It's a bitter battle over a building that's still a blueprint.
On Thursday, Mohawk Valley Health System gathered business owners, hotel managers, developers and other supporters of the downtown hospital at the Hotel Utica. Supporters held signs, leaving no question fo the business they represent. The sign on the podium read, "Yes! #mvhsdowntown", seemingly in response to the No Hospital Downtown group.
"Absolutely, there's lots of people that are in favor of this, just not the 20 who are opposed to it or whatever the number is and so we want to start to get the positive momentum going and not just deal in negativity like this community has a tendency to do from time to time," said MVHS CEO/President, Scott Perra.
Some of the supporters stepped up to the podium, including Utica Comets co-founder, Frank DuRoss.
"The reality of our healthcare system is that a new hospital is needed. That's not my decision. The experts have agreed there is a need. Once of a lifetime state funding is in the wings to make this affordable. This is the moment," said DuRoss.
A mile or two south on Genesee Street, the co-founder of the No Hospital Downtown movement pondered:
"If this is in fact a done deal and if it benefits the community so much, why do they feel the need to keep selling it to us over and over again? And I would submit to you this is far from a done deal," said Brock, from his south Utica office.
Groundbreaking on the hospital is expected in summer of 2019, with a 2022 completion date.
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