Why hasn’t there been more public discussion and disclosure?This is the excuse for not involving the public in deciding to impose a significant change on Downtown. It is also a mischaracterization. The project decision does need public approval as revealed in the remainder of that paragraph:
As a private, nonprofit organization, the health system does not need public approval for its decision to build a hospital or its decision where to put it...
. . .It will, however, need planning and zoning approvals as well as county and/or city cooperation for any accommodations it might need, such as the closing of local roads.Planning, zoning, street closures, "accommodations," etc., apparently are minor annoyances to the proponents of the plan, but are the points where the public has a direct interest and is why the public should have been brought into this process from the very beginning. This proposal is totally inconsistent with the Utica Master Plan's vision of a mixed-use, small scale development, "walkable" Downtown -- a plan that was duly adopted by the public's representatives after many public hearings. No doubt the Downtown hospital idea will now be pushed through the public bodies making required decisions (following a bunch of "window dressing" "public hearings") as an "all or nothing at all" proposition with individual board members pressured not to stand in the way of $300 Million.
Why do we need a new hospital when we have three?So, really, the hospital is not "needed" which makes it a "want" rather than a "need." That makes a Downtown hospital even more a "want" rather than a "need."
Need is a relative term and it’s not certain that a new hospital is needed...
This raises the question WHO "wants" a Downtown Hospital?
Health system officials and their consultants considered 12 sites – three in the city – but will not release the list. They also have declined comment on any sites other than downtown and St. Luke’s. They did say that the other two sites in Utica were not determined to be suitable and were not put before the health system board.If the health system board only was presented with two sites for consideration, then it was the health system "officials" and their "consultants" who restricted the board's consideration of sites. Who are the "officials," who are the "consultants" . . . and, perhaps more importantly, who are their connections?
Come on O-D. There is a golden opportunity for some real journalism here. Don't take at face value and merely report what you hear from the "officials" involved.
Someone originated the idea of a new hospital, Someone originated the idea as being ripe for state funding, and Someone originated the idea of putting it Downtown.
Exposing the Someones and the complete chain of events will expose who really pulls the strings in Utica and the region.