Dear Editor:

I have read that hospital administration and government officials have indicated that a move downtown would create social and residential vibrancy and economic vitality to the neighborhood. I respectfully disagree with that notion. As a resident of the city of Utica with possible interest in a downtown move, having a sprawling hospital campus would detract from a vibrant downtown feel and would be excessively noisy and congested, particularly given that Utica’s downtown is so small.

The successful revitalization of areas like Bagg’s Square, Franklin Square, and Bank Place – by entrepreneurs – is more consistent with my definition of a vibrant city with a residential appeal (and some of the reasons I am thrilled to have chosen to move here). Could efforts not be made to spur economic development of this nature to the proposed site?
Likewise, part of what makes Utica “cool” is its historic buildings. By razing them to build a hospital campus, the historic identity of Utica would be irrevocably stripped. Too many buildings in downtown have already suffered this fate over the years. Preservation is what makes a city appealing to its residents and visitors.

For evidence, I point to the Landmarc Building. The structure was saved from demolition and now serves as a mixed-use facility that illustrates the very notion of urban “cool” to which I referred above.

Further, I am concerned that removing both preexisting and prospective businesses in the proposed site would harm Utica’s existing and future tax base. Given my understanding that the hospital would claim tax-exempt status, this doesn’t seem to make sound, long-term economic sense.

I understand that $300 million in state funding for the hospital has been promised, provided that new buildings are erected.Given that the proposed move would exceed that amount by hundreds of millions of dollars, from where would the additional money be generated? Given MVHS’s annual operating losses in the millions of dollars, is there some other revenue stream that would not affect taxpayers?

Bear in mind that the annual median household income for Oneida County is significantly lower than the national average, and residents are financially unable to accommodate further tax burdens.

With regard to new construction, would the preexisting space available at the St. Luke’s campus not be more viable for a new or expanded facility? Would it not also provide more assurance with responsibility limiting the costs to the $300 million which has already been procured? Existing road infrastructure is there as well, and the site would not have to undergo the costly expense of relocation to an area that is not yet part of the MVHS land assets.

Additionally, the existing St. Luke’s campus would presumably have even more room to expand in the future, even beyond the immediate addition, unlike the landlocked downtown neighborhood.

I am grateful for the opportunity to articulate my concerns, albeit not in person at any forum. Access to quality, cost-effective healthcare is certainly part of what makes a city desirable. However, it seems this could be better achieved without moving the hospital downtown.

Halina Lotyczewski

Dear Editor:
I am not sure if this has ever been brought up but if you look at the major hospitals in Syracuse, you notice that St. Joe’s is located in a “not real bad” residential area with a few businesses not too far away.

On the other hand, Crouse, Upstate, and the VA hospitals are located in close proximity to one another such as Faxton, St. Luke’s, St. Es and Slocum Dixon and………amidst them, is Utica College whereas in Syracuse it’s SU amidst the major conglomerate of hospitals.

So we have a fine educational institution near a group of fine hospitals in Syracuse and our local politicians seem to be forcing us with, perhaps, a fine hospital near high traffic highways, railroad tracks, the Aud (which could be a traffic and noise problem), the transfer station on Leyland, perhaps a sports center as I have heard rumors about, and other similar such places. All of this is not to mention the inconvenience that this will cause for Utica College nursing students.

I don’t understand where their heads are at and I don’t understand why a FEW SELECTED PERSONS have decided this.

These local elected officials are basically “ramming” this down our throats, as is too often typical of politicians and “big shots”.

Everyone I have talked to is against a downtown hospital and, actually, everyone (again) has said ‘what’s wrong with building on the St. Luke’s property’?

I agree, and if it is not big enough, they could purchase a little surrounding property just like the city is planning on doing downtown.

The downtown location is a TERRIBLE idea and now they are even talking about privatizing the parking which means patrons will have to pay for parking – undoubtedly a very high fee.

This whole downtown concept has basically BEEN FORCED upon the citizens of this community. Once again, it’s a matter of what the politicians and/or the very wealthy want and the h… with the ordinary people.

I know for one, if I have a need for non-life threatening medical care, I will certainly consider going to Syracuse or somewhere where the facility I go to will be better.

Joseph R. Paxhia (Joe)


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