OD Today: Carl's Furniture City closing its doors.
Another loss of a taxpaying business from the City of Utica! . . . In hardscrabble West Utica no less. . .
While only Carl knows the real reason or reasons for closing his doors, the closure of his store should come as no surprise. As this blogger noted back in 2011 in a post about the Utica Common Council's seeming lack of interest in determining the true impacts of the N-S Arterial Project . . .
The Council is apparently prepared to allow huge swaths of properties to be removed from what should be in private hands and have them turned over to highway use. That guarantees that they will never be the site of economically productive activities . . . never create jobs or wealth . . . and never generate a dime of tax revenue for the financially-strapped City of Utica.This did not have to happen this way, but it was too easy to let the State do all the planning for its highway with the city just there to "tweak" the plans with suggestions on whether the retaining walls should have ivy covering them or not. The City never had a real plan for the surrounding West Utica neighborhood . . . So the State's arterial plan became West Utica's plan.
. . . no attempt is made to estimate the potential revenue loss that can be expected to result from the change in traffic patterns when Sunset Ave. and Warren St. are cut off. Businesses, such as Carl's Furniture, will lose customers when they become difficult to reach and the city will lose sales tax.
Something similar is happening in the Utica Harbor. While the new Holiday Inn Express is a lovely addition to the neighborhood and it is touted as part of the Utica Harbor development, the hotel is surrounded on three sides by a tall white privacy fence that separates it from the Harbor. The hotel developer, no doubt, looked at the location near the thruway exit and downtown and thought it was an ideal place for a hotel ... but the harbor played no role in it, otherwise why the privacy fence? At the Harbor, it looks like individual developers are doing their own planning with no overall view to relate the private developments to each other.
If the nanocenter becomes a reality, the prediction is 5,000 jobs there plus another 15,000 spinoff jobs. That represents a lot of new money and new people coming into the area. Where will they go? Will they create more cookie-cutter sprawl into Marcy, or will they come into Utica to recreate a vibrant, interesting city? These new people are the "creative class" and will naturally gravitate to a dense diverse urban environment because it is more stimulating.
If Utica is not ready with a vision where the new arrivals can see a place for themselves, they will build anew elsewhere.