Utica Common Council approves sale of properties in footprint of hospital project

At Wednesday's common council meeting, 12 people spoke during the public hearing session regarding the sale of the city owned properties.

Posted: Jun 20, 2019 12:05 AM
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 2:31 AM

UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica Common Council approved the sale ordinance of properties owned by the Urban Renewal Agency in the footprint of the proposed hospital project to Mohawk Valley Health System.

Those properties are 326-334 Columbia Street, 336 Columbia Street, 414-416 Lafayette Street, 401 State Street, and 509 State Street. With the passing of the ordinance, they can be sold to MVHS for $1.

At Wednesday's Common Council meeting, 12 people spoke during the public hearing session regarding the sale of the city owned properties.

The only council member to vote against the sale was Robert DeSanctis.

MVHS workers were there in support of the hospital project.

"I think it's gonna improve the healthcare in the area," said Jonathan Blancaflor, the director of robotic surgery at MHVS. "We have a lot of innovative technology that people don't know about, and this will give us a brand new state of the art facility to take great care of our patients."

Members of the "No Hospital Downtown" group were there to speak as well.

"I think if you look at urban development, and you didn't have this $300 million and this promise of state of the art health care, I think if you took that away and asked how could we make downtown better, I think you would fix up the buildings that we have," said Brett Truett of "No Hospital Downtown."

The "No Hospital Downtown" group and its supporters filed a lawsuit last month in Albany against MVHS, the planning board of the city of Utica, state Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Dorm Authority of New York.

Truett says that lawsuit will be in court this Friday in Albany.

Hospital officials say demolition of the buildings in the hospital footprint is set to begin this summer.

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