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GUEST COLUMN: Persistence wins the day

Posted 12/28/22

During the next few weeks, the Daily Sentinel, in partnership with the Genesis Group, will publish articles written by area elected officials and business and community leaders. 

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GUEST COLUMN: Persistence wins the day


During the next few weeks, the Daily Sentinel, in partnership with the Genesis Group, will publish articles written by area elected officials and business and community leaders. In addition to the Sentinel’s Editorial Page, the articles will appear in the Genesis Group’s weekly newsletters and social media pages.

If 2022 taught us anything, it was that persistence wins the day.

Our work throughout the last two years while much of the world was on pause has propelled us to new heights.

We have seen the opening of three major economic development projects that once were but a dream and now an accomplished reality. We are steps closer to a new hospital in Utica and an enhanced health care system in the County as both MVHS and Rome Health make tremendous strides in both their facilities and level of care.

Oneida County government has been a vital partner in both projects with financial, technical and legal support, insuring that our residents have not one but two solid health care systems that they require and deserve. 

Wolfspeed opened up the world’s largest silicon carbide fab in April, a project with over a $1.2 billion investment that already has 300 employees and is growing every day.

The dream of a major chip manufacturer was in the works for nearly 25 years with the development of the Marcy site beginning in 1998. Millions of dollars in site investment and a huge commitment from the State of New York led to the building of this one of a kind facility.

Wolfspeed could have gone anywhere, and in fact were courted by many, but choose New York and specifically Oneida County. The company not only is invested in producing chips for the electric vehicle industry, but has become a great corporate citizen involved and investing in numerous community causes. Thanks to CEO Gregg Lowe and his team for joining our community. 

Skydome opened in July and was christened as the largest indoor UAS (uncrewed aircraft systems) testing site in the nation. Of the other 6 test sites, none has experienced the growth and innovation that we have at Griffiss International Airport. With a state investment of $9 million and the county’s $4 million, companies from across the globe will test their systems in this state of the art hangar. Continuing the role that Griffiss has played for decades as a leader in aviation, this time with a new twist.

While these have been the signature projects in our community they in turn set the stage for a future in which Oneida County can be a player in every aspect of economic growth and prosperity. We are a leader in technology and the announcement of Micron in Onondaga county only enhances our strength and ability to attract more to the Marcy site as well as the Griffiss Triangle, a nearly 300-acre site that is being prepared for development. It is an area that can accommodate more large scale projects in either supply chain for the technology industry or a mix of industrial use. Again the sky’s the limit.

We also look to continue in the development of uncrewed aircraft systems. Our New York Test site is a leader and we look to the New Year to grow more UAS companies at Griffiss.

Nexus opened on Veterans Day and had its grand opening on Thursday, Dec. 1. This remarkable facility has already made great strides by transforming the landscape of downtown Utica adding to our economic vitality and expanding our sports and entertainment experience. Nexus is more than just a sports complex and while it is true that other activities can be held there, what it brings is much more. The number of people who will visit Oneida County for the first time and those who follow time and time again will experience more than just Nexus but all we have to offer. 

We cannot only rest on Nexus’s opening. The early returns have showed great numbers of new visitors and our task is to develop a true sports and entertainment district around the Adirondack Bank Center and Nexus stretching to Union Station and the REA wing. More restaurants and retail opportunities to capture the crowds that will be visiting year round, more for families to do in their down time. A connection that can take them to all parts of our county to see the beauty that we have and the arts, culture and recreation that Oneida County offers.

Our region boasts a tremendous strength in tourism with a billion dollar impact thanks to places like Turning Stone, the Stanley, Munson Williams Proctor, the numerous golf courses and 4 seasons of activities just to name a few. 

There is so much more to do. While our focus on economic development and tourism is essential for long term growth. We must not forget the major role of our government of public health and safety. That has not been more evident than the last two years have exposed. Which is why Oneida County is investing in both of our hospital systems to ensure that our residents have the very best at their disposal.

We also must strengthen public safety which has been weakened by the no bail reform law and the increasing level of gun violence.

We need more of our young people to enter into the realm of public service on all levels as our community needs more in law enforcement, corrections and human services. All of this centers on our role of helping the less fortunate. We need to truly tackle the issue of homelessness and address mental health issue that the state has largely deserted. We need to be a community that serves all.

What I have outlined may seem over the top or too ambitious. But if we don’t try and if we don’t believe we will accomplish nothing. That is not an option.

At the beginning of this column I spoke of persistence. Simply put if we could accomplish what we did during a pandemic, imagine what we can do in better days.

Looking forward to 2023, my wish for all of the people of our community is a blessed Christmas and holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year.


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