Utica officials have been making overtures to Mohawk Valley EDGE, in an effort to further consolidate its services with the city's. . . .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?
. . . 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."
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.