Signs of change, progress–and a minor delay

The July 28. 2019, Observer-Dispatch headline, “Signs of change in downtown as businesses move out,” accompanied a story of midsummer progress for #mvhsdowntown.

Not long ago, a mere handful of property owners had come to terms with Mohawk Valley Health System. Now, 20 of 35 have closed on their properties in the project footprint. Many have relocated nearby, in Utica, and others are making plans to do so.

MVHS says the project remains on schedule, groundbreaking will happen within a few months, and the move into the new regional healthcare center will happen in February 2023. The co-founder of a Facebook opposition group whose membership fell by 900 persons in recent months remains certain the project will be stopped.

Sort of.

“…even if they are ‘successful’ it certainly won’t be completed before 2024,” he posted on Facebook two days ago.

This puts in proper context the efforts of a small group of opponents who disputed the need for the project, vowed to relocate it, attacked individuals and organizations that support it, and politicized the issue by tying it to candidates (unsuccessfully) in three election cycles. Now, this group’s years of effort are summed up by their revised forecast: the project’s completion will be delayed by ten (10) months.

Fortunately, the community has come together in support of #mvhsdowntown in myriad ways–including an increasing number of organizations making that support public, as in Sunday’s Excellus ad in the O-D:Excellus MVHS ad UticaObserverDispatch_20190728_A09_4

And on July 30, the O-D urged residents to weigh in on the future of the MVHS facilities whose functions will move downtown in a few short years.

All the signs point in one direction. Downtown’s largest-ever public-private investment is moving forward. And residents of our entire region will benefit in the decades to come as a result.


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