Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Done Deal . . . Backtrack Sends Wrong Message

According to today's OD, the plans for an Irish Cultural Center in Utica's Brewery District have hit a snag:
Mayor David Roefaro said he supports the project. The city is working to figure out some “finer details” to protect the city’s interests, which could take about two months, he said.
Sickening B.S.
Urban Renewal Agency attorney Joseph H. Hobika Sr. said his agency has since determined its procedure for a land sale was not followed. Now, the agency’s board is requesting the return of the title, he said.
(Could some people be trying to trip up the current administration?)

The Common Council authorized the sale of a city-owned parcel to the project sponsors; the sponsors already paid for the property; and the deed was already given to the sponsors.

What the City is trying to do is akin to the person who sold you your home coming back a couple months later and wanting to renegotiate the deal. But the deal is done. The City could make the sponsors want to renegotiate by withholding building permits, but that would be an abuse of power and result in expensive lawsuits for both sides which the City would have to lose because the property was sold without condition.

While the project sponsors threaten to take their project to Rome, everyone deep down inside knows that the project will never be a success any place else but in West Utica. That is where it should be.

I don't know what Mayor Roefaro is trying to accomplish, but at this point it is NOT protecting the interests of the citizens of Utica. It sends the wrong message, telling people that they cannot do business with the City of Utica without someone coming back after a deal is done and asking for more . . .

Is Mayor Roefaro trying to take Utica back to the '50s . . . when palms had to be greased to get things done? Let's not go there. People in Utica don't want to go back to that.

A deal is a deal and that should be the end of it. If the Mayor really cares about Utica's image he would confirm the deal and tell the urban renewal agency to take a hike.


Anonymous said...

"go back to greasing palms"?

I'm not so sure we ever "left" that way of business here Strike..

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to raise an old post from the dead, but this is actually extremely relevant now.

The long delayed Irish cultural center is now bumping up against the deadline referenced in the OD story you linked to. The deed transfer for the land was executed on December 28th, 2007. It included a reversion clause where the land goes back to the city if the center isn't completed within five years.

That deadline arrives on December 28th, 2012.

If you've driven past the construction site lately you can see that there's no way the project is going to make the deadline. Mind you, that's still *three years* after the original completion date.