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Business owners react to plans to revamp downtown

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A number of construction and landscaping jobs could be coming to Utica to transform downtown and bring more parking. The city has applied for state and federal grants to completely reconstruct Genesee Street both underground and on the ground level. Some downtown businesses NEWSChannel2 spoke with Wednesday were happy with the plan, because it brings more parking.

The plan outlines five surface parking lots to be built, the former HSBC's lot, one at the former Horrick-Ibbotson, the former Big Daddy's lot, one at Oriskany Boulevard as well as a smaller lot on Bleeker Street.

The plan would bring more parking downtown and show that Utica is open for more business.

"I think small businesses in the area are really looking forward to having people come down here but with the parking problems, we just can't do anything whatsoever." said William Boucher of Antiques and Such. "It's been a problem for years, I know my families been down here for 20 years and it's been like this ever since we've been down here, we're fighting for parking."

The plan also calls for a complete reconstruction of Genesee Street from a 4 lane roadway to a 2 lane one. The boulevard would have a landscaped median in between stretching from Oneida Square to Oriskany Boulevard.

This approximately $15 million project coupled with the North South Arterial project, would bring close to $100 million at one time being invested in Utica.

The city expects to hear back on the state and federal grants to fund the whole project by December and if received, construction could start as early as Spring of 2013.

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