Genesis Group backs Utica hospital site

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Building a new Mohawk Valley Health System hospital in downtown Utica has the backing of a civic organization that seeks to promote growth in the region.

The Genesis Group on Friday endorsed the project that will combine many of the services now offered at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in south Utica and Faxton St. Luke’s in New Hartford into a modern complex in the vicinity of Oriskany Street near the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The facility will cost more than $500 million with completion projected for 2022.

“We believe that this project will positively impact our region’s economy and quality of life,” said Raymond J. Durso Jr., executive director of The Genesis Group. “We support this project because it is aligned with our vision to be a trusted advocate and partner for regional growth, economic vitality, support, innovation and positive change.”

Backers of the medical complex have called it the largest public-private investment in the community’s history, including New York state’s $300 million commitment.

“The Genesis Group encourages area residents and the business community to continue to support the project,” said Genesis Group Board President Gene Quadraro. “It’s critical that we all work together for a better future — this is truly a quality of life issue.” 

Genesis was joined by representatives of the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and Mohawk Valley EDGE, organizations that have previously endorsed the project. Also present were elected public officials.

“Genesis has always been an advocate of a forward-looking, progressive agenda on economic development, economic inclusion and community renewal,” said EDGE President, Steven J. DiMeo. “It is heartening to have a community-based, grass-roots organization like Genesis come out in support of the plans by MVHS to build a fully integrated, state-of-the-art hospital campus that will be a catalyst for the economic revival of downtown Utica.”  

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri added, “This is a transformational project and a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a state of the art medical facility for our region.”

Notwithstanding, support for the downtown location is not universal, encountering resistance in some quarters. For example, the website www.nohospitaldowntown.com says, “We have pledged to support property and business owners, as well as Utica-area residents who do not want this concept implemented.”

Site plan update

Meanwhile, Mohawk Valley Health System said Thursday it is firming up the footprint for the new facility. With the refinement of the plan, three properties that were originally identified for use by the system are no longer within the campus boundaries. MVHS officials recently met with these property owners to make them aware that their properties are no longer included in the plan for the new health care complex.

The three properties no longer in the final site plan are Eggers Caryl & Corrigan (Oriskany Street and Broadway), Rockford Auto Glass (Oriskany and Washington streets) and a building owned by The Orange Tree (Lafayette Street and Broadway). Officials are now working to coordinate a date for the public unveiling of the site. The plan includes refinement of the campus boundaries, hospital size and placement, and location of ancillary buildings and parking amenities. It does not include the aesthetics of the facility design, which are still under development.

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