The 12 Facts of . . .

The 12 Facts of Winter Solstice/Christmas/the New Year

Because MVHS’s downtown Utica regional healthcare campus has evolved over the last two years from concept through early planning to the design phase, uncertainties have resulted in a number of rumors and misstatements on social media and elsewhere. As the holiday season brings us to a new year in which the project will continue to progress, we thought it would be helpful to revisit—and fact-check—some of the most frequent of these. We call our responses to rumors and errors the 12 Facts of the Winter Solstice, Christmas, the New Year, etc.

  1. MVHS could/should build a new hospital at St. Luke’s campus

MVHS decided on the site in 2015. A dozen sites were considered, and St. Luke’s was ruled out for multiple reasons: overall cost, impossibility of continuing operations during 3 years of construction, wetlands, etc.     

  1. The St. Luke’s option would be a lot less expensive. No parking garage would be needed.

According to MVHS, building at St. Luke’s would not have been less expensive than downtown, and a parking garage would indeed have been necessary.

  1. The state’s $300M in funding could be spent at St. Luke’s or elsewhere

The state, the authorizing legislation, our elected officials and MVHS agree the state funding is tied to the chosen downtown Utica site.

  1. The project will not include a helipad

The healthcare campus will include a helipad, as shown in the site plan MVHS presented at multiple public meetings.

  1. The project will displace the police station and courts building

Neither building is in the project footprint, according to the project site plan published recently.

  1. The project will occupy 34 acres–1/4 or 1/3 of the downtown.

The healthcare campus, 25 acres, will take up 1/8 or 1/10 of the downtown; 1/8, if you consider the downtown and Bagg’s Square as separate districts; 1/10, if you consider Bagg’s Square part of the downtown.

  1. Two parking garages will be part of the plan.

One parking garage is planned.

  1. Five candidates for local offices pledged to oppose the project when elected.

They were defeated.

  1. “Everybody I talk to”/a majority of people are against the downtown location

Zogby-WIBX data showed a significant majority of Utica residents participating in their survey favored the project and its downtown site.

  1. The public should get to vote on the project and/or its location, since taxpayer dollars are involved.

As described in detail in a blog post by our predecessor, private projects, like Utica National’s Lafayette Street building in the same neighborhood as the new MVHS, private-public efforts, like Harbor Point, and publicly funded projects, like the SUNY campus in Marcy, have all happened without any kind of referendum.

  1. MVHS has not communicated adequately with property owners in the project footprint.

MVHS says most of the property owners in the project footprint have received and are considering purchase offers. The length and complexity of the project’s development, from concept to reality, made it difficult to give quick, certain answers to all questions. 

  1. Elected officials, community groups and others supporting MVHS are “bastards . . . corrupted . . . delusional . . . evil . . . scheming . . . spineless . . . stupid” and involved in a “conspiracy” to advance a hidden agenda.

The Governor, Oneida County Executive, Mayor of Utica, Oneida County Legislators, Utica Council Members, Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce, Genesis Group, Community Foundation, Mohawk Valley EDGE and the MVHS Board of Directors support this project because they want to improve this community and its quality of life.

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