Sunday, February 28, 2010

What Else Can Be Said? . . .

How can anyone in their right mind place a higher value on someone's "business plan" than their actual financial track record?

Amazingly, the "clique" that has been running the County for the last 20 years, including the County Executive, EDGE, and most of the County Legislature, are brazenly portraying the millions of local tax dollars squandered on Griffiss as money well spent. . . .

It was not. Empire Aero, and the politically engineered Homeland Security Training Center, were merely pretexts to justify moving the Oneida County Airport from Whitestown to Rome ... and reaping in Millions in Federal aviation funds in the process.

What and Where has the County Clique gotten us?
  • An airport that is far too big for our needs that will be a financial albatross around our necks for another generation.
  • A violation of environmental laws that will cost the people of the Greater Utica area millions for another generation.
  • A violation of an old agreement that led to an expensive lawsuit that has led to a cap on Greater Utica's water supply at 1970 levels, perhaps lasting forever.
Amateurs have been making a nice living running the show. They need to be fired or resign before they can do more damage.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Utica County Legislators & EDGE . . .

County legislature OKs EDGE funding :

Oneida County legislators voted 25-3 on Wednesday night to approve the county’s 2010 payment of about $375,000 to Mohawk Valley EDGE.

Legislators Brian Mandryck, R-Lee; Michael Hennessy, D-Sherrill; and Frank Tallarino, D-Rome, voted against the funding.

I don't get it. Last week 9 Utica County Legislators signed a letter urging EDGE to locate its office in Utica - - - and now, not one of them voted to withhold funding from EDGE pending EDGE answering questions. What was the whole point of the letter? EDGE obviously has ignored the Utica area and exercised incredibly poor judgment in bringing in Empire Aero.

It seems like legislators from Sherrill, Rome and Lee are doing a better job representing the interests of the citizens of Greater Utica than Utica area legislators!

5PM Update-
Larry has his take and more info on this here and here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Bad News . .

WKTV: Covidien closing; 185 employees being laid off
Covidien in Oriskany Falls is closing their doors, leaving 185 full-time workers without a job . . .
All local operations are moving to existing Covidien plants in Massachusetts and Georgia.
WKTV: Daimler Buses: 27 to be laid off at Orion Bus
The company says the layoffs are a result of many factors, including the overall economic downturn.
Only massive, drastic changes (downsizing) in our state and local governments will enable Upstate New York to be competitive again. How much longer are we going to wait?

If We're Gonna Do Hi-Speed Rail . . .

We could at least do it right . . .

The French TGV . . . Extrêmement spectaculaire!

Or . . .

The Japanese Maglev!

Now these speeds are game changers!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Herkimer County Dumps EDGE!

From the Little Falls Times: Herkimer County IDA hires marketing firm
The IDA Board of Directors voted to accept a proposal from Casale Public Affairs, of Cooperstown, to provide marketing and public affairs services...

. . . Casale Public Affairs was the only firm that offered to provide marketing and public affairs services. The firm also agreed to represent the IDA exclusively to avoid conflict with other clients and interests . . .
Herkimer County finally wised up and recognized EDGE's problem!

Utica-Rome Metro (Oneida and Herkimer Counties) has three major areas of population concentration and economic activity: (1) Rome, (2) Greater Utica and (3) Southern Herkimer County. While there is some cross-between, they are relatively distinct from each other, with separate infrastructure issues, separate media outlets, and separate perceptions of "downtown."

A slave cannot serve two masters. EDGE was assigned to serve three . . . but, as could be expected, only did justice for one. This is the problem with "regionalization" and "consolidation" as practiced here. It cannot work without a merger of entities into one.

At least Herkimer County can free itself of the EDGE albatross. Unfortunately for Greater Utica, Oneida County will continue to take from Greater Utica to give to EDGE which will serve Rome.

(For more commentary on EDGE, check out Larry's post on Gotham City.)

Moving EDGE to Utica . . .

From UDN: County and city officials work to give EDGE Utica presence.
Utica officials have been making overtures to Mohawk Valley EDGE, in an effort to further consolidate its services with the city's. . . .

. . . nine members representing Utica on the Oneida County Board of Legislators signed a letter dated Jan. 14, urging EDGE to locate its office in Utica. . . .

[Former Utica Mayor] Julian acknowledged that his administration has worked with EDGE in the past, but he said that the way the company's contract is constructed may make it difficult for it to turn focus away from Griffis Business Park.

"They make money off of the leases of the buildings in the base," he said. "They're not going to make money off a lease at Bossert (Manufacturing) or any of these other sites available in the City of Utica."
So now the reason for EDGE's focus on Rome is clear: it makes money off the leases in Griffiss Park. But why does this lease money go to EDGE? How was this set up? And why was it set up this way? Why does the lease money not go to the County? Who now owns Griffiss Park?

Although a large share of EDGE's support appears to be from the lease money, this must be regarded as County money, not EDGE's.

EDGE would not exist but for the County . . . and most of the county's residents are located Greater Utica.

So, in effect, industrial development in Rome -- including installation of "public art" to decorate Griffiss -- has been at the expense of Greater Utica residents.

If this were merely about jobs, and healthy and fair competition between Utica and Rome, it wouldn't be so bad. People can drive from Utica to Rome to work. But it is about more than that. It is about sprawl and who is subsidizing it.

EDGE has let the old Whitestown airport industrial park languish. It has done virtually nothing for old industrial sites in Utica and the surrounding villages. So as EDGE "created" jobs in Rome -- at the expense of Greater Utica -- it encouraged them to leave Greater Utica. People have to drive farther to work. Many people will relocate to be closer to work. The entire urban system is encouraged to spread out, requiring more energy to operate and more infrastructure to maintain. . . which requires higher levels of taxes.

EDGE's main office in Utica? If we don't disband EDGE for incompetence (the foreseeable Empire Aero situation being only the latest example) , I'm all for moving EDGE lock stock and barrel to the County Seat in Utica . . . But not without a close examination and restructuring of all its ties and subsidiary corporations that led to its Rome focus. There is an odor there that needs investigation.  

Monday, February 15, 2010

Commissioning Failure: "Regionalization" in New Hartford

Today's OD article, How Code 31 transformed New Hartford policing, gives the history behind the creation of the New Hartford Police Commission.
Thirty years ago, a scandal over a list of town officials and prominent Republicans who police were told not to ticket led to the indictment of the town’s then-supervisor, the ouster of its police chief and the dissolution of the town police department.

It also resulted in the creation of the Police Commission, which was abolished Wednesday by the Town Board.

. . . It was formed to bring professionalism to the force, to keep politics out of policing and to restore public trust . . .

. . . In the old town department, officers were not required to go to academy, civil service laws were not followed . . . .
Abuse of governmental authority, the lack of training and professionalism, and the failure to follow civil service laws are all the result of having the wrong people in charge. Simply, the Town of New Hartford's government had become corrupt. However, the people of New Hartford fixed the situation in the election that followed. There was no need for a commission to address the "Code 31" situation.
At the time the commission was created, the village also allowed the town to take over its own police department.

“Under our law, it states it will be run by a police commission,” Ryan said, referring to the police department. The village had a representative on the Police Commission.
According to the OD Article, the Village was the entity that had the professionally run police department. In contrast, the Town's police were using their personal vehicles while on duty. In a way, that situation should have been expected. Since the Village had a denser population, it could afford a higher quality police force. But the Town wanted what the Village had -- and it convinced the Village to meld into a Town police force by promising the Village a seat on an appointed Police Commission that would be focused on police matters (believing that a commission would make the police more professional).

The "regionalization" of the NH Police could have resulted in Village residents subsidizing Town policing or experiencing a decline in the quality of police service. It did not, probably because the Town was able to expand its tax base fast enough to afford professionalizing its police. However, similar to the "regionalized" water board with unelected members, creation of the Police Commission resulted in governance focused on one task, insulated from the people paying the bills, and without the ability or responsibility to prioritize its functioning among competing needs that had to be addressed by local government.

The Police Commission, dependent on the Police Department for information, over time could be expected to become an "alter ego" of the Police Department. Some would call it an "old boys club." Now it's understandable why the police felt they could make private deals with private businesses, why they constantly demanded newer cars and equipment, why they demanded a courthouse "reflecting the town's affluence," why their budget became bloated, and why there was an over-abundance of speed traps on state and county highways where the State Police or the Sheriff could have patrolled those roads. The Police Commission allowed the Police Department to place the Department's needs and desires above the needs of the tax paying public.

The Commission has outlived its usefulness. It is time for the taxpayers to have control.

 - - - 

Cathy at NH Online has an in-depth review of the Code 31 situation that is well worth reading.

PS Cath -- The yellow roses and diamonds (virtual of course) are on their way. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The End of the Double O's, the Decade of Broken Promises

The New Millenium dawned in Utica with hopeful anticipation. The city had not looked as good in years, with new landscaping in the parks, along the Parkway, on Genesee Street, and around City Hall. The City Center building had tenants on the ground floor, including a place to eat. Boarded up anchors of Downtown, the Adirondack Bank Building and the Hotel Utica, were going to be renovated and reopened. A marina facility was going to be constructed along the canal in North Utica, and a new recreation center and ski chalet were to be constructed at the Parkway. New Hartford had just completed plans for a Town operated business park that was going to provide sites for manufacturing -- meeting a regional need because space for such in Utica was limited.

A redevelopment plan was released in 2001 for Harbor Point and Utica's waterfront area. Late 2001 saw announcement of the "Center for Brownfield Studies" to be created by a consortium of Niagara Mohawk and several local colleges. A physical presence for the new institution was promised for the Harbor Point and downtown areas.

After much public controversy, a site in Marcy was announced as "shovel ready" for a computer chip fabrication plant, part of a series of such sites planned by New York State to position itself as a global center of high technology. The Marcy site was expected to eventually draw a "chip-fab" that would create hundreds of well-paying jobs and inject millions of dollars into the local economy.

In the early '00s a new highway was in the works to connect Route 8 south of Utica to Judd Road. It was expected to relieve traffic congestion in New York Mills, provide easier access from Utica and New Hartford to the Oneida County Airport in Whitestown, and to grow jobs at its Industrial Park.

The early '00s also saw the Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Board's decision to rid itself of what was considered an unnecessary asset, the Gray Dam. The Board decided that it was more cost effective to destroy the dam than to spend money to repair it. Additionally, in carrying out its perceived mission to supply water to those who wanted it, it entered into an agreement to supply water to the Town of Verona and the Turning Stone Casino.

Things were looking up for the Utica City School District in the early '00s with "The Millenium Project," a $37 million remake of Proctor High School into four smaller "schools within a school," each with its own career theme and staff. The smaller school configuration was expected to bring a "more personalized" education experience to the students. "Links" would be forged between the schools and the business community, with "job shadowing" opportunities expected to lead to jobs waiting for the students upon graduation. Utica schools also were implementing the "Safe Schools/Healthy Students Intiative," intended to improve the safety and health of students.

September, 2002, brought the launch of the "Griffiss Institute for Information Assurance" that was going to "establish Rome as a national center of research and economic development in the field of information security—bringing new high-tech jobs and private sector investment to the Mohawk Valley," according to the then-governor.

However, before the early '00s were over, there were signs that things were not living up to their promise. With little public notice or opportunity for input, the early '00s saw open spaces in Utica parks carved up by fences and populated by ugly concrete dugouts, turned into dedicated ball fields for certain groups. Parts of Proctor Park and the Parkway ski hill became dumps for broken concrete and pavement, which were covered over with soil and grass that changed the landscape. The “Safe Schools” program was implemented using public funds but controlled by a private corporation formed after a series of closed-door executive sessions by the Utica School Board. The program used the school system to collect data about students and their families in order to target “services” to them by “partnering” not-for-profit agencies. The "Center for Brownfield Studies," although it at one point claimed that it had 100 students who were already studying at various institutions, it was, itself, nowhere to be found. Both the new marina facility and Parkway center cost much more than originally anticipated, and the facilities constructed were inadequate for some of their announced uses. Additionally, a HUD audit found both projects to have missed their job-creation targets and misspent federal monies. The Marcy "shovel-ready chip-fab" site drew no interest while, at the same time, a site near Albany that was still on the drawing board and had (at that time) an inadequate water supply attracted visitors from several companies. It was about this time that EDGE placed on hold its application for an Army Core of Engineers wetlands permit -- a prerequisite to any construction on the Marcy site. Also about this time the Oneida County Airport, after having air service for decades and having hosted the headquarters of two regional airlines, lost all scheduled passenger service.

The mid-'00s brought evidence that earlier initiatives were not living up to their hype, but, also, more promises of improvements. The anticipated crossroads of what is now route 840 with Commercial Drive attracted "big-box" retail development to New Hartford and brought with it a lot of traffic congestion. This also shifted the center of regional retail transactions out of Utica and into New Hartford. Additionally, the new developments in the area brought environmental problems, specifically storm-water and sewer issues. In early 2006 the US EPA noticed that sewer pipes from new developments were tied into a combined sewer overflow and were spilling raw sewage into the Mohawk River during heavy rains. Likely lured by an expectation of access to 840, a private developer took over the New Hartford Business Park and, somehow, the manufacturing mission of the park's original concept got lost.

The Millennium Project opened, but it did not go smoothly. After spending millions, facilities at the new stadium were found to be inadequate, student scheduling was a problem, and textbooks were in short supply. Every year seemed to bring new configurations of grades, administrations, and purposes.

By the mid-00s, it was clear that the Griffiss Institute (GI) was never going to produce "world-class" anything, much less than research. Review of Form 990s revealed that most of the money GI received went for administrative fees. The "Chief Scientist" that was hired from Cornell returned to Cornell and took with him the GI concept with plans to implement it there. The GI mission changed from research to education, and later it morphed into a business "incubator." It produced little more than an expensive symposium at its kickoff, and, later, some some summer jobs for disadvantaged youth.

Not wanting to maintain two airports, the County had decided to spend millions of available federal funds to move the now passenger-less airport to the former air base in Rome. The larger runways there were expected to be a draw for business to the Griffiss industrial park. Indeed, with the intercession of Senator Schumer, the Rome Facility by the mid-'00s did land (with much fanfare) a major job-producing tenant, Empire Aero. The County soon borrowed $2 million to build an aircraft maintenance training center in Rome for MVCC -- or was it for Empire Aero? No plans had been made for the old Oneida County Airport in Whitestown, but, seemingly by magic, at the end of 2005 the old airport was picked to be the site of the new New York State Homeland Security Training Center. This promised to transform the economy by bringing a steady flow of first-responder students into the area for training. By early 2006, destruction of the Whitestown air terminal had commenced.

The mid-'00s also saw the wisdom of the now Mohawk Valley Water Authority's decisions to destroy Gray Dam and expand to Verona called into question. Destruction of the dam violated the agreement under which MVWA was permitted to draw water from the Canal Corporation's Hinckley Reservoir (its sole water source). Canal Corporation wanted tribute, an expensive law suit (paid for by water users) ensued, and all expansions of the system were put on hold.

Two Thousand Six finally saw some interest at the Marcy Chip-Fab site by AMD -- and also saw the State offering a billion dollars of incentives for the plant to go to Albany. Through some quick thinking by Mrs. Destito, she was able to get the State to make a similar commitment for Marcy. However, by then it was pretty obvious that politics was ruling the decision making and that we were going to come up on the short end of the stick. After the Luther Forest site was picked, the lack of a wetlands permit was cited as one reason why we lost the competition. Seemingly as a "consolation prize," our area was picked as the site of a "state data center."

The end of the '00s finds this area with more promises -- another computer chip related facility for Marcy, and a high-speed railroad across New York -- but also some significant concerns. New Hartford has discovered that all the growth it promoted has associated costs, and it is about to send its residents a huge tax increase. The Business Park in New Hartford only moved jobs from one part of the town to another -- but will saddle taxpayers with significant infrastructure costs and, perhaps, unmitigated environmental impacts. Regional population has continued to plummet. Businesses continue to pack up and leave for friendlier climes. Fewer people require higher taxes to maintain governments designed for greater populations.

The sewer problem caused by suburban development will cost $158 million to fix and could, conceivably, cause some communities to go bankrupt. Utica has a separate sewer project that is due to cost almost that amount again, which does not bode well for Utica's future solvency. With federal funds almost gone, the large "international" airport in Rome has turned into an albatross, sucking up huge amounts of county taxes to redo facilities that were already in place in Whitestown – where we had a facility that was sized "just right" for our region. Jobs that depended on air service in Whitestown have left entirely. The Water Authority has just been handed a decision that caps the amount of water that the region may take from Hinckley to what was consumed around 1970 -- leaving little room for "growth" or unforeseen circumstances. In spite of this court-imposed limitation, the MVWA insists on spreading the little we have further into new areas to serve new customers, jeopardizing a sufficient supply for the currently developed area. Capping off the '00s, it was announced by the State this past month that we will not be getting the promised “data center.”

Looking back on the "Double-Os" decade reveals that the broken promises that had raised our hopes were all government promises. This should make us realize that the government alone cannot solve our problems. We, the people, need to take the lead during the decade of the "'10s" in creating our own solutions and to have government work with us to put our solutions into effect.

[This article appeared in the January 2010 Utica Phoenix. Be sure to pick up the February 2010 Phoenix to read "Is Now the Time for The Municipality of Greater Utica"]

No Let Up . . .

NH Online's ongoing antagonism on the transparency issue is getting onerous! Since I am not as . . . ahem . . . long-winded as my learned opposition (my original post was about 5 lines long) I will ignore the implication that I am lazy by not having attended the last board meeting and confine myself to one key point (quoting from her blog quoting me and her response):
Strike wrote that I said:
Supervisor Tyksinski could have discussed the topic during executive session and then merely come out of executive session to adopt the resolution after the public left . . .
And Strike replied:
Oh really? And under what provision of the Open Meetings Law would such a discussion in executive session have fallen?
My answer:
under section 105-f. the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
My response to the above, of course, is that a discussion of the Police Commission is NOT a discussion of "a particular person or corporation" (emphasis supplied).

There! Short and to the point!

Friday, February 12, 2010

To Err Is Human; To Blog...Divine!

To err is human; to blog...divine! Cathy at NH On-Line responds to my Good and Bad post.
Strike, we feel that Supervisor Tyksinski was as transparent as he needed to be given the circumstances; it really is a town board's prerogative to abolish the commission; input from the public is not required.
Of course this was prerogative and input from the public is not required. It's not required for a lot of things that the Town does. But just because it's not required does not mean that it is not expected. We were promised transparency. We expected transparency. We did not get transparency.
Supervisor Tyksinski could have discussed the topic during executive session and then merely come out of executive session to adopt the resolution after the public left . . .

Oh really? And under what provision of the Open Meetings Law would such a discussion in executive session have fallen?
[He] even gave people in attendance a chance to speak. Actually, since this was not a public hearing, he didn't really even need to acknowledge comments from the audience; but he did.

Wow! Perhaps we should be impressed with his magnanimity. But what good does it do for the public to have an opportunity to speak when it had almost no notice that this issue was even being considered?
No, Strike, the decision needed to be made last night so the town can move forward.
No decision "needed to be made last night." The Police Commission was created over 20 years ago for certain reasons. Obviously no one bothered revisit those reasons because there was no time to research them. Since the decision was made this week without knowing those facts, and without time to reflect upon them, the Town Board cannot have known if it is just trading a present problem for a past one. In trying to "move forward," the Town may have stepped back 20 years.
Obviously, for too many years, the fox have been guarding the hen house. That came to an end at last night's town board meeting. Now we will truly have transparency when it comes to the Police Department because the people in charge will have to answer to the people that pay the bills.
And on the above, Cathy and I can agree!

The Prisoners Among Us . . .

An eye-opening article was posted in the Sentinel a few days ago: Prisoners are 2 percent of Oneida County population . From figures presented in the same article, prisoners make up over 6.5% of the population of Rome and . . . 

Almost 29% of the Town of Marcy!

Is this really the direction that we want to travel?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Good and the Bad ...

The Good: New Hartford Town Board eliminates Police Commission.

The Police Commission was too "in bed" with the Police Department to be effective as a watchdog . . . with out of control costs and the commitment of Town resources via agreements with private businesses the result. The Commission had to go.

The Bad: New Hartford Town Board eliminates Police Commission with no advanced notice or opportunity for public input.

So much for the new "transparency" that was promised.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Bite Out of the Budget . . .

Per the OD: Dentists sink their teeth into new dental program for children .
A child sits in the dentist's chair when ...
a magician walked into the room and showed Thomas how he can turn a red ball black and how to turn torn up paper into a solid piece of paper.

A smile then came across the youngster’s face when asked again whether he liked going to the dentist. . . .

The program was made possible part of a Preventative Dentistry grant given to Faxton-St. Luke’s from the New York State Department of Health.
Children don't need to be entertained to go to the dentist . . . and taking care of teeth is the family's responsibility ... not the state's.

The state should take care of its own responsibilities... not ours... Take a bite out of the state budget (and get the government out of our hair) by eliminating such nanny programs.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Knowingly Permitting Pollution . . .

From New Hartford Online Blog: "It seems we've heard this song before" . . . The song was an "oldie" but not a "goodie." The post makes clear that both the County and the Town knew of the problems with their sewers at least 10 years before the Consent Order was signed but did nothing.

But the situation is worse than just dilly-dallying on solving a problem. Per a 3/20/1997 letter from DEC to the Town planner:
The connection of yet another 141 dwelling units (Applewood) to the wastewater system tributary to the Oneida County Sewer District's Sauquoit Creek Pumping Station will continue to compound the severity of the wet weather flow condition at the station.
Translation: Government knew it was permitting an increase in the amount of sanitary waste being dumped into the river when it allowed new developments to connect to the system.

Why were the new connections allowed when it was known that the system could not properly handle the additional waste?

Answer that question and you will know who is responsible for our sewer mess and who should pay to fix it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

N. H.'s Concrete Shoes & Blues . . .

From the OD: Firm closing, Madden Concrete owner blames town policies
One of the businesses on Campion Road, a major gateway to the town, is closing its doors. Madden Concrete and Masonry Supply is for sale. . . .

. . . But Madden also slammed New Hartford officials for failing to keep development going so construction-oriented businesses like his could survive.

“Town government destroyed development in New Hartford with restrictions and taxes,” he said. “Inept government really took for granted that no matter what the Planning Board requirements were that New Hartford was somehow blessed to the point that development would continue no matter what.”

This guy makes it sound like N. H. put concrete shoes on his business!

While I agree with Mr. Madden that taxes are a big problem, I disagree that it is a Town function to "to keep development going so construction-oriented businesses like his could survive." This reveals a sense of entitlement among some NH elite that government must be run in a way that suits their needs, while those of everyone else can go to hell.

The problem with New Hartford is that for many years it DID try "to keep development going". This created the need for more public infrastructure and services that town residents -- including Mr. Madden -- can no longer afford to pay for with taxes.

New Hartford's policies that favored development and certain businesses ultimately created the need for taxation that will kill both.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Delta Dam Electricity for the City

For the City of Watervliet that is . . .

Watervliet has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build what it estimates will be an $8 million plant. It has applied to the state for $12.5 million in federal stimulus money, but there has been no action on the request yet, according to Gleason.

The project would include the existing 1,016-foot long, 76-foot high dam owned by the state Canal Corp., Lake Delta’s existing 2,700-acre impoundment, a proposed powerhouse containing two generators with a total capacity of 5 megawatts, a proposed 1,000-foot long, 13.2-kilovolt underground generator lead, and appurtenant facilities.

The capacity of 5 megawatts is the maximum amount of energy that can be generated at any one time. That’s enough to power 5,000 homes.

Isn't it embarrassing that Rome isn't doing this? Or Oneida County??

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Where is Utica's NYS-Sponsored Business Campus?

If you've traveled to Albany to do business with the State, chances are at one time or another you found yourself on what is called the "Harriman Campus" -- an area of spaced out state office buildings in the western part of the city. Those buildings have become old and the campus has become old. But as the Albany Business Journal points out, things are changing:

State releases Columbia Development plans for Harriman campus
The state is targeting 140 of the Harriman campus’ 330 acres for redevelopment; the remainder will continue to be used by state agencies that employ 7,300 people.
Among the redevelopment plans:

• up to 700,000 square feet of new private-sector office space and R&D facilities, along with renovations to existing campus buildings for private-sector tenants

• a hotel with at least 110 rooms, a restaurant and banquet facility and up to 40,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. The site would have room for an expansion adding up to 90 more rooms and up to a 50 percent increase in meeting space.

• 80 to 100 units of upscale townhouses and condominiums

• 20 acres to be sold to the University at Albany

• two locations for retail stores

Utica has a "state campus" of aging buildings of sorts in West Utica: The old Utica (now Central New York) Psychiatric Center.

At one time this campus was a major jobs center - - - and it anchored the entire West Utica neighborhood. However, following deinstitutionalization of many patients there, many jobs evaporated. In a mini-version of urban sprawl, large older buildings became abandoned while smaller buildings (with fewer jobs) were constructed on vacant parcels.

But the campus in general looks like a disaster. Buildings have broken windows or are boarded up. The multistory imposing Brigham Building sits vacant, deteriorating. And all this has had a direct impact on West Utica. The neighborhood now looks like the state campus. . . . deteriorating.

The city has sat idly by for 30 years while this went on. That has to change. And the state needs to clean up its act.

If the state can come up with a plan for mixing private facilities with the state facilities in Albany it can do the same here. The Brigham Building looks like it could be reused. . . . offices? nursing home? condos? Some of the other buildings have interesting architectural details and may be reusable as well. And there is a lot of vacant land.

Redevelopment of the Utica Psych campus could return jobs to the neighborhood and stabilize it.

But Utica must demand it.