UTICA, N.Y. -- Wednesday, Mayor Rob Palmieri unveiled Utica’s Parks and Recreation master plan. The city has been working on this master plan for several years now.
Palmieri says this plan was created to help guide the future of the city – with 17 parks, Utica has the second largest park system in Upstate New York.
Wednesday, the mayor announced his master plan at Wankel Playground in South Utica. He says the city of Utica has invested in developing a plan to improve the parks, trails, and recreation facilities in the community.
The city was awarded $250,000 from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s financial restructuring initiative to make this master plan possible.
Included in the plan is further development of all 17 parks as well as development of the trail system within the park system and throughout the city of Utica.
Palmieri says parks are a valuable community resource and improvements to the parks will help with the development of the city.
"The quality of life that the parks bring is really the economic development, people want to live where there is parks that as we look around, people are using them, your kids, your adults, your grandparents. What was acceptable years ago is no longer acceptable. We have to change; we have to adapt. And again, one thing I think we have that everyone talks about is a great park system,” Palmieri said.
The next step is for the common council to approve this master plan before construction can start.
And if the council does approve of the plan, the mayor says Wankel Playground will be the first park to change and is hoping construction can start within the next month.
“Now it’s in the hands of the members of the Common Council, and hopefully look for an adoption of this so we can look forward, but make it very clear, when you’re competing for funding, unless you have a blueprint, which is a master plan it makes it very difficult," Palmieri said. "Now that we have a master plan, the ability to go after grants and be awarded grants will be much easier.”
The final draft of this plan is on the city’s website.