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Utica Mayor addresses business owners over concerns with downtown plan

By HILARY LANE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Mayor Robert Palmieri presented his Genesee Street Corridor Improvement and Downtown Parking Project plan to business owners at the Utica School of Commerce Thursday.

The concept is to take Genesee Street from a four-lane to a two lane road from Baggs square to Oneida Square.The $10 million project also includes separating storm and sanitary sewer lines and adding public parking with pay stations.

However, some Genesee Street business owners disapprove of the plan.

They have concerns about how the months of construction will impact their businesses, how deliveries will be received, and how their customers who have been frequenting their businesses for years will react to the changes.

"Some of my patients may have been 50 when they started coming to me, now they are 81. Those are the people I have concerns about. I just want them to be accommodated for," said Ed Lasek of Optical World located on Genesee Street.

Many owners explained their concerns to the Mayor who said he will make sure no businesses will be forced to close because of construction. He also stated paid parking on streets works everywhere from Syracuse to Albany so he is confident it will work here. In addition, handicapped parking will be more accessible to help older residents and there will be loading zones for truck deliveries.

Palmieri encourages anyone with concerns to contact his office.

The plan is funded by federal and state dollars.

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