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A brief history of the Utica arterial

By KEITH HUNT

The Chenango canal was this area's first commercial water way that ran north and south from Binghamton to the Erie canal in Utica.

William Stewart of the Oneida County Historical Society says it's, “pretty much the exact same territory that the Ontario Western railroad went through and the same territory the arterial goes through now, the path north and south hasn’t changed much…just the way we travel over it.

And this present day path didn’t replace the train with cars until the ribbon cutting ceremony in 1963. Remarks made that day included this statement:

“The business community is most appreciative of this tremendous improvement to our gateway our threshold to our home … Utica.”

And now, fifty harsh upstate years later, the structures spanning over the city are being replaced and Dave Williams, Utica City Assessor said that, “it offers the city a transportation route were your trucking can come in and service the businesses here and deliver goods and it allows them to come right into the city versus going down another route."

There is an unfortunate, financial downside for the city, as $1,955,000 worth of property has been cut from the city tax rolls, leaving the shortfall for the city to make up. In addition, school and county taxes are also lost.

Dave Williams adds, “you really can’t bring this back once its gone you can just try to develop elsewhere in the city housing and try and get that money back over time.”

But with the plans, comes safety for shoppers and neighborhoods alike, hopefully making up that difference in our gateway city.

William Stewart suggested that “Sometimes the changes are not as immediately effective as we would like but the planning that goes into it will hopefully make the benefit come out in the end.”

Demolition of the state-owned properties on both sides of the arterial is expected to continue throughout May with actual roadwork and traffic slowdowns scheduled for later in June.

All phases of this $60 million project are expected to be completed in 2016.

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