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Mayor at State of the City: "Recovery rests on smaller businesses"

By By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Mayor David Roefaro delivered his third annual State of the City Address at the Radisson Hotel in Utica Tuesday morning.

The seven-page speech was preceded by a 12-minute video highlighting progress the city has made in various areas over the past year, with "Recovery" the key buzzword of the mayor's speech. A lot of the recovery, though, has been fueled by state and federal grants, including the $2.1 million Restore NY grant, which helped revamp and strengthen three downtown businesses and allowed them to add jobs, Mayor Roefaro said.

Roefaro talked about the fact that his administration has attended several new business ribbon cuttings during his two and a half years in office. The mayor said that our recovery rests on those smaller businesses; that the days of corporate giants waltzing into town with 500 jobs are simply over.

"You know the days when you had a corporation that would come in with 500 jobs," Roefaro said. "That's great and we all wish we could land them but it's the smaller companies; we'll take them with 20 jobs, with 40 jobs, with 50 jobs."

In addition to reflecting on the past year, the mayor talked about future goals, including his plan to send legislation to the common council that would ban smoking in city parks. He also talked about forging relationships with area youth, and involving them in the city's recovery. This included MVCC students revamping certain city-owned historic properties for sale to low-income families and Cornell University selecting Utica for its "Rust to Green" project.

The mayor wrapped up his speech adding that there is more work to do, and that his administration is committed to doing it.

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