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Local officials want action taken on vacant buildings at MV Psychiatric Center

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some local leaders say they're not staying silent anymore about the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center's vacant buildings.

They say that if the state's taking away some of the center's jobs, it's time it takes action on many of its buildings.

In addition to keeping 100 positions at the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center, local leaders on Wednesday said they want to see something to finally happen with the center's large, vacant Brigham building.

Utica Council At-Large Member James Zecca, West Utica Councilman Dave Testa and Oneida County Legislator Harmony Speciale all agree that the large space is an opportunity for economic development.

"This is one of the largest swaths of land in the City of Utica," Zecca said. "You could take the Bossert site, some of the other industrial sites, put them together, and it doesn't equal what footprint is on this property."

Zecca says starting with Governor Pataki, the City of Utica was told they would receive $3 million to demolish the psychiatric center's Brighman building and make the site ready for new development. However, that has not happened.

"Silence is the virtue of fools and we're not fools anymore," Zecca said, quoting Sir Francis Bacon. "We're not fools. We want action. We want to see things change here."

Zecca says that right now, the state owns the land, and the city's not getting any tax money from it. However, if the land was privately developed, Zecca says it would generate lots of revenue for the city.

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