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Utica Mayor presents downtown revitalization plan to neighborhood meeting

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri presented his downtown revitalization plan to residents at Tuesday's Cornhill Neighborhood Association meeting. The mayor along with Deputy City Engineer Goran Smiljic and the Commissioner of Urban & Economic Development Brian Thomas showed how the Genesee Street Corridor Improvement and Downtown Parking Project Plan would benefit the city.

The approximately $14 million project includes:
-Changing Genesee Street from a 4 to 2 lane way with either a median or a center left turn lane at points.
- Pay station street parking and additional downtown parking.
- Upgrading the existing infrastructure.
- Implementing Safe Scape Principles bringing a sense of comfort and safety to downtown.

The mayor's goal by presenting at the neighborhood meeting was to get the community behind the project and to bring up any of their concerns.

"The mayor had a real good point, it's been this way for quite a few years and it's not working," said Utica Common Councilor Jerome McKinsey Sr., of the 5th Ward. "We're seeing businesses ween away from downtown Utica and we don't want to end up with this empty whole in the middle of downtown that's the first thing people see when they come off the Interstate."

Councilor McKinsey says the selling point for him is combining this with what the city has to do underground. They'll be replacing the city's antiquated combined sewer system with separate sanitary and storm sewer mains, something the city says DEC is mandating they do.

Mayor Palmieri says they're still revising the plan based on officials and community members input. He will give a similar presentation at both the North Utica and West Utica neighborhood meetings the last week of january.

The whole plan can be found at www.cityofutica.com.

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