy by bulldozing a set of city blocks.
Looking Back... Read the May 01, 2014 article from Healthcare Finance titled Hospitals Should Expect Scrutiny of Mergers & Affiliations. Story goes onto report (calling it "The Utica example"): "Hospital executives would do well to note of the specifics of the Utica case as a way to successfully orchestrate an affiliation. In December, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reached a settlement with the two general acute care hospitals to permit affiliation under an agreement that he said would not adversely affect competition. Instead the two hospitals, which Schneiderman said were financially troubled, will be able to reduce costs by combining their operations."
Consider This! Some see a potential downtown hospital as a giant step forward for Utica and the region. Others, like our group #NoHospitalDowntown, have big concerns. Among them; a) the total cost and who will pays the short and long term bills, b) further deterioration of the city’s tax base and increase of non-profit entities downtown, c) demolition of buildings and destruction of our small city scale, d) what is the exact footprint and acreage, e) jobs to be created or lost, etc.
A local architect educates us about the term “Super Block”, which is what's being proposed with a downtown hospital. Read the Wikipedia Super Block entry, and an article from a "Urban Design & Architectural Engineering” magazine titled “Block, Superblock and Megablock, A short history.”
In an email to #NoHospitalDowntown a Utica-based architect offers, "In Rome NY, the superblock almost killed the downtown entirely, some argue it did." Another except from another review (regarding Rome NY's past Super Block effort), reads: "The Plan goes on to say that twenty years later, most of the old retail structures had been torn down, leaving an urban core with gaps and holes, detours and barriers. By 1995, the failure of the original idea was obvious to all, as was the impossibility of regaining what was lost." Read the full (PDF) document here City of Rome Comprehensive Plan
October 4, 2015 Utica, NY- Perhaps because we've asked? #NoHospitalDowntown pionts to an article on a possible downtown hospital in today's Utica Observer-Dispatch. Read the Q&A. However after doing so, one will not know; where the 17 acres are, how will a hospital and two parking garages fit into 17 acres (when a report stated 25-40 acres are required), where would space come from for future expansion (we will need it with nano-based job influx, right?), or how will a large medical complex keep Utica a "walkable" downtown for downtown residences that are arriving?
October 4, 2015 Utica, NY- This is a very odd letter and "guest view" as printed in the UticaOD today GUEST VIEW: MVHS board welcomes public discussion of hospital proposal They are open to public discussion, yet they have already made their decision- they say the hospital is best placed and is coming to downtown! When asked for information on the site selection process, we get little. They print the site and say it is 34 acres, but it is only 12.5 acres. So much for a public discourse and an honest exchange of ideas and information!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was signed by all 19 members of the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) board of directors: Dr. Domenic Aiello, Dr. Brian Boyle, Barbara Brodock, Catherine Cominsky, Joan Comp son, Robert Dicks, Jr., Gregory Evans, Dr. Robert Fleischer, Dr. Maria Gesualdo, Todd Hutton, Andrew Kowalzcyk III, Gregory McLean, Norman Siegel, Stephen Sweet, Richard Tantillo, Symeon Tsoupelis, Bonnie Woods, Dr. Eric Voss and Richard Zweifel.
The opportunity to build a new hospital for our community is significant and we, the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) board of directors, welcome the public conversation that the project has initiated...
October 2, 2015 Utica, NY- On newstands today, the October issue of the Utica Poenix, Utica's Independent Newspaper. Read the #NoHospitalDowntown = #YesTeachingHospital" editorial by Cassandra Harris-Lockwood... "With all the talk of upscale loft dwellers to come to downtown, don't you think Trader Joe's might want a stab at anchoring a central downtown location? Pick-up your copy to get the full story, in addition to our group's full page advertisement.
Also today at the Utica Public Library from 4:30-5:30PM, meet with us. Let's hear all views, pro and con, as your input can shape the outcome.
October 2, 2015 Albany, NY- Albany-based headline "Utica hospital plan comes with great promise, few details" features and interview with Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi with POLITICO New York. The story goes on to report "A spokeswoman declined to offer any further details on the new proposed hospital and said the company isn't taking media interviews at this point." Further reported... "As stipulated by the state budget, the state's health commissioner Howard Zucker is charged with distributing the state funding. But until MVHS has specific plans submitted and approved by the New York State Department of Health, no expenditures can be made from the state’s allocation. The DOH has yet to develop the request for application for the new hospital, officials said, and the health system, Griffo said, is working with consultants to plot their course of action on it."
October 1, 2015 Utica, NY- We celebrate win of Upstate NY funding and our two leaders working together; State Senator Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica- congratulations, and hooray for Utica!
Our group #NoHospitalDowntown celebrates the absence of the word "downtown" in their conversation, as it appears in today's Utica Observer-Dispatch article regarding $300M for a new Utica hospital. Our group is ready to join forces with our state representatives as soon as the "downtown" hospital plan is abandoned.
Consider This! Use the $300M to make an amazing Eds & Meds Complex. Merge multiple Eds and Meds locations on a 350+ acre parcel; two current hospitals and two existing educational institutions!
Imagine how Utica residents would rejoice! Finally a plan to repurpose New York State's nearly 90 acres at the former Utica Psychiatric Center, expansion space for the schools and the St. Lukes campus. A remarkable chance to create a huge parcel that would transform West Utica. And plenty of housing stock to develop, city streets to improved (not bulldoze!), and ample green space for buffers, sidewalks, parks and pathways! Is this not a plan that could rival even the Big Apple?
September 30, 2015 (11:50PM) Utica, NY- Comments (4) below online Utica Observer-Dispatch article regarding #NoHospitalDowntown have returned...
September 30, 2015 (11:13PM) Utica, NY- The Utica Observer-Dispatch removes comments below online articles. Yesterday at least three comments were displayed, and now it’s “no comments”. We share our speech with reporters, TV, radio, the paper took our story, we spoke to government leaders, yet now the media is censoring us. Headline reads "Vocal opponents" Less so after @uticaOD deletes comments...
September 30, 2015 Utica, NY- New weekly meetings- and a third location announced! Today #NoHospitalDowntown gathered at the Tramontane Cafe in Utica. It was decided to continue meeting on Wednesdays from 10 to 11am each week. Stay late for lunch, or come early and grab a coffee or tea. Add the Tram to your calendar, and help us fight to preserve the scale and future of downtown Utica. These new meetings combine with those at the Fort Schuyler Club on Mondays, and Fridays at the Utica Public Library. Please see page bottom for times.
We have so many questions! Please join us in developing better plans for our downtown.
September 29, 2015 Utica, NY- New information on possible downtown hospital location, not a 34 acre parcel, nor 12.5 acres, newest report- there's 17 acres. But this is well below the 25-40 acres that the Mohawk Valley Health System stated was required. Join us #NoHospitalDowntown. Until we’ve been convinced that destroying blocks-and-blocks of downtown building fabric; buildings, streets and allies are an ABSOLUTE requirement, let's not bulldoze and remove 17 to 34 acres of downtown Utica off the tax rolls...
Consider This! Please take note... our Utica hospital system has three primary sites; Faxton (7 acres) , St Luke’s (41 acres) and St Elizabeth’s (17 acres) , totaling (65 acres).
Each location has undergone expansions and expensive improvements in recent years.
Each has steadily expanded by taking over neighboring properties, cutting down trees, razing commercial buildings and or homes (one can see this in the maps linked above). This removes taxable property from the city's revenue and transfers a greater burden onto a smaller set of taxpayers.
Currently the County building and the New York Court are doing the same along Elizabeth Street in downtown Utica, creating even more surface parking and displacing tax-paying businesses at a cost to taxpayers of $2,800,000 for 178 parking spaces ($15,730 each).
Now local leaders in government and healthcare, supported by others in Albany, want more parcels for a new 4th location that will alter a very significant part of downtown Utica forever; they suggest this will use another 34 acres. Our leaders claim to only see blight along Columbia & Lafayette Streets in downtown Utica as they quietly plan a fourth hospital location.
Meanwhile New York State owns nearly 90 acres at the former Utica Psychiatric Center. Remarkably, this huge parcel is not being considered for the new hospital! Why not?
Consider This! New hospital in Prince George's County, MD debated: Dimensions Healthcare Systems. Two opinions include; ““If the hospital is an isolated enclave, it will do little to catalyze economic development in the area and miss the opportunity to use the site's great transit access and mixed use environment.” As well as, “And again, even though hospital complexes have lots of workers, they generally have little time to spend off campus, therefore provide minimal multiplier effect for commercial district revitalization.”
September 28, 2015 Utica, NY- New meetings, additional location, announced: starting today #NoHospitalDowntown will gather on Mondays at the Fort Schuyler Club in downtown Utica from Noon until 1pm. Please consider placing us on your calendar in the coming weeks and months. We'll be meeting, until we’re convinced destroying block of downtown building fabric; buildings, streets and allies are the only thing our downtown Utica economy (and regional/state government leaders) have to offer… bulldozing 34 acres!! Or, is it 12.5 acres? We have so many questions! Please join us in developing a better plan.
Consider This! Another city tried a "downtown mall" twice, but... "Those failures became magnified, because Worcester had bulldozed a huge swath of its downtown and erased key roads to accommodate the mall." The story goes onto say, "The city is currently working on rebuilding a downtown that looks and functions like one. It’s a turnaround plan that celebrates the downtown, instead of suburbanizing it. It recognizes that good downtowns start with people, and once downtowns fill with people, business happens organically." and "CitySquare needs around-the-clock residents to anchor Worcester’s new downtown, not just office workers who punch the clock before driving home."
September 27, 2015 Utica, NY- Hospital plan's Q&A sessions in the near future #NoHospitalDowntown will be ready with many questions, but until then we have a very basic question that is four days old and counting...
September 26, 2015 Utica, NY- Listen to the Common Sense TV Show, Utica, NY: #NoHospitalDowntown, learn our position and gain insights into a proposed New Downtown Utica Hospital. Our position says "NoHospitalDowntown"! At least not until we learn why we need one, where it's best located, in addition to many other details. Listen and we think you'll quickly come to understand- very little planning has been done, and what little was done and released is WRONG!
Frank Vescera, Richard Kaplan, and Jim Brock talk about a potential downtown Utica hospital.
Time Warner Cable News Reports: Utica Residents: Downtown Hospital an Ill-Advised Plan We agree, follow follow them for updates on Twitter @TWCNewsCNY It is great to have the media's help, but the headline could use an adjustment, as it appears the hospital planners, did not really have "a plan" to talk about. Or perhaps our leaders advocating for a new hospital thought residents only needed a "two word plan", as in "downtown, hospital"? More information please!
Brett Truett asks a simple math question, but 4 days later it proves hard for planners to answer! Can't we do better? First, we need to get good info... @uticaOD @MVHealthSystem reported a downtown site of 34 acres, but as shown it's only 12.5 acres! @BrettTruett, September 23, 2015 So what's the "real" Downtown Hospital parcel size and configuration?
On 9/23/15 the Utica Observer Dispatch showed readers a 12.5 acre parcel, see red shaded area in below figure. However, the reported plan states a 34 acre site (the black outline). The Mohawk Valley health System stated that they required 25-40 acres for a new hospital. So if the 34 acres is correct, perhaps as time passes the downtown plan will grow? Maybe it places one parking garage to service; doctors, nurses, and city workers at the south end- near city hall. Then a second parking garage (the story reported two) would be to the north; for hospital guests, patients and AUD attendees. For a moment, forget parking garages. Imagine a walkable city, or the lack of one... imagine walks to-and-from; the Utica AUD, Bagg’s Square, Ocean Blue, and Downtown Utica to the Brewery District. Hey, can we catch a hospital shuttle?
Tonight! (9/26/15) At the Utica Public Library from 4:30-5:30pm, let's talk this out...
#YesDowntownHospital or #NoHospitalDowntown
Meeting has come and gone. It was a small group, but it suggested that we're on the right track! Two members of Utica's Master Plan Committee showed up. Both confirmed, not only was a downtown hospital never mentioned (in years of ongoing discussions), both feel a downtown hospital is a terrible idea. We distributed over 30 Position Paper that will be copied and shared. We'll also post more from our first public gathering; the dialogue, links to media coverage, as well as pictures (and some secrete video too!). Please look for us next Friday, October 2 from 4:30 to 5:30pm.
September 25, 2015 Utica, NY- As seen today in the Utica Observer Dispatch, our ad asks area residents to meet with us, today at the Utica Public Library from 4:30-5:30pm. Facebook Group #NoHospitalDowntown is looking to hear your ideas for downtown development. Do you want a hospital, or perhaps something else? We are investigating all aspects of the recent news headlines, and seek your help and thoughts. This and every Friday!
They've targeted this area for a New Downtown Utica Hospital
September 24, 2015 Utica, NY- Following yesterday's big headline "New Downtown Hospital voted 1st Choice" by the Mohawk Valley Health System, hear from our very own Jim Brock with his reaction to their decision...
A new downtown Utica hospital mentioned, but not so fast says Jim Brock. Brock mentions, “The MVHS Board of Directors also unanimously approved the Faxton-St Luke's site opposite Utica College for the new hospital as well.” Brock goes on to say some hospital board members feel strongly a downtown Utica hospital is NOT ideal. Listen to the Jim Brock interview.
September 24, 2015 Utica, NY- The headline "New Downtown Hospital voted 1st Choice" has people talking. Listen to Frank Elias, of Utica Coffee Roasting, with his thoughts on this downtown development idea...
Currently we have three hospital locations that are exempt from paying real estate taxes. In today’s interview, Frank Elias alerts us to the fact, “Building a fourth hospital removes more city real estate from the tax rolls, increasing and shifting a greater burden onto residents and businesses paying taxes.” Making the situation worse, a hospital tower if built will increase the burden on the city’s budget placing pressure to raise taxes if not mitigated. Listen to the Frank Elias interview.
Also two days ago, Franks said "...people are failing to see the big picture. It’s going to mean I pay higher property taxes and higher sales taxes. Having all of these government-funded projects come into the area is not necessarily a good thing for mom-and-pops. It makes it hard for us to compete.”
September 23, 2015 Utica, NY- Today the Utica OD reports on a downtown hospital plan. The location is stated to be the 1st choice for a new hospital as announced by the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS). The new downtown Utica hospital story reports the parcel is 34 acres:
Oddly the report is not correct, this downtown parcel is only 12.5 acres! If the new plan requires 25-40 acres, how does downtown work? How does this site, out of 12 sites considered, land into first place?
Consider This! Why did Utica-area citizens hear about such a major project only after it was planned by government leaders? Consider; the New York Department of Transportation (DOT) posts Projects in Your Neighborhood to their website. The DOT also offers multiple plans for consideration and seeks public input in a variety of ways.
However, this very significant hospital plan was crafted in Albany and written into legislation and called a "HEALTH CARE FACILITY TRANSFORMATION PROGRAM". Yet it was done without local taxpayer discussion or input. Next, citizens are told by their leaders,
"If you don't accept our plan the Utica-area will lose $300M,
you'll be sending the funds to Syracuse or some other city."
Is that fair, is that good representation? Read about this 2014 New York Public Health Law on Justia US Law
September 22, 2015 Utica, NY- Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi called into WIBX First News with Keeler on Tuesday after a local businessman made accusations over the proposed downtown location for the new regional hospital in Utica. Insurance agent Jim Brock said downtown was the wrong location and that the spot near the Utica Memorial Auditorium was chosen without the people’s knowledge and backroom deals were cut. Brock is involved with a city group called #NoHospitalDowntown which is opposed to the Columbia Street area location.
September 22, 2015 Utica, NY- Below, please find Our Group's response to Mohawk Valley Health Systems’s Board of Director’s decision to approve the downtown site as a possible location for the new hospital…
September 22, 2015 Utica, NY - News story today suggests that a new downtown Utica hospital would "Boost Downtown Revitalization" and "Get Rid of Blighted Buildings". However, Utica's downtown is already being revitalization and old buildings repurposed. We're just getting into the facts behind this story. We also have good reasons to believe there's much more to this story than these first headlines. Some of the earliest headlines touting a New Utica Hospital and Rome, Oneida Healthcare Facilities Seek Prognosis of Potential Impact on Their Operations, Communities
September 18, 2015 Utica, NY- Look for our ad in Mohawk Valley and Utica publications...
September 14, 2015 Utica, NY- Citizen showed-up at a South Utica Neighborhood Association meeting to ask questions about the hospital's possible relocation to downtown. Not much information was shared, but #NoHospitalDowntown took careful notes, as we plan to track events and information regarding the new hospital carefully. We believe creating a new, a 5th hospital district, is not the type of development that should be carried out in Downtown Utica.
Judge Siegel, chairman of the Mohawk Valley Health System Board of Directors spoke to the group. Another person commented, "I think he had a lot of facts, but it seems to that because we didn't get the $500 million that he isn’t even going to entertain it to Downtown Utica. I don’t think that they knew there was so much opposition to the hospital in Utica. I don’t think they had any idea how many people did not want it down there."
Siegel says the Board couldn't make a decision on the location until they found out about the $500 million. Since we didn't win, the Board is meeting Thursday to figure out what is next and move forward from there.
May. 19, 2015 - WKTV Breaks More News On New Hospital Kristen Copeland and the WKTV news staff report on what is said to be a New Regional Hospital for the Mohawk Valley
Part Two of WKTV covers Why, How Much & How Will New Hospital Be Paid For>, and then Part Three covers Bed Numbers, Job Projections & Services
April 3, 2015 - State plans $300M infusion for Utica Hospital... Rome, Oneida healthcare facilities seek prognosis of potential impact on their operations, communities.
Feburary 24, 2015 Is a New Utica Hospital On The Way? Story by CNY Homepage reporting on news from Govenor Cuomo in Albany. Governor Cuomo says it's "just a proposal", but he has set aside $300M in the budget, which must eventually be passed by both the Assembly and Senate.
Governor Cuomo says it's "just a proposal", but he has set aside $300M in the budget, which must eventually be passed by both the Assembly and Senate. Utica Mayor says he sees three locations within the city that the hospital could go. Goes further to say it needs to be in Utica, perhaps even downtown.
Meet with #NoHospitalDowntown
Our research is ongoing, please check back.