In his state of the City address Wednesday, Mayor Julian designated construction of townhouses at Valley View Golf Course as a priority.
Cheers to Mayor Julian for recognizing a need for high-end housing in Utica . . . .
Jeers to Mayor Julian for his choice of location.
Obviously, townhouses at Valley View will be snapped up quickly. Who wouldn't want to wake up to views like these everyday ? . . .
To be sure, Julian is right to try to expand the tax base, and this will do it. But what is the long term cost? Is it really worth compromising the one thing that Utica has that is the envy of all the urban areas of this state: its park system? I think not.
Ten years ago, another mayor had another "bright idea" to bring money into city coffers: sell the water system. The Common Council went along with it. Like Tums, it provided short term relief, but solved none of the underlying problems.
Utica once housed 100,000+, but now only about 50,000 remain. It makes no sense to be developing pristine land when the developed land is so underutilized.
Lets recognize the Mayor's proposal for what it is: Urban Sprawl. Just like what is happening in New Hartford, the realtors and developers are licking their chops, ready to make a killing ... and the politicians may be able to give short term tax relief ... but the long term quality of life of the general public will suffer ... and there will be one less reason to stay here.
The mayor needs to rethink what has to be done. Parkland has value as parkland. Our neighborhoods, however, are pockmarked with rotting hulks. The mayor and the Common Council need to make it desirable for people to invest in the City again.
Clean up the streets. Fix the sidewalks. Pave the potholes. Eliminate crime. Plant flowers.
Mayor Hanna's late 90s beautification efforts were starting to attract attention. People were becoming interested in Utica again. We need to get back to that.