Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Pig in a Poke . . .

The City of Utica is being threatened: "Warning to city: No garage, no new hospital"
“If there’s no garage, there’s no downtown hospital,” Steve DiMeo, president of Mohawk Valley EDGE, told Utica Common Council members at a meeting of the Economic Development Committee Monday.
As yet no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Downtown Hospital has been produced.

The Downtown Hospital is not only in material conflict with the Utica Master Plan and various pieces of legislation over the years that established the community's character, it will open a whole Pandora's box of impacts that may make the Downtown site for the new hospital unpalatable.  Will sanitary sewers and water lines designed to handle loads from a grid of small customers be able to handle the load from one or two large users?  Will existing storm sewers be able to handle the quick runoff from acres of new parking lots? Will hazards to human health be created by the destruction of many old buildings? Will the blockage of streets create traffic congestion, air pollution, and inconvenience for people not going to the hospital -- and possibly lead to business decline and blight elsewhere? Will the change in land use from tax-paying small businesses to tax-exempt large institution make city services financially unsustainable? What will happen to the two hospital sites that will be left behind? Will they become blighted like the Psych Center did? Who will pay to mitigate the various adverse impacts? City taxpayers? Water users? Sewer users?  An EIS now will help to answer these questions.

Asking the City to make a decision on the garage now without an EIS is asking it to make a decision blind.

MVHS' "back up" site at St. Lukes has plenty of room for the new hospital in spite of a small federally-regulated wetland.  Numerous large construction projects have occurred over the years there with no disruption in hospital services. No change in community character will occur by constructing the new hospital there, and no businesses will be booted out. There will be no loss in tax base. No streets will be blocked. Considering that there has been a decline in beds at St. Luke's, adding the activity currently at St. Elizabeth's would appear to be only an incremental increase in use over what had previously been at St. Luke's.  Simply put: the St. Luke's site is practically "shovel ready."  It makes no sense to put the new hospital elsewhere.

The Downtown Hospital is a "Pig in a Poke" -- and the taxpayers and water/sewer rate payers will be left holding the bag.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

100% agree. Take note of who put all this in place: Anthony Brindisi.

It has his fingerprints all over it.

I'm not even for a 'new' hospital, but if we are to have one, Champlin Ave is the most logical place.

Take note of how much bonding the county has done in the last few years: Marcy, the Aud, 80 parking spaces next to the county office building at $50,000 a space and so on. The rate for the rent at one of the Marcy buildings will take a thousand years to pay off. Guess who pays in the meantime.

Now it's $50-ish million for a parking garage or no downtown hospital.

Ok, no downtown hospital. By the time Picente and his stooges on the board are finished borrowing (probably never), you will view your tax bill now as the good old days.

Greens and Beans said...

The Mohawk Valley cannot afford the cost of placing the new tax-exempt hospital where it displaces tax producing businesses. Moreover, adding a tax-exempt parking garage will not only displace taxpaying property, but add an additional financial burden to maintain the facility.

Several years ago, the downtown parking meters in Utica, NY were taken down in order to promote downtown business. The fact was wisely realized that the public would rather pay more for goods and services at the shopping malls and shopping centers than rather take the chance of getting an expensive parking ticket for forgetting to return to their cars in order to feed the parking meters. Once shoppers are stung by a parking ticket fine, they shy away from conducting business in that area for a long time. And in this case, Utica's government officials noted that many shoppers and diners chose to abandon Downtown Utica all together.

Like it or not, the fact is that Upstate New York residents resent having to pay to park their vehicles. Regardless of how the obviously bias legislation has been written to subsidize the City of Utica, this is why the public sees that the Saint Luke's Hospital Campus is the logical place for any new hospital. Besides is there any history in other metropolitan areas have benefitted from meaningful economic development that has been fueled by the building of a small hospital? All one needs to do is look at York Avenue in Manhattan, where there is fifteen major hospital and medical facilities, but really no major economical development in the area. The nearest subway station is several blocks away on Lennox Avenue at Hunter College.

Anonymous said...

So, the taxpayer is to pay for a garage along with the $300 million? And, who pays if estimates are wrong? And, who is going to pay for all of the business acquisitions and court awards? Add to this taxpayer blank check the empty properties like St. E's that will be a cost and a blight for decades, at least. A tribe of chimps could design a better approach than the downtown hospital. Yet people here sit back and watch. Steve DiMeo will always be pushing projects to keep his gig alive. EDGE sure does not earn its money bringing new industry in.

Strikeslip said...

Anonymous 213, you are so right. EDGE has made a cottage industry out of moving things from point A to point B to soak up grant money with the excuse of "economic development." It has become expert at creating developments that are nothing more than urban sprawl with lots of public infrastructure but little tax-paying population or business density to maintain it. If you wonder why your taxes and user fees always go up, look at all the new pavement, miles of pipes sewers and runways, new terminals parking lots and filtration plants our DECLINING population is supposed to maintain. The Downtown Hospital will be EDGE's "Crowning Glory" and, if allowed to go through, a fitting cap on Mr. DiMeo's career of sticking it to Utica's taxpayers while somehow getting them to beg for more. Other projects were relatively benign if ineffective. This one will put 40 businesses out of business. Economic Destruction, not develpment.

Anonymous said...

Good observation but there is nothing "benign" about spending hundreds of millions, building a huge beauracracy and failing to produce new jobs. Paying for and rewarding failure should not be acceptable. Here it seems to be the norm.

TJ Morosco said...

Totally agree. Downtown is the wrong place for this hospital. Closing the existing hospitals will create more abandoned huge sites.
What no one has mentioned her is that a hospital now has to be supplied by two separate power substations. That means the installation of high power lines thru several of the downtown areas. Also the traffic pattern changes will no longer be a normal flow of traffic. If you have been to Syracuse you have seen the traffic congestion trying to get in and out of the hospital areas. With a garage it contests it further.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest, the only reasons the hospital is going downtown are the state money which was enticed by a "sexy" renewal concept and the EDGE who spotted the dollar signs attached to a "new" project. It is clear that the community might be better off to do the exact opposite of what the hapless EDGE recommends. One has to wonder what their large, expensive staff does every day; they sure are not bringing in industry and jobs. Hopefully Pacenti will step in and stop this madness.

Anonymous said...

There's a local talk radio host who is upset that Cuomo seems to be a pain in the neck because he's supposedly displaying too much oversight concerning this project. Lol! Can you blame him? Who in their right mind would entrust Picente & his local band of politicos with $300 million dollars without watching over them? That would be akin to allowing Bonnie & Clyde to stand guard over an open bank vault.

Now he's out to hose local taxpayers for the cost of this garage! What's he care with his fat bloated salary if taxes go up?

Anonymous said...

The real reason for the downtown hospital ....

Mayor Palmeri just figuring it out with this parking garage commitment

The hospital is designed to bankrupt the city and usher in the "Metro / County government" model being pushed by Cuomo and his boy Picente.

The plan is to hamper the city with obligations tied to the hospital knowing that other city locations will need to be supported like a new Police station, new Courthouse, new police maintenance facility, new infrastructure tied to the "U-Town" BS and related development. Add in costs to deal with vacant St Elizabeth and Faxton locations along with borrowing for road work, some Fire House Consolidations and a few things Cuomo can mandate all leading to the City being overwhelmed with no help in site except for the County ready and willing to dissolve the City and assume control.

Hey city hall employees, politicians, public safety, DPW, ... get ready for what's coming Metro Control from the same geniuses that brought you NANO and EDGE.

Take a look around Mayor P, you could very well be the last mayor of what used to be the city of Utica

Don't fall for any of this, we all know St Luke's is the obvious choice to expand in a central location, it's the deception and corruption underneath the current plan that needs to be exposed.

Good Luck "Mr Mayor" - you're gonna need it !

Anonymous said...

The sad truth is that neither the county, hospital developers, EDGE or anyone else has laid out the full picture of cost and benefit of this proposal. In no quarter of our urban renewal history has a project been accomplished at budget and in the promoted time framework. What makes anyone think this will be different? With EDGE at the helm, that same group that has chased Nano for twenty years now, one can expect yet another expensive disaster as lawyers, contractors and politicians get richer.

Anonymous said...

Again, we see just how dirty our political machinery remains. We do not need it, do not want it...yet certain forces within Oneida County feel they know better than those who oppose this hospital. Oh, how I wish that Concerned Citizens for Honest & Open Government would come out with f retirement!

Anonymous said...

Always follow the money; in our area's case follow who gets the taxpayer's money. There is an industry of those feeding off the taxpayer and the downtown hospital is just the latest example.