Oneida County wins ruling on parking garage

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UTICA — This week, a ruling regarding the future of a parking garage for the under-construction downtown Utica hospital was issued by State Supreme Court Justice Bernadette Clark.

According to statements, Clark delivered a final decision on a two-year-old legal challenge in a virtual address, deciding that Oneida County was entitled to file an acquisition map of remaining properties in the garage footprint.

The three parcels in question were owned by Joe Cerini, who owns Citation Services; Brett Truett, who owns a building in the footprint; and Dennis Corrigan, who owns an empty lot. 

On the heels of the decision, involved parties offered their thoughts.

“Many lies were told by backers of the ‘new hospital.’ Their downtown hospital concept was a paper napkin concept showing a medical clinic near the AUD- primary goal, to build a parking garage… Judge Clark should not have ruled on this case … She has significant and very obvious conflicts of interest. It’s not the end of that story,” said Truett, who continued, “Soon Utica’s only acute care hospital will be subject to evacuation due to its close proximity to the CSX train tracks. … The Wynn’s suburban site plan is a grotesque, acreage-eating, design. As a result a neighborhood was lost, many Utica-area residents have soured on our leaders and MVHS. There was room for a better hospital neighborhood, but (Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente) ignored calls to discuss them…”

“I am extremely pleased with today’s Supreme Court decision to deny the stay request and to grant the order to file an acquisition map – the last step in the eminent domain process. This has been a long process, and I am tremendously grateful to Oneida County for continuing to move forward with eminent domain and ultimately, construction of the parking garage,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, president/CEO of the Mohawk Valley Health System, in a statement.

Forward moves

In early March, the Oneida County legislature approved a 30-year, $30.9 million bond resolution for a downtown hospital parking garage complete with a helipad to be constructed next to Wynn Hospital.

The total maximum estimated cost of the project is $50.9 million, with the additional costs not bonded for will be funded by $10 million in grants and $10 million secured through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Bids on the parking garage project are expected to be opened in mid-April, county legislators said at the Wednesday meeting.

County officials said construction on the four-level, 1,350-spot garage is expected to break ground in mid-May and be completed in October of 2023, around the same time that Wynn hospital will be ready to accept patients.

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