February 6, 2018
Utica, NY - At a joint press conference today, officials from the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS), Oneida County, City of Utica, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and Mohawk Valley EDGE announced next steps to support property owners within the footprint of the new regional healthcare campus in downtown Utica.
“The new regional healthcare campus project is one of unprecedented magnitude in our area, with the primary mission of delivering state-of-the-art healthcare to our region and contributing to the redevelopment of downtown,” said Scott H. Perra, FACHE, president/CEO of MVHS. “With that in mind, a project work group of public and private partners has been collaborating to address critical aspects of the project, including assistance for property owners in the project footprint.”
In keeping with the project work group’s efforts, Perra said, the MVHS Board of Directors has approved two major steps to address property owners’ needs and concerns:
- Up to $1 million in relocation funding for affected property owners in the project footprint, to support businesses looking to relocate within the City of Utica or Oneida County.
- Property owners in the footprint of the new campus will not be responsible for addressing environmental issues caused by previous owners.
“If the current property owner is not responsible for environmental issues found on the property, he or she will not be expected to remediate the property,” said Perra. “MVHS will take care of any necessary remediation once the property is acquired. Based on our conversations with property owners, this will come as very positive news.”
Relocation assistance will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Perra said. MVHS and Bond, Schoeneck & King, the law firm handling the property acquisition process, will remain the direct points of contact for any property acquisition communications.
In addition to relocation assistance and remediation relief, officials announced that a new full-time project coordinator will help affected businesses identify potential options and funding for relocation.
The coordinator, funded and employed by The Community Foundation, will act as a central point of contact for affected property owners and a community liaison for the work group, which comprises representatives of the Governor’s Office, Oneida County, City of Utica, Mohawk Valley EDGE, MVHS and The Community Foundation. Together, the work group and coordinator will support and coordinate communication to ensure continued progress for the project.
The coordinator will also work with MVHS, MV EDGE and community stakeholders on the development of reuse plans for the repurposing of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center and the St. Luke’s campuses.
“The Community Foundation views these announcements as important steps forward for the project’s continuing development, and we’re committed to working with MVHS and project partners to ensure success,” said Alicia Dicks, president/CEO of The Community Foundation. “Once the new coordinator is on board, we also will focus on supporting MVHS’s ongoing work with its design partners by studying the most effective ways to join the new hospital campus with neighborhoods, destinations and services outside the footprint area. We’re committed to supporting the downtown project because our community and its neighborhoods, and our entire region, will benefit for generations to come.”
“This offer of relocation assistance and alleviation of the burden of remediating environmental issues are two very positive steps in supporting the property owners in the footprint of the new regional healthcare campus in downtown Utica,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “I also believe that the creation of a full-time project coordinator funded by The Community Foundation will be a major benefit in facilitating the process moving forward.”
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of our collaborative efforts to provide additional support for the business and property owners within the new regional healthcare campus footprint,” said Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri. “Since its inception, we’ve seen the transformative potential of this project and look forward to advancing our efforts together to benefit the City, our residents and our region.”
“We applaud the actions taken by our partners today to advance the MVHS downtown healthcare campus,” said Steven DiMeo, EDGE President. “We are pleased that MVHS is responding to feedback and working with property owners on addressing relocation concerns. Those actions coupled with the creation of a dedicated point-person to work on this historic investment opportunity will help to pave the way for successful project completion.”
“We are grateful for the support of the County Executive and the Mayor and applaud The Community Foundation and its Board of Trustees for their support of the downtown hospital project,” said Perra. “We look forward to integrating this new position and the additional resources that we can now provide into our collective efforts to assist the property owners in their relocation efforts.”