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Death of Nobility in Oneida County

Joseph P. Bottini, December 6, 2019

Oneida County has made great strides forward over the past ten years.

The collective positive rejuvenation-steps of the Bagg Square Neighborhood is one bright example.

Every time I venture down to the cradle of Utica, I remark to myself (and anyone with me), “Just think, that beautiful building (Union Station) was scheduled for the wrecking ball a few years go.”

The old Railway Egress Agency (REA) wing of Union Station has been totally restored and is being used to enhance the Farmers Market. The incubator of Utica (Old Fort Schuyler) has finally been properly designated by installing two monuments marking that designation.

This restored neighborhood is a prime example of how a neighborhood ought to be brought back to life. This success ought to be replicated in other Utica neighborhoods in need of attention. The county has led the way and the city of Utica ought to take note and copy success.

To precede with the sham of attempting to restore the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood (CoLa) via the shifty machinations of the Albany CABAL with support from a local conglomeration of misguided individuals and groups is not wrong – it is sinful. If anyone has trouble understanding the gravity of sinful, let me supply another word, immoral and possibly illegal.

Recently, in an Observer Dispatch article I read where the Mohawk Valley Healthcare System (MVHS) is waiting to do soil testing to determine what type of construction would be best. Isn’t it prudent to do ground testing before a project of this enormity is begun? As with the SEQR requirement, not completed in proper planning sequence, the saga of this ill-conceived project stumbles forward.

The MVHS has previously stated a reduction in structural-steel quality was implemented in order to provide for the lack of a below-ground foundation.

This forced the change in plans for a rooftop heliport as well as other departments normally located in the “basement” of a hospital - such as the laundry facility.

The question remains: ‘Why are they spending millions of dollars on site acquisition and preparation (with the downtown location) when they own a prime location that would not require such expenditures – leaving those millions to enhance the hospital itself.

A most moral question is. “Does the private organization (MVHS) have the right to use eminent domain to acquire properties they desire for their hospital construction?” It has been my understanding that only a government entity has a right to use eminent domain, and only when there is no other viable option available.

There is another more viable location available and it is in all ways a better location choice for the proposed new hospital than the COLA district.

One must wonder why MVHS has spent millions on marketing and promoting the COLA location. One must wonder why MVHS found it necessary to acquire a hired gun from North Dakota to come here and help “sell” the proposal. The money (millions) spent on her employment could have gone into the hospital building itself. Once the project is completed, will this expert then leave Oneida County and its taxpayers to “pick up the tab?”

Over the past three years, as I watched this circus of bumbling clowns and lame dog and pony shows, I keep thinking about an old movie; “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

What a fool I am to think at least one person in the decision-making process would speak up for what is right. There are many intelligent people involved in this decision (many I know personally) and I am at a total loss to understand how they fell for this Potemkin Village.

Of course, to do the right thing, takes a noble person who conducts him/herself with a modicum of noble behavior. I am deeply troubled by the lack of nobility on the part of the decision-makers in Oneida County who have allowed themselves to buy into this “Trojan Horse” being ushered into our city by the power brokers in Albany.

The need of a parking garage for the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium is understandable. With an elementary amount of creative thinking I am sure we could come up with a better plan for it than to use a new hospital in the wrong location to accomplish this long awaited “Aud” parking.

Admittedly, there may be something I don’t know that leads me to feel this way toward some very fine people. In spite of repeated requests for enlightenment on the subject, I have not received the respect of being let in on the secret that would unlock my naive posture.

Email: Joseph P. Bottini, Oneida County Historian

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No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown