Utica, N.Y.-- TODAY, New York State’s Department of Transportation cut the ribbon on a two-year project. A $17.1 Million safety enhancement at Oriskany St. on Route 5-S and the Baggs Square Harbor Point Pedestrian Way. D.O.T. Commissioner, Marie Therese Dominguez, says this is a project that benefits everyone in the City.
"It really is a beautiful pedestrian friendly thoroughfare that will not only enhance safety but give everybody the chance to enjoy it."
One of the beneficiaries of this finished construction are local businesses in the area. Wisk Bakery Co-Owner, Douglass Allen-Leonard, says this area has been longing for something like this.
"I know being here for 5 years, it's difficult to get from Point-A to Point-B from Baggs Square to Downtown, and the connectivity now is much better."
Despite the cause for celebration, Allen-Leonard said that his business lost a lot of customers during the construction due to the lack of accessibility, but he said he saw the bigger picture and didn't let it get to him. Now that everything is done, Wisk, and other businesses around the area could prosper from this.
"We took a big hit. We lost 58% of our business from the project, but we see the long-term of what's going to happen. For us, it's good because it's going to be a draw for people to get into our business."
Utica Mayor, Robert Palmieri says this construction is great for the area, and will more than likely bring in newer residents. He says he's proud of this accomplishment and believes this is only the beginning for Utica.
"You've gotta give the people a reason to come to the region, and ladies and gentlemen, the parterships we have in the state, with the county, with our elected officials, our council. You're seeing a change that we've never seen before."
"I'm very honored to be a Mayor, I'm very honored to be a partner with everyone that's moving this forward, and I certainly look for the future of a great destination for our City."