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Landmarks Society Newsletter

Jan/Feb 2017: A Message from the President

Dear Landmarkers, The Landmarks Society always looks forward to the new year since it is always the start of an exciting time for us. Now is when we start finalizing plans and details for the upcoming events, the Monday night Walks & Talks series and the restoration efforts for this year on the mansions at Rutger Park. The Restoration Committee has already had discussions and the Programs and Events Committee will have already met by the time your reading this newsletter. We are looking forward to this summer and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for details!

Speaking of events, did anyone attend any of the recent information sessions that were held by the Mohawk Valley Health System regarding the Downtown Hospital plan? I attended one and so did a number of Landmarks trustees. As you can imagine, all of us were asked many questions about this plan by attendees of the sessions. Since the plan was first announced, the Society has been asked countless questions about the hospital plan. Questions like, "Why there?", "Why downtown and not elsewhere?", and "Who made this decision?" And almost every conversation regarding the hospital ends with, "What is the Landmarks' position on it?"

Our position on the decision only applies to the preservation part of the downtown plan. The Landmarks Society has no say on where a new hospital should be built. We cannot debate whether a new hospital is needed or why it cannot be built at another suitable location. Our position on the plan is that it needs much more planning for historic preservation. Basically, if the hospital has to be built downtown, more historic preservation needs to be incorporated The current plan is severely lacking for that historic part of downtown Utica. Completely demolishing every historic building within the "footprint" is unacceptable. And removing a historic building for nothing more than the parking spaces it would provide is very hard to swallow.

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Utica Residents Don't Want A Downtown Hospital!

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A questionnaire was distributed at the sessions asking what might the design firm consider with the planning. Questions that mentioned "urban spaces and amenities", "parks and green spaces" and integrating into "the city's urban fabric". What do the planners have in mind at this point? What urban fabric will be left if everything is razed? Historic buildings are going to be demolished to create some sort of green space? Too many unanswered questions. Downtown Utica is enjoying a resurgence because of the existing urban fabric - a fabric that includes many, many, historical structures that benefitted from an adaptive reuse. In order for us all to benefit from our area's history, we first have to save it.

Steven Grant,

#NoHospitalDowntown would like to thank Landmarks Society for their opinion and advocacy to Utica's historic buildings, and for the work they've done to document the historic treasures of the Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood. We shout, with total confidence, "Utica Doesn't Need A 5th Hospital District!"

No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown