April 20, 2017 - Utica, NY - After nearly two years of investigations and protest, Utica-based Group #NoHospitalDowntown will picket the sidewalks around New York City’s Lincoln Center tomorrow, during the showing of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City at Lincoln Plaza Cinema. The group began with one person, Jim Brock Jr., on Facebook and today numbers over 1,600 members.
After numerous radio and TV appearances, letters to the editor, meetings with political leaders, unsuccessful FOIL’s, a dedicated website www.NoHospitalDowntown.com to document research, social media efforts and picketing, the group seeks greater exposure. It’s believed that historic preservationists from outside Utica, or perhaps just a single curious investigative reporter, might be the only ones to end “Utica’s Fiasco General” concept.
Just this week, the Utica Chamber of Commerce endorsed the downtown hospital and the $300 million in new taxpayer-bonded debt that gave birth to the concept. However, the chamber’s resolution was presented after only a “committee recommendation”, and not a survey of the chamber’s entire membership. On the occasion, cofounder Jim Brock, reminds his group “Not too much has changed since our old and notorious Utica Mayor Edward Hanna referred to this chamber as the “chamber of no commerce” New web pages by #NoHospitalDowntown have been posted; they are very critical of, and openly question the chamber’s resolution.
Cofounder, Brett Truett, rides a rollercoaster of emotions. He offers, “One day I’m sure their concept will die under its own weight and lack of creditable information and planning. Only to wake-up the next day - to both hear from others and then my own voice - this thing cannot be stopped!” Mr. Truett continued, “Sadly, people that I highly respect are sitting on the sidelines. And some others even tout the plans greatness. To them I must say - first tell me that you have given-up on downtown Utica, and its history and old Erie Canal-era buildings, then you can tell me how nice these new shiny hospital structures will be; only then can I start to believe you!”
In the 1960’s Jane Jacobs successfully fought Robert Moses, a most ruthless power broker, and saved the iconic New York City neighborhood of Greenwich Village. Tomorrow, the Utica group #NoHospitalDowntown hopes to take another small step in a battle to slay the ghost of Robert Moses who is today stalking the streets and alleyways of Utica’s historic Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood.
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#NoHospitalDowntown was cofounded by two business owners and former board members of Utica’s chamber of commerce following disturbing calls from hospital board members. The hospital would abandon a 64-acre hospital campus to go downtown. The downtown concept would require demolition of historical buildings and streets and threatens 40 businesses.
Please contact Brett Truett at (315) 794-0401 for more information.
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