Thursday’s visit to Rome by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is noteworthy for many reasons. Visits from leadership in Albany remain infrequent to the Mohawk Valley — compared to those in other areas of the state — so such events remain significant opportunities to get the ear of those whose support can often make or break key local projects.
The lieutenant governor’s visit is even more an opportunity to highlight the dramatic accomplishments of the past few years — the growth and promise of a brighter future for the region through wise and planned decisions in Rome, the Griffiss Business and Technology Park and the region as a whole.
The city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative — with $10 million in state funding — has been well documented, particularly with the renewed development of the city’s central business district as both a center for the arts as well as a hub of municipal services along with support of small businesses and new housing.
Likewise, the advent of the Innovare Center on Griffiss Park, the now fully-operational Orgill Distribution Center, highlighted during Thursday’s visit, as well as the bustling Air City Lofts and other activities and enhancements at the business and technology park, are visible signs of progress after years of intelligent and meticulous planning and preparation.
Just down the road, the ongoing construction of the Cree wafer fabrication facility in Marcy as well as the downtown revitalization effort in Utica, and its new downtown hospital, are creating a type of synergy not seen regionally since the pre-Urban Renewal heydays of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Hochul’s visit shows us something else about this region, which should not be dismissed lightly. While elsewhere political leadership may seek division for its own benefit, we are genuinely fortunate that here we — and our leadership — seek common ground, find ways to not just work together but to truly complement each other’s efforts. Of course, there are elements of partisanship here, just as there are elsewhere and perhaps everywhere; however, a significant factor in our region — as the lieutenant governor’s visit demonstrates — is that those differences are not allowed to become divides as our current, and future, successes demonstrate.