UTICA, N.Y. – Oneida County entered into an agreement with the City of Utica to share the cost of building a parking garage for the new Wynn Hospital downtown. County Executive Anthony Picente says the city isn’t holding up its end of the bargain – but the City says they are moving funds around to be able to continue to contribute.
According to the Memorandum of Agreement from 2017, the city would pay 40% and the county would pay 60% to complete the garage. To make up the city’s shortfall, Picente secured $10 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding.
With the cost of construction supplies increasing, Picente hopes that will be enough to cover the gap left by the city.
“It becomes more of a challenge because depending on what the overall construction looks like on this garage, with the cost of materials going up because of what we're seeing, is that 10 million going to be enough to fill the gap; I hope so it's going to have to be and we're going to have to make adjustments,” said Picente.
In November of 2020, Utica’s 4th Ward Councilman Frank Meola told NEWSChannel 2 he didn’t think the city would be able to meeting it’s $300,000 annual contribution because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Monday, the city released a statement, saying they continue to support the hospital project, and have reallocated nearly $6 million for the garage so far.
“The city has not backed away from its commitment, but rather stepped up and decided to finance its commitment of the garage by reallocating its secured grant funding. In conversations with state officials, this arrangement was agreed to by all parties. It is disappointing the city must address inaccurate claims and rhetoric.”
According to the statement, $6 million in city grant funds have gone toward the hospital parking garage already.
“Including the $3 million URI grant, the city has contributed a total of $6 million in grant funds towards the new parking garage. The city secured these grants for other purposes; but, in being a strong project partner, decided to contribute the funds to the garage. In addition, the city has invested nearly $8 million in infrastructure improvements to ensure the hospital project comes to fruition.”
Mohawk Valley Health System released the following statement to NEWSChannel 2 when asked about the garage funding:
"We appreciate all of the support we have received from this community."