There is an interesting article in the Utica Daily News that reveals that a Rescue Mission program brings released prison inmates into a Utica neighborhood.
The neighborhood is the area abutting Rutger Park -- a place of historically significant structures, the center of a an ambitious renovation project by the Landmarks Society, and the hope of many in the region as the beginning of a revival of the City of Utica itself.
How will the Rescue Mission's program affect the success of a revival? Apparently significantly. The UDN article reports that there has been a "disinvestment of the neighborhood" and a lot of "transient activity."
What is happening is exactly the opposite of what we want for Utica.
While most would understand the need for halfway houses and facilities to transition former prisoners back into society, there are too many questions in the UDN article that have yet to be answered by public officials. Because of the secretiveness of those responsible, one is left with the impression that the local facility is being used to transition dangerous prisoners who are not from Utica into our local society. This does not benefit Utica.
Who benefits? The Rescue Mission's Form 990 tells us about the organization. It is a good organization, and a needed one. However, it is also one that is run primarily by people who do not live in Utica and are not directly impacted by the organization's activities. The five corporate officers are ALL from New Hartford. The highest paid employees are from Washington Mills (New Hartford), Barneveld, and Deerfield. Of the 7 addresses listed for Board Members, only 3 are in Utica, 2 of which appear to be office addresses rather than residential ones. Perhaps the residences of those running the organization explain the lack of sensitivity to the negative impact that is being caused to Utica.
Those that do public good must also acknowledge when their activities may cause public harm, and either refrain from or relocate those activities that cause harm.