Our view: Improve Utica by changing the mindset
AT ISSUE: No room in Cornell plan for Debbie Downer and Gloomy Gus
Yet for a good half-century, too many Uticans have wallowed in negativity, repeating like a mantra a series of truths, half-truths and mistruths that remain detrimental to the city’s image. You’ve heard them all. It was a mob town. . . .
Who has a fixation on Utica's mob past? Certainly not the people living in Utica, most of whom were not even born when those things happened. Certainly not the new immigrants . . . Oh, I know . . . It is the local newspaper that periodically dredges up 50-year-old mob stories on the thinnest pretext . . .
Cities that have barely half their former population need to downsize — getting rid of empty but once-beloved eyesores and corralling growth and commerce into areas where services are easy to provide.If mean that, OD, then lets bulldoze Sangertown Mall which is showing signs of age and "corral" retail back into Utica where the services have always been easy to provide. And lets bulldoze that arterial too . . . That way we could "corral" Uticans into shopping in their own city. But, of course, you don't mean that, OD . . . That would require your suburban friends to give up some things.
Just how does the OD expect Utica to pay for the corralling? And what about the infrastructure already in place? Should we throw it away (while extending more infrastructure into New Hartford)? And what about the loss to Utica's tax base that will occur? Is New Hartford offering to make up for the lost tax base? The OD would have Utica dig its own grave before forcing it to jump in and burying it.
When your family grows and relocates, it’s still family. Until we embrace a more regional attitude, we’ll continue to sputter in our own little corners.Why is every OD directive to Utica coupled with a "regional attitude" theme?
Utica has done more than embrace the regional attitude. It ponied up with money and assets. It gave the suburbs its water system, its sewer system, and paid half the acquisition costs of land for the road that gets people there. Utica residents in their water and sewer rates still subsidize the cost of the extra miles of water and sewer pipes needed to transport water and wastewater to and from the suburbs because the authorities insist that everyone must pay the same rates. Uticans even pay to pump water uphill to allow development on the hills in New Hartford ... but New Hartfordans don't pay more. Why is that? Uticans paid for half of the study to solve the sewer consent order problem -- a problem created by suburban development -- and will pay for a quarter of the 180 million dollar solution.
For years and years, well-heeled people who could well afford to pay Utica taxes took advantage of Utica's offerings but escaped paying by moving across the municipal line. That forced the fewer people left behind to pay more -- and made Utica less affordable to newcomers. If we really are a "family," then the spoiled bratty suburban kids need to grow up and stop hitting grandma up for more while she lies on her deathbed. The suburbs need to share what they have.
A Regional Attitude is NOT lacking in Utica. It's lacking in the suburbs. . . . and in the editorial board of the Observer-Dispatch.