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Community Voices Of Opposition

Below are almost FIVE YEARS of voices and essays speaking out against the ruinous Downtown Utica hospital concept. You may also be interested in #NHD RADIO and #NHD TV. As well as still more comments against the downtown concept

Public opinion was never part of the new hospital conversation, until it was already decided. One major reason why is explained by then Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who stated, "I Know Ray [Meier] Wants Us To Be Low Key On Location, But I Don't Want Public Opinion Derailing This." ."

Voices of 2020

April 21, 2020 - Letters to the editor: Time to re-evaluate hospital decision In 2015...

Voices of 2019

November 8, 2019 - Reader of the UticaOD writes, $300M Better Spent On Flood Midigation...

October 28, 2019 - Our Oneida County Historian writes, "Interest Of Taxpayers..."

October 16, 2019 - Today's "Letters To The Editor", New Hospital Isn't Really Necessary...

[Editor's Note: After looking at the new hospital issue for 49 months, especailly our Binghamton Vs. Utica Hospitals comparison, we suspect their honest plan does not include closing the St. Luke's Campus. Their plan is really to only complete a merger, break contracts, and replace the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Campus]

October 8, 2019 - Today's UticaOD in their "Letters To The Editor", Downtown Hospital Must Be Stopped...

August 24, 2019 - Yesterday's UticaOD, Letters To The Editor...

August 16, 2019 - By our Oneida County Historian, "History Is A Good Teacher".

June 30, 2019 - Yesterday, two community voices talk about #MVHSdowntown and appropriately use word "trampled" ...

June 18, 2019 - The voices saying #NoHospitalDowntown continue...

We have looked at each hospital benchmark offered by MVHS (see Benchmarks) and NOT ONE builds a case for their #MVHSDowntown concept.

June 17, 2019 - A #NoHospitalDowntown member states, "The Haberer and Jones Buildings are two more architectural gems that MVHS and the City of Utica are doing everything in their power to destroy. From all appearances the city has intentionally allowed these buildings (which they own) to decay."

June 13, 2019 - "If Anyone Buys Into this Smoke Screen" Continue Reading...

May 20, 2019 - "Expertise in the world of medical/healthcare is not my boast. Urban planning is not one of my areas of knowledge either. Whether or not we need a state-of-the-art consolidated hospital for Oneida County is beyond my pay-grade." Continue Reading...

January 23, 2019 - In Frank Montecalvo’s recent article in the Utica Phoenix, we can’t help but note that the SEQR process is usually done in a systematic way in the early planning stages of any project. This was missing from the OD article. This SEQR stage was done after selection of a site and public comments then took place.

The SEQR process should have compared the St. Luke’s site and the downtown site in detail before a site was selected. This seem to be missing from the OD article also...

Not involving the public fully in a major issue. This putting the cart before the horse would seem to disqualify the whole project.

The OD is supposed to be in the business of truth, even if inconvenient. Apparently, the truth about the downtown hospital site selection is only one in which the OD shares perspectives which are positive toward the downtown hospital. This is very unfortunate.

Committee Of One

Note: We hope the OD will make some positive changes in management soon.

January 2, 2019 - The Downtown Hospital DEIS: Not Protecting the Environment, by Frank Montecalvo a former Administrative Law Judge, Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Dear #NoHospitalDowntown,

Thank you for printing, at long last, a photo of the St. Luke’s complex of buildings with a diagram of the original 60-year-old building. If only it were printed in a larger size ;-)

I was the first to write three letters to the editor opposing the idea of abandoning existing hospitals (not just opposing downtown construction) when the $300,000,000 grant was first announced.

My principal point was the misstatements about the age of existing buildings. The O-D even printed three photos of old, no longer existing buildings on their editorial page, one of them not even a hospital (the orphanage at the corner of Genesee and Pleasant Sts.).

I pointed out that most of St. Luke’s had been built as recently as a decade ago (the new Emergency Department). Now for the first time we see photographic evidence of what I was saying. The O-D might well have done this as part of their reporting.

Thank you for all your efforts.

Warm regards.
Jerome F. Weber

From: Cathy Egan
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2019 3:32 PM
To: editor@nohospitaldowntown.com
Subject: Hospital

I think building a hospital downtown is just simply ridiculous!!! The grounds at St Luke’s are perfectly suitable and in so many ways a better choice! Who in the world would be for a hospital downtown w all the benefits of St Luke’s grounds?

January 13, 2019 - Let’s all hope for a better year in 2019

Now we are into the New Year. The months fly by and each one of them has something of its own to contribute to humanity. Let’s hope this year is a way better one!

The past year we experienced a great deal of hatred and leaders, friends passed on all around the country. A lot of times a “do-gooder” person is cast down because of diversities and egotism.

For instance, this month of January, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and in February, former President Abraham Lincoln. They were upright leaders. We need to remember them with dignity they possessed, despite evil acts against them, God Bless! There voices are heard eternally.

The holidays came and went, but but with hope in our hearts, we anticipated the upcoming events in the New Year months. Looking ahead with faith, we will get to our goals hopefully. When we can’t agree to diversities as to the proposed hospital downtown, we need to place all problems in God’s hands and ask him to solve them.

Jesus Christ is first in control and that is why he was born to be our savior. We trust in our lord to handle everything we face! Amen. This is my Happy New Year message.

Mariangela Iuorno,

The below letter by Louis Cirtelli was to the UticaOD Editorial Board regarding their opinion piece titled: Our View: OUR VIEW: Hospital siting email further clouds project...

Louis' letter to the UticaOD is the first of 2019. Scroll down this page, see other letters that began appearing in November 2014 that speak-out against the downtown hospital concept.

Voices of 2018

December 5, 2018 -"Today's Letters to the Editor in the OD features the 72nd against Utica's downtown hospital project since the September rollout. Only 9 in support have appeared in the same time period." J. Harshaw

November 26, 2018 - "The misdirection and cancelation of the actual roots revival of Utica can be traced back to MV500, clearly. It was a money and elitism proposal to rearrange the county, and when it failed they couldn't just walk away. That single page in that app has always been the realization that zero process was followed, and that private land owners and the taxpayers of Utica were marginalized." Michael Galime, Utica Common Council President

November 16, 2018 - Prolific Upstate New York blogger, on all things "Downtown Living & Urban Development", Arian Horbovetz offers statement on Utica's downtown hospital concept...

We fully agree, NOT GOOD AT ALL! In case you missed it, read too Arian's very thoughtful essay titled, The Big Urban Mistake.

Replying to a November 14, 2018 newspaper story titled, Bringing Blueprints To Life, a reader comments...

"Absolutely disgusting! Call in hordes of consultants and bureaucrats for many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars when we could have selected the best hospitals in the country, sent a couple of technically adept people to take photographs and return with the optimal results for a mere pittance. But that is the way this entire boondoggle is going down. Each and every decision and process to this point has been 180 degrees off target, especially the location." Warren Hall

September 30, 2018 - Dear Politicians:

You say that MVHS is a must
But remember Nano was a bust
Brindisi and Griffo confirm $300 million
While our children have no transportation for sports or free lunches.
They also state $638 million still available but that was suppose to be used for Nano
Instead of investing in a new hospital
Why not build up St. Luke's Campus
Add NICU and Pediatrics
How can MVHS make a difference?

One working hospital for the Utica population
Is just asking for a disastrous situation
As you can't predict a natural disaster or derailment
Let alone mass shootings as it takes over 5 hrs just for treatment
And that's with two working hospitals in the district
Again Politicians I Ask, How Can MVHS Make A Difference?

Patients having surgery end up with staph infections
Due to negligence and lack of sterilization
The rooms are dirty as well as apparel
People dying in the Utica area due to lack of Dr's, Nurses and honest care.
Now You Want to downsize and let people go
Tell me again Politician's how is this great?

You are just going to make people irate
Losing their jobs and stability
All because you want to be greedy
MVHS is not gonna have anything extra
That the tax payers are already paying for.
Say No To #NoHospitalDowntown
Tanya Smith

July 2, 2018 - The only way, since the beginning, to stop this mistake is to support the businesses that were there and make them valuable to the public eye. Seemingly they'll get what they want because enough people just think everything is garbage. These people hate Utica in a special way. They were told to fix it by erasing it, and ignoring whoever was is the way. This is a terrible sick joke that our "pillars" think is the best thing ever. Remember all the speakers at the SEQRA meeting. They kept saying 'something needs to happen.' They had no ideas of their own. No ways to help. So they just handed someone the keys. Name Withheld

June 7, 2018 -,“My name is Phil Scalia. I am a professional photographer from Fort Plain. One of my favorite places to come for pictures is Utica. And one of my favorite neighborhoods to go is the one that’s under threat by this hospital expansion project. The light in those few blocks is fantastic. I have three or four photos from there that are among my favorites. Two of them are currently in a group show at Saratoga Arts. Granted, the buildings are vacant. But one thing I know, you don’t fix a problem by bulldozing irreplaceable architecture. They just don’t build them like that any more. It’s unconscionabIe to take these by eminent domain. I hope the planning board will consult with the city of Batavia to ask them how it went when they tore out their old buildings in the 70s in the name of urban renewal. An unmitigated disaster by all accounts. Conversely, the city of Baltimore had a visionary mayor in the 70s who created a homesteading program by which old buildings were sold for $100 to folks who wanted to renovate. In my opinion Utica would be committing suicide by taking out these beautiful structures. They may be vacant now (economies are cyclical) but that is not a reason to tear them down. Save these buildings. Save these businesses and homes. I urge the planning board to consider alternatives. I am one tourist you will lose. Thank you.” As submitted To Brett Truett, by Phil, who offered his comments given at day's pubic SEQR meeting

June 7, 2018 -Why does the OD say this is a community divided when it should be A CITY UNDER SEIGE. We have union members and hit job politically motivated individuals from every where but Utica, selling there bill of goods to destroy downtown businesses, existing and future, historic properties and annihilation of city revenues and taxes to satisfy politicians attempts to ruin lives of those inside the city for those outside the city that it will benefit. What benefits UTICA and taxpayers, NOTHING, WE WILL BE THE BIGGEST PAYERS AND LOSERS. Who benefits, anyone and everyone who will come in from out of town who will pay little or nothing in destroying a whole city and it's residents to line there own pockets. Palmeiri needs to get his head out of his rectum and start PROTECTING IT'S RESIDENTS, not cronies and back room wheel and dealing with CORRUPT ALBANY. Utica is the biggest laughing stock, least business friendly, highest taxed welfare city in the Country. The only thing alive and well in UTICA is CORRUPTION , NEPOTISM, AND CRONYISM!, Mark Colosimo

May 22, 2018 - Originally from the Utica Phoenix and now posted here, What makes Utica So Special? Writer says, "These aspects are so fragile and can be so easily destroyed – PLEASE be careful with this major issue of the location of the new hospital."

May 20, 2018 - Read an Open Letter From Pete Benson. Peter is now submitted his letter to media outlets throughout the Mohawk Valley.

Wish to send your letter to the media, see our Resources page, please copy us at Editor.

May 9, 2018 - "Open Letter to Mr. Scholefield"
Mr. Scholefield, you said, “ . . . with the primary mission of delivering state-of-the-art healthcare to our region . . . .” Continue Reading
By Joseph P Bottini

April 27, 2018 - Another voice says "No" to downtown, Letter To Howard Zucker, Commisioner, NYS Department of Health, from Alfred M. Gorney, yes to St. Luke's.

Sharpe, as in Larry Sharpe For New York Governor

Learn More: Larry Sharpe for Governor of New York 2018

April 20, 2018 - One Hospital = Economic Development Fail

Cassandra Harris-Lockwood - The March edition of the Utica Phoenix carried a story entitled “A History of Hospitals in Utica” It explained in a very historically accurate manner, the development of Utica’s hospitals.

It was recently explained to me by a longtime businessman about how St. Luke’s was built, back in the day. This friend is quite successful as his family has been for several generations. Sometimes it takes an on the ground historical perspective to really get a handle on what’s going on... Read More

April 16, 2018 - Dear Editor: Enough is enough. The only reason MVHS wants the new hospital downtown is so they could reap the financial windfall of commercially developing their 64 acres at St. Luke’s. If a new hospital would result in fantastic commercial growth in the area it’s built, has anyone wondered why New Hartford has stood by, so gleefully silent, as the downtown Utica plan has stumbled forward?

Utica is simply being used as a dumping ground for this tax-exempt elephant. Both Mayor Palmieri and First Ward Councilperson Maria McNiel know this and should be run out of town for not having enough integrity to stand up against those behind the downtown hospital scam.

The cost of maintaining the infrastructure needed for this elephant, year after year, will be coupled with the tax losses of the buildings and businesses they propose to expel and destroy, in the end, bankrupt this city.

MVHS owns 64 acres at St Luke’s. Is anyone really gullible enough to believe that their desire to build downtown is some grand philanthropic gesture towards Utica? Give me a frickin’ break!

It’s to stick us with a tax-exempt elephant while their St. Luke’s land ultimately becomes available for lucrative commercial development. Uticans need to step up the pressure on their elected officials to stop this scam immediately.

Ray Jadwick, Utica Custom T-Shirts

April 16, 2018 - Dear, Editor: “What difference would it make, really?”

Have you ever been asked a question that left you speechless for a moment? Recently, I was having a conversation about our recent “Heart Bombing- Love A Landmark” event and the historic buildings that we would lose if the new hospital was built downtown. I was a little surprised by that question so I tried to put a few things out there as food for thought.

As both a Landmarks member and a concerned taxpayer, I explained that there would be a number of differences if the hospital was built at the St. Luke’s campus. Many historic buildings would get an opportunity to be adaptively reused- just like many of the buildings in Bagg’s Square. Sadly, we have lost too many already to failed urban renewal projects. And the hospital will not add anything to the rebirth of our historic downtown. Also, think of all the owners who would not be forced, needlessly, to abandon their property and livelihood. How devastating do you think that will be to those folks? That reason alone should give everyone else-reason to pause and think differently about this downtown plan.

I kept the conversation going (although, I was the only one talking at this point) with the fact that using the shovel-ready acreage that the hospital already owns would eliminate the need to displace anyone. And the property was acquired way back when for expansion purposes.Originally Champlin Ave. and French Rd. were widened to handle more traffic- traffic that would be a result of an expansion project-or a new hospital.

Lastly, I asked how much money could be saved if the Mohawk Valley Health System did not have to purchase unneeded land, pay court fees from the pending litigation from the current property owners, demolish existing structures and prepare the work site because it is not shovel-ready?

Also, don’t forget that you and every other city and county taxpayer will be paying on the parking garage that needs to be squeezed in there for decades. And any architect or engineer will tell you that parking garages in the Northeast have a limited lifespan compared to the ones built in fairer climates. So when your finally done paying for it, you will then be asked to fund the repair or renovation of it. Or possibly even the replacement of it, depending on if the funds were there to maintain it in the first place.

Overall, the downtown hospital will be a very, very costly undertaking compared to doing the same thing at the current site of St. Luke’s Hospital.

In the end, I was very pleased to hear, “I did not realize so many factors were in play. There is a big difference when you compare the two sites”. Yes, there is and I can only hope more and more folks are starting to see the difference as well.

Steven Grant, President, Landmarks Society

April 16, 2018 - Dear Editor: Enough is enough. The only reason MVHS wants the new hospital downtown is so they could reap the financial windfall of commercially developing their 64 acres at St. Luke’s.

If a new hospital would result in fantastic commercial growth in the area it’s built, has anyone wondered why New Hartford has stood by, so gleefully silent, as the downtown Utica plan has stumbled forward?

Utica is simply being used as a dumping ground for this tax-exempt elephant. Both Mayor Palmieri and First Ward Councilperson Maria McNiel know this and should be run out of town for not having enough integrity to stand up against those behind the downtown hospital scam.

The cost of maintaining the infrastructure needed for this elephant, year after year, will be coupled with the tax losses of the buildings and businesses they propose to expel and destroy, in the end, bankrupt this city.

MVHS owns 64 acres at St Luke’s. Is anyone really gullible enough to believe that their desire to build downtown is some grand philanthropic gesture towards Utica? Give me a frickin’ break!

It’s to stick us with a tax-exempt elephant while their St. Luke’s land ultimately becomes available for lucrative commercial development. Uticans need to step up the pressure on their elected officials to stop this scam immediately.

Ray Jadwick, Utica Custom T-Shirts

April 14, 2018 - Downtown not right place to build hospital

Why would you want to put a hospital downtown Utica near an event center, a proposed casino and in close proximity to a major railway? Could one feel safe in such an area?

What about traffic and parking at peak hours between venues? Health care is changing, doctors are now opening their own surgical centers, the new hospital will do little to change anything other than streamlining MVHS struggling operations resulting in even fewer jobs!

People will still go to Syracuse, Albany or Rochester. The politicians argue it will spur economic development but just look at Rome when they sacrificed their downtown to build Fort Stanwix, did things get better? No, fact is a few prospered and the rest was left for the memory. There are fewer shops, fewer restaurants, less office space, etc..

Decades later what has been Rome been doing? Re-opening streets, building more office space, tearing down parking garages and trying to attract more businesses to its downtown area. So in the grand scheme of things what will Utica gain?

If past area history is an indicator it will be fewer tax dollars, fewer jobs and businesses just the same old Utica and the same old people with a select few prospering!

Doug Singleton, Westmoreland

April 14, 2018 - Shopping center could be best for hospital

Recently the leasing manager and trustee for the New Hartford Shopping Center, William C. Morris, sent a letter to the Utica City Planning Board in regard to an opportunity for the new hospital to be built at the shopping center site. He outlined the fact that the site is accessible to major roads and highways and sits in the area deemed to be located within the largest county population.

Furthermore, there are no parking obstacles that will cost taxpayers upwards of $60-70 million. Morris hit the nail on the head, suggesting that the hospital lease the land in an effort to provide and maintain a stream of tax revenue for the services that are vital to our community.

This is a win-win for everyone. Uticans cannot and will not foot the bill for building parking garages and surface lots. The disruption to the current businesses downtown will inevitably kill off their business and drive them out of the city, hurting taxpayers even more. Utica’s tax base has already diminished and services are dwindling to cover administrative and public safety costs. Adding more taxes to the current tax bill will only drive more people out of the city.

Building at the shopping center will have little to no negative impact on any of our local municipalities. The main objective when building the hospital should not just be the services it will provide but making sure it’s financial feasible for the taxpayers.

David J. Gordon, Utica

April 12, 2018 - Dear Editor: I am not sure if this has ever been brought up but if you look at the major hospitals in Syracuse, you notice that St. Joe’s is located in a “not real bad” residential area with a few businesses not too far away.

On the other hand, Crouse, Upstate, and the VA hospitals are located in close proximity to one another such as Faxton, St. Luke’s, St. Es and Slocum Dixon and………amidst them, is Utica College whereas in Syracuse it’s SU amidst the major conglomerate of hospitals.

So we have a fine educational institution near a group of fine hospitals in Syracuse and our local politicians seem to be forcing us with, perhaps, a fine hospital near high traffic highways, railroad tracks, the Aud (which could be a traffic and noise problem), the transfer station on Leyland, perhaps a sports center as I have heard rumors about, and other similar such places. All of this is not to mention the inconvenience that this will cause for Utica College nursing students.

I don’t understand where their heads are at and I don’t understand why a FEW SELECTED PERSONS have decided this.

These local elected officials are basically “ramming” this down our throats, as is too often typical of politicians and “big shots”.

Everyone I have talked to is against a downtown hospital and, actually, everyone (again) has said ‘what’s wrong with building on the St. Luke’s property’?

I agree, and if it is not big enough, they could purchase a little surrounding property just like the city is planning on doing downtown.

The downtown location is a TERRIBLE idea and now they are even talking about privatizing the parking which means patrons will have to pay for parking – undoubtedly a very high fee.

This whole downtown concept has basically BEEN FORCED upon the citizens of this community. Once again, it’s a matter of what the politicians and/or the very wealthy want and the h… with the ordinary people.

I know for one, if I have a need for non-life threatening medical care, I will certainly consider going to Syracuse or somewhere where the facility I go to will be better.

Joseph R. Paxhia (Joe)

March 26, 2018 - A supporter sent-in a proposal to fly our message over the Utica skyline, so we got right on it...

Now that's a sight we can all say "Yes" to!!

March 23, 2018 - Dear #NoHospitalDowntown, As your members may be aware from your Facebook page, the OD recently published a rather unusual editorial comment regarding my March 8 letter to the editor concerning the decision to build the new hospital downtown rather than on the St. Luke's Campus. In that letter I expressed my preference for the St. Luke's site. Here, in relevant part, is what I said about the subject in my letter as published in the March 17 edition of the OD:

"We now learn that even after the new hospital opens, medical and other hospital related services will continue to be provided at St. Luke's and St. Elizabeth's, as well as at Faxton Hospital. Is it not a truly bizarre consolidation process that takes three existing facilities and transforms them into four? Three currently tax exempt properties become four under this 'plan'?"

One might think I would be grateful to the OD for its recent contribution to the subject because in doing so it kept it before the public and, more importantly, added to the body of public knowledge about the MVHS plan by including comments by an MVHS spokesperson that confirm that MVHS will continue to maintain a number of services and facilities at the three existing hospital locations after the new hospital is built downtown as I indicated in my letter. The spokesperson even went so far as to describe the services that will continue on the three existing MVHS campuses after the fourth is completed.

However, the fact that the spokesperson's comments were given the dignity of publication in an OD opinion is troubling. It was not just a letter to the editor from the MVHS spokesperson. It was the OD's Letters Editor revisiting my letter under the unfortunate headline "Letter Was Not Clear" and describing it as being "a bit ambiguous". That strikes me as being both odd and quite unfair, particularly in light of the fact that neither the MVHS spokesperson nor the OD contradicted anything I said. As was clearly the point of my letter, and as now confirmed by MVHS's spokesperson, three currently tax exempt medical campuses become four under the MVHS downtown plan. Not that there ever was any ambiguity or lack of clarity about that in my letter, but had there been, the OD and MVHS spokesperson have certainly cleared it up now.

Thomas P. Bonaros

March 3, 2018 Our Oneida County Historian, Joseph P. Botini, writes again, Little Minds Warp Great Ideas

February 19, 2018 I would implore all of you to not give up this fight. They are not our lords and masters! It is our tax dollars that are going to fund this monstrosity! A nurse manager, a wonderful dedicated person, I spoke with over the weekend kept repeating, "But we'll lose the $300 million if it doesn't go downtown", then lose it! Don't send good money after bad! Don't further compromise this area's healthcare! Don't further burden the remaining tax payers with pipe dreams! We can't afford it! Lois Pirro

February 18, 2018
To: editor@nohospitaldowntown.com
Subject: I Support your cause
Dear Sir or Madam:
First of all, I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've made to thwart the idea of this downtown hospital. I believe it will be a disaster for downtown Utica. I've looked over your website and I can't seem to find any references to the hospitals in Syracuse.
If you need an "in your face" reason to show people why Utica doesn't need a downtown hospital, you only need to make the one hour drive to Syracuse. Park your car in the garage off of Adams street on a Friday afternoon and walk around "hospital hill" with a video camera. Be sure to invite your local elected officials. The traffic is horrendous. Parking is difficult to come by and is extremely expensive when you do find it.
The only reason the shops and restaurants of the Marshall Street neighborhood survive is because SUNY Upstate, SUNY ESF, and Syracuse University are butted up against the hospital district. Their students (plus thousands of SU sports fans that flood the area whenever the opportunity arises) are the driving force behind the economy of that area. I highly doubt many of the businesses there could make it if only Crouse and Upstate Hospital were there to supply customers. Utica cannot even come close to that kind of customer base downtown. There are no universities drawing thousands of students there, no sports teams with anywhere near the fan base of SU, and even the AUD at full capacity is a pittance compared to the Dome.
If Syracuse is the model that Mayor Palmeri and County Executive Picente are looking to for this scheme, they are trying to compare ground beef to filet mignon. I'm not trying to put Utica down, but they are absolutely not "sister" cities from an economic or demographic perspective.
When I hear the politicians talk about economic development in Oneida County, it always sounds to me that they just want to be East-Onondaga County. They want the same things Onondaga County has, not what's best for Utica and Oneida County. They're not the same place and each has different needs and different solutions for its economic woes.
Syracuse has Hancock Airport, so then Oneida County spent millions to have "Griffiss International Airport" even though no commercial flights arrive or depart from there.
Onondaga County has Interstates 690 and 481 to get through and around Syracuse, so Oneida County spends millions on the Rt. 840 extension, which is basically an expressway running from nowhere to nowhere. They also spent millions to "upgrade" the Rt. 5-8-12 arterial so it looks a little bit more like an Interstate. How many traffic problems did that actually solve?
Syracuse has more jobs than Utica, so Oneida County spends millions on the "Nano-Utica" jobs scheme which has been a complete failure.
Now they want a Downtown hospital, just like Syracuse has! What next? Move Utica College and MVCC Downtown as well? Perhaps they'll want to pipe in water from Onondaga lake!
Maybe you should just start calling Mayor Palmeri the "Ben Walsh-wannabe" and Picente can be "Joanie Mahoney-jr." (Picente and Mahoney did both endorse Cuomo in his last election).
Oneida County was a great place to live, but schemes like this are taxing people there to the bone (a major reason I refuse to buy a house in Oneida County, despite working in it - currently living in Madison County) ... and it's only going to get worse if more people like you don't stand up to your selfish, thieving politicians and stop the drunken-sailor spending spree they seem to be on.
I hope you'll take the time to travel to Syracuse and document the headaches their downtown hospitals cause to show the folks in Utica and Oneida County what they are in for should your efforts fail.
Good luck in your fight,
Robert S.

February 15, 2018 - Dear Editor:

MVHS is planning to build a new, state of the art hospital downtown on land they don’t own, that will displace scores of long-time businesses, offering them far below what they need or deserve for their properties, that will not be enough for them to buy, build and/or relocate elsewhere, and the owners will be forced to remove asbestos and lead paint that will be cost prohibitive. All of this is in the name of “economic development” and to justify a parking garage for the Aud at taxpayers’ expense.

This area of the City still has many businesses and at least five not for profits that serve the population of this neighborhood that will be forced to move or close. If owners don’t accept the laughable lowball offers they’ve been given, their property will be taken by eminent domain, which no governmental entity wants to take the lead in because it is morally wrong, and would only benefit a private not for profit hospital and a few “investors” who stand to benefit greatly from this (but NOT the existing businesses) and certain politicians who wish to forward their own personal agendas.

Almost no one wants this built downtown: not the existing hospital staff, not the doctors or nurses, not the taxpayers, not hospital customers, virtually not any and all reasonable persons who look at the facts and realize this does not add up. Some are unwilling to speak up for fear of reprisals. No one wants to pay (dearly) for parking when going to work or visit loved ones and friends at the hospital, to events at the Aud, or going anywhere Downtown (to make the garage viable, on-street paid parking will be necessary).

Meanwhile, MVHS has 64 acres that they currently own, already off the tax rolls, that is easily built upon (only 6 acres of seasonal wetlands), that would NOT significantly impact current hospital operations, that was MVHS’ first choice, and is “within the population center of the county” as the legislation states (NOT that it must be built downtown).

Is this not the definition of insanity? Ah, but there’s a solution!

STOP plans to build downtown NOW. Transfer designs already established (“from the inside out”) to the St. Luke’s Campus. Avoid costly lawsuits, cost overruns, vastly expensive environmental cleanup, huge loss of tax revenue and tremendous cost to current and future taxpayers that will stall this project for YEARS (and likely kill it). To build at St. Luke’s and not Downtown will likely save in excess of $100 million in both taxpayer and MVHS dollars, including (but not limited to) the $43 million taxpayer-funded parking garage and $14 million MVHS plans to pay for property acquisition.

Taxpayers may also be “on the hook” for additional environmental remediation and relocation costs. MVHS has been promised $300 million (of an estimated $500 million overall project cost) that will very likely be far short of what it will ultimately cost.

The City should do the right thing and allocate Community Development (not demolition) Block Grant (CDBG) funds to revitalize the Columbia-Lafayette district, allow existing businesses, “mom & pop shops” and not for profits to remain, expand, grow, and thrive, and encourage new investment, development, and growth.

AND EVERYONE WINS! Well, that is, except for those with “an agenda” who are pushing the Downtown proposal so strongly; however, their personal gain, or lack thereof, is really NOT economic development, after all, now is it?

Contact your local representatives (Assemblyman, State Senator, County Executive, County Legislator, Utica Mayor and Council Member) and voice your displeasure.

It is NOT too late!

Michael J. Bosak

February 7, 2018 - Many more comments of opposition regarding MVHS's newest tactic, "We're The Hospital, And We're Here To Help You", including Joseph Bottini and others. A separate page is needed to properly layout this latest news.

February 7, 2018 - Contrary to unchallenged remarks made by Mohawk Valley Health System official, Bob Scholfield, this morning on the WIBX (Bill Keeler Radio Show), experts at the United States Department of Transportation did indeed designate the proposed Utica downtown hospital site as a toxic "RED ZONE". SEE ATTACHMENT Emergency Response Guide This is the official document that establishes the 1/2 mile red/evacuation zone in the event of an oil train spill/fire.​ ​See Guide 31, page 200​ "If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions." Submitted by Frank Vescera, Utica, NY

Text Version of above Tweet: (Mr. Steve Grant, President of Landmarks Society of Greater Utica) writes, "Going back to historic home and building ownership, the proposed Downtown Hospital plan continues to worry the folks within the “footprint “ who stand to lose everything should it proceed. And more and more area taxpayers are starting to worry about the plan also as more details (or the lack of?) come to light. Conversations around town as well as the increase in the Letters To The Editor in local papers stating the people’s opposition to the plan prove that the awareness is increasing on this questionable downtown site. I should add here that the Landmarks Society does not oppose a new hospital. The Society simply feels that the downtown location would be a mistake and that the currently open acreage at the St. Lukes campus would be a far better location for a regional health center. To put it another way, the overall cost of building downtown will be devastating to both Utica’s historic downtown and Utica’s purse and pocketbook holders."

February 1, 2018 - Another statement by Oneida County Historian, Joseph P. Bottini, Downtown Hospital Truth

January 23, 2018 - From: Angela M. Elefante, Esq.
To: Mr. Michael Bosak, News Bulletin Editor, Landmarks Society of Greater Utica
Dear Mr. Bosak,

I am writing you as a member of the Landmarks Society concerning the group supporting a hospital in downtown Utica. Read More...

January 21, 2018 - Rumor has it that a billion dollar car rental corporation is renovating 525-527 Oriskany Street West - the old Labor Ready building (click for evidence of rumor). They're putting over $225,000 into the property and this will bring high paying jobs for the area, assist with City of Utica tax base and be the "first ever" global car rental agency to have presence in the City of Utica. It would be a disgrace to the City of Utica if this hospital concept continues. We valued our city and very proud of the news that a global corporation is going to be a part of it. Name Withheld

Your comment today is spot on; Cuomo is financing his entire so called economic development program with debt. It is a huge speculative gamble with our money. Although I think the hospital site is a done deal for all of the wrong reasons, the project may implode all by itself. If it does not, I predict the project will take 8 to 10 years, if finished. Many of the sick will be deprived of its medical benefits while the EDGE, lawyers and politicians prosper. Happy New Year, Rodger

January 5, 2018 - Take a cue from NYC regarding police station

Recently in New York City I happened to walk by the police department’s 19th Precinct.

Tucked tightly into a dense building-lined East 67th Street; number 153 is a beautiful 4-story brick building. It is reported to serve one of Manhattan’s most densely populated residential areas, the Upper East Side. Built in 1887, a website offers, “the station house was re-designated a landmark in 1998.”

Soon after this trip, a story on Utica’s police station appeared in this newspaper. Online the paper offered a picture gallery. The story, pictures and their captions suggested to me that more housekeeping and organization was in order, and a poor testament for needing a new police station. Can anyone find a single building with “drop ceilings” that doesn’t offer “exposed wires” when ceiling tiles are pushed aside?

Many very flimsy reasons have been offered as to why downtown Utica must be bulldozed for a hospital. Yes new buildings can be great and offer efficiencies, but where would they be located, what are all the costs, what are the returns on investments, and who would pay?

As the downtown hospital concept moves forward look for “a few old building to be saved”, but not the police station nor courts, that’s where their second parking garage will be revealed.

It is my belief that our police station offers many more productive years. Can’t help but wonder if the same is not true for one or more of our current hospitals.

Brett Truett, Utica

Voices of 2017

Utica architect & civic leader, Mike Bosak makes his case Against Building The Hospital Downtown, as printed in December Utica Phoenix

Private citizen pokes fun at politicians seeking to take wrecking ball to Downtown Utica...

Three online comments to a Utica Observer-Dispatch story titled, Events raise questions about logic of downtown hospital...

June 14, 2017 - Hospital downtown another bad idea from bad managers. Lindsey Figueroa

June 14, 2017 - The main point I got out of the presentations was that economically it makes no sense for Utica to go from mixed-use small scale development (like what is there now and what is visioned by the Utica Master Plan) to a large scale project focused on a single use. Numerous examples were presented to demonstrate that areas that are old or even blighted actually produce more taxable value, revenue, and jobs per acre than large "big box" developments -- and that small public investments in such areas can generate huge returns. This project produces no revenue for Utica and a net LOSS of jobs, but gives the taxpayers plenty more to take care of. Additionally, mixed-use small scale developments are more resilient to changing times. The people of Utica are being asked take a huge risk that the centralized form of health-care that this project seems to represent won't fail. I have the suspicion that the push for this project comes from people who loath Utica and simply want to replace large chunks of it.Frank Montecalvo

June 14, 2017 - This City needs to consider the repercussions of a Downtown Hospital. Yes we do need to consolidate our health-care services, but that consolidation should be in a location more applicable to supporting a busy Healthcare facility The NY psychiatric center are both great location alternatives. The building are already earmarked for demolition and remediation be the State and the property would be a tremendous Hospital Campus. The infrastructure is already in place. Both NYS and MVHS should push for this unique location. Preserve Downtown for future development. Glacier Ridge

On June 14, 2017 a Downtown Utica property owner, Wilcor Co-Owner (Ms Karen Corrigan), Speaks To Oneida County Legislators.

September 30, 2017 - Someone gets it!!!

October 4, 2017 - Peg Roberts writes to Governor Cuomo...

August 31, 2017 - Joseph Peter Drennan‎ writes to #NoHospitalDowntown and states, "Ever since I first became aware, over two years ago, of the audacious proposal of local politicians and hospital administrators to shutter..." Read entire letter

June 28, 2017 -Kleptocratic Leadership Force A Downtown Utica Hospital Concept...

Read this August 31, 2017 essay from Joseph Peter Drennan‎ to #NoHospitalDowntown.

Read online version of Mitchell Pedzek, Jr's Op-ed

Read "Downtowners" Do Not Want A Hospital District

Voices of 2016

November 18, 2016 - Letter to leadership from Linda K. Paciello

June 4, 2016 - New Utica hospital would increase property taxes

A tax increase for all Oneida County residents. That’s what a proposed fourth hospital in Utica spells for all Oneida County residents, which is a negative.

When you remove parcels of land, mostly commercial, from the Oneida County tax roles, and now have a smaller tax base, thou must raise the taxes on all the remaining taxable properties in Oneida County.

That would be the only way that the city and county could balance their budgets. What effect does this have on all the fixed-income senior citizens?

Neither the politicians nor the hospital selection committee have mentioned any negative such as the loss of sales tax revenue, and county, city and school tax revenue. We need the tax revenue loss publicized. So, what are the positives again?

Paul Tuzzolino, 1230 Greenview Drive, Utica

April 9, 2016 - 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

We’ve also seen amazing progress in the revitalization of our downtown. Over the past five years the city has successfully marketed and sold 12 major commercial properties to private developers, 10 of which are located in the downtown/Bagg's Square corridor. These 10 downtown properties alone have combined for over $1 million in sales, put nearly $6 million of assessed property value back on the tax rolls and cultivated over $34 million in private investment. Robert Palmieri, Mayor of Utica

Voices of 2015

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

October 4, 2015 - There's one important question missing that hasn't been answered: WHY does this hospital require 17 acres of building, as well as another 17 for parking in the heart of a downtown of a city of 61,332? In fact, if you look at the Attached Image I submit, none of these hospitals approach 34 acres, and most are not downtown. Utica Rising

October 4, 2015 - The monies involved should point to the Mohawk Valley. We need a hospital period! If this is a state allocation why should Utica be priority? Herkimer and Ilion closed many years ago, Little Falls is not an operational facility.... come on valley people! We need a hospital. Joyce Collea

Voices of 2014

December 31, 2014 - Hospital affiliation - The big news of 2014 in the local health care system came in March when Utica’s hospitals – Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center – formally affiliated under a new parent, the Mohawk Valley Health System. The affiliation was necessary, officials said, to meet current financial and regulatory challenges; both hospitals lost money last year. So far, patients have seen few changes as a result of the affiliation, but the health system will likely consolidate at least some services in the new year. Officials have even talked about building a new hospital to replace the three current hospital buildings. Utica Observer-Dispatch

November 29, 2014 - 'Dream' of new hospital would be a nightmare - "Cash-strapped facilities have opted to renovate existing buildings to suit modern needs rather than take on the expense of new construction." Anyone who has lived in Utica for the last 50 years knows that this does not tell half the story. Renovating existing buildings has indeed been done, but the sites at St. Elizabeth and Faxton are hardly recognizable for all the new wings that have been constructed in successive stages. St. Luke's original section is less than 60 years old, and the addition of new wings to the original building over the years has been mind-boggling. Duplication? There is only one maternity center, one heart center, one cancer center. Do we really want just one emergency room for the whole area? The money for this plan will come from "$8 billion dollars in savings from Medicaid redesign." That money is not a windfall. It is the taxpayers' money that will no longer be spent in the future when the present fraud and waste have been reduced. Scott Perra needs to wake up before his dream becomes a plan. Jerome F. Weber, Utica, Utica

Downtown Utica is better without an out-of-scale hospital that bulldozes our historic urban core. #NoHospitalDowntown is "yes hospital", we simply want the new hospital at St. Luke's where they own 64-acres, and not in the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood. Here's Why We Oppose The Downtown Utica Hospital Concept and Many Agree!

No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown