June 14, 2017 - Partner of a tax paying business in Utica; Wilcor International’s Showroom and myself a taxpaying citizen of Oneida County, member of Better Utica Downtown...
Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi fought hard to obtain the funding to potentially improve health care services in our community. We thank them for working so hard for us. We look forward to finding a solution for the site that works for everyone…However it is NOT tied to the downtown area and Senator Griffo confirmed that in a letter of May 5, 2017.
The MVHS secured about 60 acres, I understand for expansion on its Saint Luke’s campus in New Hartford, and their board had approved that site before this downtown proposal. There at that site--there would be no purchasing of property, no demolition, no court battles.
I also understand there could be a problem with that site, it belongs to New Hartford and not Utica and the wording in the legislation is ‘funding targeted for Utica’ however as Mr. Griffo has informed me that it is possible for New Hartford to Annex the property to Utica.
I come before this board of Legislators to ask if you would consider NOT approving funding for a parking garage for the hospital as I understand they have requested. But if they reconsider their decision on the site of downtown to the site of Saint Luke’s , I ask our legislators to consider New Hartford annexing the property of Saint Luke’s to the City of Utica so the Health care system to help the people of this area could be built there. This would serve the businesses of Utica in the footprint, the hospital, the people of the county and city of Utica. It appears to be a very big win-win plan and private property owners rights are protected.
The rights of private property owners is critically important to any growing business as well as to any individual. Protecting those rights should also be critically important to ALL members of this legislative group. I request that you our legislatures stand up against the use of eminent domain or any type of strong arm tactics used to force people to sell to the MVHS and stand with the private property owners no matter how many or how few. The taking of private property by the government to give or sell to another private business (MVHS) is appalling and arrogant.
The $300M funding will be significant for health care and also for the MVHS Company who will be the beneficiary. The tax payers of Oneida County( as well as all of New York ) put together the 300m by paying their taxes. It seems a bit unfair that the MVHS Company would further request of the county and the city of Utica to charge its taxpayers with any more expense… for a parking garage or anything else… for a project that is losing city and county taxpaying businesses already.
For the past couple years there has been an interruption in our business and others of this footprint area . The threat of taking private property have compelled business to stop investment in growth here, this has already cost the city and county lost tax revenue.
Some people have also made statements like; ‘why now do these people want to fix up that area when it has been blighted for so long’ - well I will tell you that besides the fact that the city owns some of those quote blighted properties – it has NOT been just now for Us businesses down there. We are paying for our cans of paint and bricks and windows- we all do not have the benefit of a 300M grant for a shiny new building… SO we tell you… WE have been working and working over the years to keep our places up.
RECENTLY Since Baggs Square, Franklin Square, and Varick Street accomplished so much in their areas ….we in the corridor believed that we would finally have a shot at bringing the two areas together … and suddenly the government and MVHS business puts a halt to it.
So in conclusion… I ask for one more thought …what happens when the hospital needs to expand because they have locked themselves in downtown--- do they then battle again to take someone else’s property, the very areas that you are asking other business to move into?
Respectfully, Karen Corrigan, President