WOW! The headline suggested Utica may be coming back. Then I read the story . . .
"The construction of a six-story, roughly $10 million downtown apartment building is among a series of ambitious projects the Utica Municipal Housing Authority plans to undertake soon, officials from the agency said.. . . "Another government-paid-for project! That's sort of like buying self-esteem, isn't it? The city cannot get private investors to do this, so it gets the taxpayers to do it instead. Oh, I know, these are Federal Dollars rather than local, but we pay for them anyway.
"It would include both subsidized and market rate apartments."That sounds like public housing! The city just spent millions to bulldoze (rather than renovate) another public housing project, Washington Courts, only a few blocks away . . . Now it wants to build more public housing? I would like to think that city officials learned a lesson from what they already did: that doing away with Washington Courts killed the market for a downtown drug store which everyone now misses. . . But somehow I don't think that even played a role.
"The building would be built on top of the Kennedy parking garage near City Hall."Now THAT REALLY got my attention. Maybe my memory is failing (so someone please correct me if I'm wrong), but weren't we told during the last administration at about the time that Utica National was looking to locate some offices Downtown that the Kennedy Parking Garage could not support a structure on top? I remember that it was designed back in the 1960s to support an office tower -- a six story tower at that. I thought we were told that the existing structure had deteriorated over the years and could no longer support a tower?
Anyway, assuming the structure is sound, why the change in use from office to apartments? There is a huge municipal housing development already there, right next door. It seems to be too much of one use in the same location. Also, how many people would want to actually LIVE RIGHT ON THE City Hall Plaza where numerous public events are held? I might enjoy the symphony from my balcony, but I wouldn't want to be subjected to heavy metal if I want to go to bed early. The original intent was for an office building, and that would seem to be the best use for the site.
But, of course, there would be no Federal Dollars for an office structure, now would there?
So I guess area residents will just have to put up with a misplaced use that will detract from, rather than enhance, both the City Hall Plaza and the residential structure itself.
Where is the Master Plan in all this nonsense, anyway?
To me, this is just more of the Same Old, Same Old around here -- a grab at some Federal Money -- which will make some individuals rich . . . but saddle the public with something that is not going to work very well.