Anthony Picente says Utica residents and visitors have been dealing with parking issues for a long time. Under his proposal, the county would build a parking lot on Elizabeth Street with about 160 spaces. But businesses involved and residents I spoke with have mixed reactions to this parking plan.
"I don't think it's a good idea. These businesses have been here 75 years, 25 years," says Victoria Chwazik, Utica resident.
"So many parking spaces, they have jury parking, parking by the county builidng, i don't think there's any need for any parking here," says Carl Carpenter, Utica resident.
But the County Executive says residents as well as employees and those visiting the Oneida County Office Building face parking issues on a daily basis.
"It gets congested, its wall to wall and a lot of people can't find a spot," says Sharon Zampa, Utica resident.
"The county government is the largest employer in downtown Utica. While we can't solve everyone's parking problem, we have to solve our own here in Utica," says Anthony Picente, County Executive.
Now the county would buy these 3 businesses on the South side of Elizabeth street, raze them, and build a parking garage with about 160 spaces. But not everyone is happy to hear about the new proposal.
"I come here all the time, D'd probably have to go to route 49 to wash my car," says Chwazik
"Parking lots don't pay taxes, parking spaces don't pay taxes, so it's important too preserve any and all businesses that we have in downtown Utica, so buying them up should not be an option," says David Gordon, Oneida County legislator.
The businesses that would have to relocate are Mauro's Glass, Kings Auto Sales, and JJF Carwash, and some of these owners say it won't be easy saying goodbye.
"It's like my second home, I'm here more then I'm home, 27 years so been here a long time, gotta move on though what can you do?" says Dominick Mauro, owner Mauro's Glass.
"I've been here 75 years so I'd like to stay downtown myself because we've been here all these years but I think it's a good move," says Frank Maurizio, owner Kings Auto Sales.
And both Maurizio and Mauro say they're willing to make the move to benefit the city.
"There's always people coming here looking for parking spaces so i think it'll work out for them," says Mauro.
"In general the downtown is looking better and more attractive and our buildings are beginning to get old so i think it's a good move," says Maurizio.
The estimated cost for the parking garage is over 3 million dollars. And, the idea has already garnered a "Ticked-Off Tuesday" comment; Someone wrote to us saying: "Hey, here's an idea... Instead of building another parking garage, let's fix up the ones that aren't in use anymore."
The county's Capital Budget Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to make the parking plan part of the county's 2013 budget.