Utica, NY, December 27, 2019 - In a significant legal victory, opposition to the destruction of downtown for a sprawling hospital, has not been thrown out by Albany Supreme Court.
Over six months ago, the Mohawk Valley Health System and the City of Utica requested a legal challenge to their SEQR process be thrown out. However, earlier this week the court upheld a lawsuit by opposition parties; follow this link #NoHospitalDowntown Legal to find a copy of the the Decision & Order from Justice Mackey.
The City of Utica Planning Board and MVHS must now address the merits of the lawsuit’s claims, this according to Brett Truett, cofounder of #NoHospitalDowntown. “We expect further procedural maneuvering by MVHS and the Planning Board, however we continue to be both financially and legally well-positioned to defend the public‘s wishes against this urban renewal scheme. The public was shutout on this, so we have no alternative but to fight for justice.”
Cofounder Jim Brock, added “This is a major setback to the Planning Board and MVHS. The Albany Court’s decision means anything MVHS is doing is totally at risk. While it appears NYSDOH has advanced a small portion of funds “promised” by the planned $300M grant, we believe MVHS will not get full State funding until the SEQRA issues are resolved in their favor. We contend, and today we see the court agrees, the SEQR documents and process were flawed.”
Formed on August 22, 2015, #NoHospitalDowntown will continue opposition on this and any other legal fronts. Continued options remain for both sides, but the original SEQR lawsuit claims were not dismissed, so opposition is on track in spite of demolitions and CoLa Street closures. Mohawk Valley Health System has already bulldozed over nine properties, including:
■ Carriage House
■ Metzler Printing
■ Former Bergers Department Store (Norm Seakan TV & Appliances)
■ Jones Building
■ Haberer Building
■ John Bosco House (and former St. George Church)
■ And most recently, former home to Heidelberg Bakery at 430 Columbia Street
“Many buildings remain, as well as the historic Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood (CoLa) street grid,” group member, Donna Beckett added. She continued, “Nobody is fighting against hospital improvements, but silver bullet proposals that erase streets and neighborhoods have long been proven to be terrible mistakes.”
Truett, and group member Joe Cerini, as well as three other property owners that MVHS has been unable to win-over, seem to not be be going anywhere either. So the fight to save downtown is alive and well. Websites for more information are Better Utica Downtown and #NoHospitalDowntown.
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Contact Info: Brett Truett
#NoHospitalDowntown was co-founded by two business owners and former board members of Utica’s Chamber of Commerce following disturbing calls from hospital board members in 2015. The hospital is seeking to abandon a 64-acre hospital campus and construct a new hospital downtown. This concept would require demolition of historical buildings and streets and threatens over 40 businesses. Both the Utica Chamber and the Genesis Group have never allowed them to share their concerns with their boards or membership.