Officials with Mohawk Valley Health System don't expect eminent domain to tie up the downtown Utica hospital project in the courts. They say price haggling is more likely to do that.
"The tie up in the court, if you will, as I understand it, usually is related to final negotiation for the price of the property and not related to the determination of public good in receipt of the property from the health system, so we do not envision eminent domain to tie this up in court for years," says Bob Scholefield, MVHS Chief Operating Officer.
Downtown hospital rendering courtesy of the Mohawk Valley Health System
Scholefield says MVHS is no longer pursuing discussions with the four downtown property owners who refuse to sell, but says their door remains open to negotiations. So far, MVHS has spent about $8 million acquiring the 14 properties they say are now in the selling/sold column-more than they'd expected to spend, says Scholefield, adding that this fall will bring the next big push of progress for the new downtown hospital.
"October SEQR completion, that really is the trigger for all the next steps. The project really begins in full earnest when SEQR is completed," says Scholefield.
SEQR is state environmental quality review, and examines the environmental impacts of projects with government funding.