Tuesday, September 30, 2014

News
Officials unveil first draft of Utica's master plan
By JOLEEN FERRIS


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - While campaigning for office, Utica Mayor David Roefaro said the city needed a master plan. Three years later and $350,000 later, that plan was unveiled to the public.

The mayor, city planners and representatives from Saratoga Associates - the firm that crafted the plan - were in the lobby of Utica City Hall on Tuesday to share the plan with the public.

The plan identifies needs and goals in five specific areas, and recommends corrective plans of action.

"...housing, neighborhood development, infrastructure, waterfront development, business and technology, parks, recreation, historic preservation and then downtown development so looking at how those areas overall impact the city and development in those areas will become the future of the city," says senior city planner Dana Crisino.

Some specifics include re-designing Genesee Street to a boulevard style, including more parking, lack of which has been a long-time complaint of downtown business people and shoppers. Under the category 'waterfront development', moving Greenman Estates and Murnane Field to Harbor Point.

Utica Mayor David Roefaro on Tuesday discussed what the plan is, and isn't.

"I'm not gonna sit here and tell you it's a solve-all for everything; don't think that you're gonna take this plan and say our problems are solved," Roefaro said. "But you know what? We're going to work through our problems and the way we're going to work through our problems is we're going to start now with this master plan."

The plan identifies ways of accomplishing the goals set forth in it within a 10-year time frame. It does not identify funding sources for the money needed to get the job done.

"No matter what project it is, it's going to be a pubic private partnership, you're going to have to find grant funding and is the money there?" Roefaro said. "Listen - money is scarce in this economy, but we've got to set the building blocks, so that when we're done, we can start building the house. And that's exactly what we're going to do and we're going to do it."

The city council will have to adopt the plan in order for it to be put into practice. Before they do, there will be public hearings - both of which should happen some time in August.

The master plan is approximately 120 pages long. Copies are available through the mayor's office, at www.uticamasterplan.org or under related content of this story.