Yesterday the State Homeland Security Training Center made the news with the County's announcement of an agreement to rent 723 acres of the Old County Airport to the State for $600,000 per year for 15 years . . . As one astute reader noted, that's less than $1,000 an acre. The project was announced from "out of the blue," but with much fanfare, back in December 2005. At the time this blogger did not think it was worth getting excited over. He feels the same today as there has been little activity there worth noting. Now compare . . .
Today Utica College broke ground on a new facility for the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection.
. . . it’s not just a new building they’re getting. They are also getting the expertise of some of the country’s top-ranking government officials. . . .Both institutions are involved in security of one fashion or another. Both are law enforcement related . . . Both were born about the same time. Both are in Greater Utica. The similarity ends there . . .
Utica College officials said that since the program was founded last year, it has gained national attention, allowing for grants from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration, and the Department of Justice construction on the project will start in next month, and officials are hoping to complete it by the same time next year…only about 13 months away.
The public NY State institution has announced no definite plans, and no partnerships. There does not appear to be a demand for its product. It has barely gotten state attention much less than national attention. No momentum is evident whatsoever ... just a lot of waffling after more than a year. The people running it don't seem to know what they want to do or what they are doing. Except that they want a handout of valuable taxpayer-owned land at a bargain basement rent from a County that would be bankrupt but for its decision to tax its residents to death. It also would deny potential tax benefits to a Greater Utica community, Whitestown, by taking land off the market.
The private Utica College facility is already recognized nationally. There is a clear demand for its product. It has national-level partners and is bringing money into the area from out of state. It is constructing a new building. Momentum and financial commitment are evident. The people running things are accomplishing things. And the Oneida County taxpayer is not getting stuck.
If these were two companies, which would you invest in?
Do you still think that renting the old OC Airport to State Homeland Security is such a good deal?