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REA wing of Utica's Union Station to become home of the County Public Market

By CRISTINA PICOZZI

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente announced Wednesday that the Railway Express Agency Wing at the historic Union Station in Utica will become the home of the County Public Market starting Saturday, June 25.

While the public market will take place outdoors in the parking lot facing the train tracks, redevelopment and expansion to the REA Wing of the station will take place throughout the summer and into September.

The Italianate-style train station opened in May 1914 and restoration began in 1978. However, the REA Wing has been out of use since the 1970s. Picente hopes that renovations to the wing will "build up economic and community activity downtown" and possibly spark "more redevelopment and more private investment in the heart of Utica."

"Union Station is a gem," Picente said, "The entire site has outstanding potential. The Public Market is a creative, 21st century way to capitalize on that potential."

The REA Wing was originally used for cargo and transport, but after renovations are finished, Picente hopes that the public market can have some vendors inside, which will allow the market to be open year-round.

Picente is hopeful that the implementation of the public market would bring more than just local residence out this summer.

"Thousands of people go to the Syracuse market," Picente said. "They don't all live in Onondaga County. We're right on the border of Herkimer County, we have Lewis County, we have counties that border us all the way around that are in such close proximity that if we get those people within itself, then we have accomplished a great deal. People can see not just what we have to offer, but they'll do other things while they're here."

The public market, which will have a festival-like atmosphere already has 25 vendors signed up for opening day, will feature unique, diverse blend of fresh produce, artisan foods and crafted local products.

"I hope we can see our families and friends in the region enjoy the new Oneida County Public Market for a special, vibrant place for fresh flavors and fun," Picente said.

The public market will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information about becoming a vendor or the market itself you can visit www.oneidacountymarket.com

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