Oneida County executive candidate David Gordon is pledging to try to have the new combined Mohawk Valley Health System hospital built not in downtown Utica but on the site of what state and county officials hoped would be a major nanotechnology manufacturing site near SUNY Polytechnic Institute north of the Mohawk River.
Gordon held a press conference at the site Monday afternoon to say the nano plan has failed but the site would be a better location for the new hospital rather than on land acquired by the health system by purchase or by eminent domain from unwilling landowners.
He noted Oneida County has pledged to provide most of the financing for a new parking garage at the new hospital site, and that the putative nano site remains empty despite extensive state spending on luring a manufacturer to it and local spending toward preparing it for an employer.
“With the potential loss of 31 taxpaying property owners by use of eminent domain, and the taxpayers on the hook for over 50 million dollars for parking alone, it is time to start using our brains to make decisions,” Gordon said in a statement.
“As your next county executive, I will work with the State of New York and MVHS to move this project away from downtown and into this already developed space here at the failed Nano Building and shovel ready site,” the candidate added.
Picente told local media later Monday that Gordon was “grandstanding” on a settled issue.
“The hospital project has been in the works for four years and now he’s decided to chime in with no facts, no substance and no common sense,” Picente said.
MVHS plans to combine its existing Faxton-St. Luke’s and St. Elizabeth’s hospitals into one that it says will be state-of-the-art and more efficient.