Rome, N.Y. - The Oneida County Local Development Corporation Board voted unanimously on Friday to approve the Mohawk Valley Health System's application to begin the SEQRA review process.
SEQRA stands for State Environmental Quality Review Act and requires a thorough environmental study be completed in order for MVHS to build its new hospital.
MVHS Chief Operating Officer Robert Scholefield was at the OCLDC office in Rome for Friday's vote.
Scholefield calls the approval a major milestone, "This allows us to continue the process. As we indicated earlier, the SEQR, or the environmental review, is a required process in this project and it starts now, and we expect it to last 9 to 12 months."
Scholefield says he doesn't see any roadblocks from an environmental standpoint to build the hospital downtown, but he says that is what this study is for, to find out any potential issues and come up with ways to address them, "Well nothing that we're aware of that could become a problem. That's why we have to do these things to find out what's there, but a lot of research has been done already in that part of the city so we don't have anything particular that were concerned about."
Steve Eckler with O'Brien & Gere Engineering out of Syracuse which has been hired by Mohawk Valley Health System to oversee the project was also at Friday's meeting in Rome.
Eckler has been involved in other state environmental quality reviews involving properties here in the Utica area and says this process is a very in depth one, "It's all aspects of the environment, and not just the environment, it's social economic aspects, impacts on land, impacts on air, impacts on water, all the kind of issues."
The study is expected to take between 9 months and 1 year to complete.