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Meeting tonight regarding Running Hall of Fame building sale

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Common Councilmember Frank Vescera has moved the location of a public discussion tonight after some backlash from some fellow councilmembers.

Vescera originally sought to bring together concerned constituents with the parties involved in the sale in progress of the National Distance Running Hall of Fame to the Feed Our Vets organization.

Some business owners in the area had concerns about whether that was a good fight for that section of the city, where there is a push to create commerce and economic revival.

They also had concerns about the need for such an agency there when a similar one, the CNY Veterans Outreach Center, offers similar services just a few blocks south on Genesee Street.

Once Vescera sent a notice to the city clerk and she sent notices to the other councilmembers, Vescera started hearing from some members who said it was not an official meeting endorsed by the council. Some contacted council attorney Anthony Garramone.

"This is unprecedented. What these three councilpersons have accomplished... is unprecedented. There are serious first amendment issues that they're trampling on," says Vescera.

Vescera did move the meeting from the council chambers at city hall to the Utica School of Commerce, Rm 122 at 5:30. He says he didn't want to detract from the important topics of discussion and would handle what he feels are serious first amendment issues at a later time.

Councilperson Joe Marino, reached by phone, said he simply wanted Vescera to go through the proper channels to schedule a meeting. He says Vescera did not get the majority approval of the council to hold the discussion and that the council oversees and authorizes use of the chambers.

Vescera says he doesn't believe the city clerk would have forwarded his notices about the discussion if they were not properly executed.


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