If you build it they will come. The City of Utica is hoping additions to its current master plan will help attract business and young people back to downtown. Part of the downtown parking plan is to reconstruct Genesee St. into a boulevard. This includes converting the current four lane down to two and adding a median. The other includes adding alternative parking sites and pay stations in the downtown area. But the city says it's all in an effort to reinvent Utica.
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says, "The downtown who has served us well for over a 100 years when it was a bustling retail capital has changed. And this is a complexion to bring that community downtown of that warm feeling with the medium, with the changes into our infrastructure and with an overall parking plan, which we've been talking about for the last 10-15 years."
The estimated cost of the project is $15 million. Part of the funding will come from grants and part will be from the city. But no matter where the money is coming from people have varying opinions on the new renovations.
Utica resident Stanley Springer says, "They could improve it probably put parking meters but that probably might make people broke, make people spend a lot of money and they don't want to do that."
Paul Dumas enjoys walking downtown and he is all for the new revitalization plan, "I think it's a good move, I think it would enhance the older buildings and probably draw businesses to be part of the boulevard."
The City of Utica is also undergoing another major construction project with the north-south arterial. In total the city estimates over $100 million is being invested to revitalize the city.
Mayor Palmieri added, "There's activity downtown and again it's been stagnant for a while, this is the rebirth of downtown, I think it's a great opportunity to invest. Once you have parking its conducive, it's a municipal downtown that can be spurred onto a local entrepreneurship. I just think that between the arterial, the thruways, we're in the center of the heart of Utica, New York"