Redevelopment of the Bossert brownfield site will not only be good for Utica, but good for the entire region. . . . especially when you think about what people are going through to develop a greenfield in New Hartford.
- The taxpayers benefit. They will not have to pay to extend services and infrastructure to support development because such are already present.
- The environment benefits. No destruction of animal habitat, wetlands, etc. will occur. The street grid is already present to handle traffic.
- The neighborhood benefits. The neighborhood originally grew up around the former tenant of the site, and, to some extent, depended upon it. After the tenant left, the neighborhood went into decline. Redevelopment of the right type could give a reason for the neighborhood to revive. . . . Meanwhile, greenfield development in a suburb will drive some people out.
- Businesses benefit. They will be more conveniently located, being closer to the center of the region's population.
- Both city and suburb benefit. Cities are intended and designed to be the centers of economic activity. Suburbs are where people go to live and get away from the commotion. Brownfield development reinforces this arrangement. Greenfield development simultaneously saps cities of their vitality while destroying the peace and quiet and the landscapes of the suburbs.
The city needs to develop -- with its citizens -- and with expert advice -- a vision for the area and stick to it, to enable potential investors to determine consistency with their business plans.
The state needs to ensure that redevelopment of the Arterial does not disrupt the street grid any more than it already has -- and to consider re-establishing more of the grid. Land-locking parcels or making them difficult to get to is contrary to what a city is supposed to be.
The county needs to revise its policies to encourage more development in Utica, Rome, and the villages instead of cheer-leading sprawl. Incentives should be confined to developments where infrastructure and services are already in place and are under-utilized.
EDGE and industrial development officials need to spend more time crafting 'deals' that address the practical concerns of developing on a brownfield (eg. who will be liable for cleanup if contamination is discovered) and less on 'deals' that transfer wealth from taxpayers to developers.
If the Bossert site is redeveloped, it can be a win for everyone.