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Search is now on for new home for "Feed Our Vets"

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The not-for-profit Feed Our Vets organization has withdrawn its purchase offer on the National Distance Running Hall of Fame building in the Baggs Square West area of downtown Utica.

The purchase offer ignited a controversy, pitting those who support vets against some of the other businesses in the area, the owners of which had concerns about the location downtown of a business that doesn’t pay taxes in a city with a dwindling tax base.

Some of those business owners received death threats and threats to their businesses.

Now, the deal is off.

Feed Our Vets has withdrawn its purchase offer on the National Distance Running Hall of Fame building, telling the hall president in a letter, “Feed Our Vets does not want the men and women and the 200 children we feed to be exposed to people who have no respect for them and are not welcomed in the West Baggs Square area.”

Finding money to buy a building is proving challenging.

Feed Our Vets had made an informal inquiry to the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties about grant money for a help buying a building. The informal, e-mailed response from the Foundation was no, because the organization serves a niche population and not the whole community.

The two sides, however, are sitting down to talk in a few weeks.

Richard Synek, of Feed Our Vets, says he is working with a local realtor to find another downtown location where they will be, “welcomed and thanked for the endeavor we set out to do”.

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