Yes, you can feel it in the air. There is a new sense of hope in Utica for a brighter future. It has been a long time coming . . . and it is a good thing!
Per the OD today, a HUD official says that Utica could be the next Raleigh-Durham! The official, Mr. Forero out of the Albany HUD office, pointed to Utica's population statistics and noted that they were similar to Raleigh-Durham, NC, one of the country's fastest growing cities.
Comparing ourselves to our competitors to see how we measure up is a good thing. It shows us where we are strong, and where we need improvement. The fact that Utica has a young demographic like Raleigh-Durham gives hope for the future.
But will these young people stay here?
How does Utica compare to Raleigh-Durham by other measures? Are its taxes as low as Raleigh-Durham? Are its utility costs as low as Raleigh-Durham? Does a "Right to Work" law prevail like in Raleigh-Durham? Are Utica's demographics the product of people flocking to Utica for employment opportunities like in Raleigh-Durham, or are they due to the importation of people from areas of strife in other parts of the world?
Utica needs to be able to answer these questions honestly, to know some of the changes it needs to make to actually become the next Raleigh-Durham.
In so far as listening to Federal HUD officials, if the Federal Government was not spreading around millions of tax dollars (OUR tax dollars), should anyone actually listen to these people? The Federal Government is the source of the "20% Affordable Housing" requirement for new housing developments found in the Utica Master Plan . . . a requirement in a city already known for the affordability of its housing stock . . . and in a city that desperately needs Upscale housing to bring in tax revenue to sustain city services.
Utica is turning around through private efforts . . . and does not need Big Government to mess things up!