Last week the Utica Master Plan was passed 7-1 by the Common Council after a rather interesting public meeting and discussion.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Zecca had sent an e-mail with a paper touting the benefits of boulevards to advocate for passage of the Master Plan. Mr. Zecca suggested that language of the Master Plan could be used to get the State to change its design for the Arterial. As proposed now, West Utica would be split in two by the new design.
At the Council meeting, one member of the public pointed out (with page citations) that the New York State Department of Transportation in its documentation had almost verbatim lifted language out of the draft Master Plan to demonstrate that DOT's proposal complies with Utica's vision for itself.
In the ensuing discussion among the councilmen, almost everyone expressed concern over the State's plans and a desire that West Utica not be split in two. Yet, amazingly, not a single one, including Mr. Zecca, proposed that the draft Utica Master Plan be amended before its passage to call for a boulevard replacement for the Arterial.
The State has conducted many meeting on the Arterial and has heard many times that Utica residents object to the street cutoffs and the wall that will be constructed across their neighborhood. Yet the very government that supposedly represents its residents failed to take an official position on the project, although individual officials including the Mayor and head of the economic development department had expressed support for the current design in the press at various times.
Sitting there at the meeting, one could imagine such a discussion having taken place when the City decided to give up the waterworks to a regional authority. There must have been oh-so-many expressions of "concern," but in the end, they gave it away and the residents later lived to regret it.
So we stand now at the 11th hour and 59th minute to make a decision on West Utica's future. The Arterial still needs FEDERAL APPROVAL before State DOT will have the funds to build it. Does the Common Council stand up for its residents and their needs . . . or does it stand for more development in New Hartford and some alleged "regional" need?
Who represents the residents of Utica?
Where's the Common Council resolution calling for a change in the State's plans?