Utica

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) held an expensive fundraiser with President Donald Trump in Utica last week, her Democratic opponent Anthony Brindisi threw a rival fundraiser across town. But his goal was more about message than money.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

After signing the National Defense Authorization Act into law at the Fort Drum Military Base in Watertown Monday, President Donald Trump visited Utica - the first sitting president to do so in 70 years. He was there to headline a fundraiser for Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford). 

Trump supporters chanted his name and waved American flags as his motorcade arrived at the Hotel Utica. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is still negotiating with property owners in downtown Utica who have not yet sold their land for the nonprofit's new $480 million hospital. Officials with the project say taking those properties through the use of eminent domain is a last resort, but they are willing to if necessary. And some of the property owners trying to stop the project are counting on it.

Mohawk Valley Health System

Officials with the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) say they are on schedule to break ground in downtown Utica next year for their new $480 million hospital. MVHS has gotten approval from the state to complete the hospital designs, and now has a pathway to use eminent domain so it can clear the way for the facility.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Taxes for Utica residents will increase by 6.78 percent, 2 percent more than what was included in the Utica Common Council's budget. It's a result of several last minute changes that reduced the amount of money councilors had tried to use to keep the taxes down.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica Common Council has passed a budget that includes a 4.4 percent tax increase, a reduction of the spending plan submitted by the mayor.

Courtesy Brett Truett

This month is the deadline for property owners in downtown Utica to accept their purchase offers from the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) as the company clears the way for its new hospital. One of those buildings has been sold, but not to MVHS.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Reclaim New York, a self-described nonpartisan good government group with conservative connections, has been increasingly active in local government advocacy throughout the state. It's now involved in the fight over a controversial Utica project that may have political implications.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees in Utica is getting a new home to improve and expand its services.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The public and private groups behind a new hospital in downtown Utica are offering additional assistance to the property owners who are located within the proposed footprint of the project. It comes amid criticism and confusion about what will happen to the affected properties.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

After staying below the 2 percent property tax cap for several years, Utica's mayor is proposing a budget that would raise taxes by 7.8 percent.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Mohawk Valley leaders were bullish about the region's economy at a recent legislative forum in Utica. 

Multi-million dollar developments are underway in the Mohawk Valley that lawmakers say are changing the landscape of the region and could spark further economic growth.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Some Oneida County public officials are doing damage control after a trove of their emails surfaced, revealing a long-running bias on a downtown hospital project in Utica.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The city of Utica and its former fire department chief continue to battle in court, and in the public arena, over a dispute about his service in the aftermath of 9/11. At issue is whether Russell Brooks contracted leukemia as a result of his time on ground zero in the days that followed the terrorist attack.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica Common Council is rescinding an earlier decision to extend term limits for some of the city's elected officials.

The council voted in September to allow the mayor, city comptroller and councilors to serve 12 consecutive years, up from the previous eight. But that was reversed this week in a 5-4 vote.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) sent out letters to the owners of the 45 properties located within the proposed footprint for its new hospital in downtown Utica. It's one of the most contentious aspects of the project since the properties include historical buildings and existing businesses.

Several people who attended a public forum for the new hospital last week expressed their frustration over the matter to MVHS officials present, including Pastor Chris Tringali, who says it will cause his nondenominational church on Columbia Street to close.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica residents got to weigh in recently on how the city will go about its effort to improve the lives of lower-income residents.

People packed the gymnasium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School during the poverty town hall meeting, casting their votes for five projects aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent people from moving out of poverty.

The most popular project was a 24-hour child care center. Shamika Rather says she recently had to quit a job because of a lack of child care options.

Mohawk Valley Health System

A public forum on the proposed new hospital in downtown Utica featured a very divided audience Thursday. The meeting that was intended to generate feedback about the hospital’s first design plans often devolved into arguments about whether the facility should even be built in that location.

Artspace

Utica architect Bob Heins has been working to bring Artspace to his city for the last three years. The nonprofit developer has built 50 of these income-based lofts in cities across the country, including three in New York state.

Each has studio space for its tenants, ranging from painters to musicians to writers and communal space for local arts groups to rent. Heins says the project could become the beating heart of an arts district in downtown Utica.

Mohawk Valley Health System

The Mohawk Valley Health System unveiled the site plan for its new hospital in Utica Thursday. The design calls for a nine-story, 670,000 square foot facility with space for 373 beds and an adjacent parking garage. It would be located on 25 acres of land in the city’s downtown, which presents both opportunities and challenges.

Mohawk Valley Health waited two years to secure the state funding it needed to begin the design process. It’s still only halfway complete, but architect Kim Way says that’s a good thing because it allows his firm to continue implementing public input.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Several seats on Watertown's city council are up for grabs this election, but the outcome of the vote could have more of an impact on the city's mayor.

City council candidate Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says after years of legal battles between the city and its firefighter union, he's campaigning on restoring public trust in city government. Henry-Wilkinson hopes to help accomplish that by changing Watertown's form of government to a strong mayor system replacing the city manager by making the mayor a full-time position.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica Common Council voted to extend term limits for some city offices more than a month ago, but the issue is far from settled. The matter is now entangled in this year's local elections.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Some Utica residents are trying to resurrect the city's now defunct human relations commission. They say it's needed now at a time when divisiveness and incidences of hate crimes are on the rise.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When voters in Utica's first ward head to the polls on November 7, they will see a unique addition to their ballots. Next to Utica Common Council candidate Lou Poccia's name are the words "NOHOSPITAL DWNTN."

"We wanted to demonstrate in a very vivid way that the people of this city are opposed to this downtown hospital," Poccia said. "It is being forced down our throats by the elites of our community."

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A state Supreme Court justice in Franklin County ruled Wednesday that the Cuomo administration's plan to turn a 34-mile-long section of an Adirondack railroad into a multi-use trail was "arbitrary and capricious" and failed to follow numerous state laws.

The state's plan called for removing the rails between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid for a trail corridor that could be used by hikers, bicyclists, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego is offering up to $400,000 to individuals, business owners and or organizations that can help the city combat poverty. It's part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), which aims to help 16 cities improve the lives of their lower-income residents.

Central New York Veterans Outreach Center

New York state is helping build new housing units for homeless veterans in Utica.

Officials involved with the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center broke ground on the $3.2 million project last week. The funding will create 10 permanent and seven temporary housing units for homeless veterans in the center's headquarters, which is a former YMCA that already has older individual units in the upper portion of the building.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney is pushing to uphold the funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to those who cannot afford it. This comes after President Donald Trump released a proposed budget earlier this year eliminating the funding.

Tenney said the House of Representatives has restored $300 million to the Legal Services Corporation in their proposed budget but that still leaves an $85 million cut.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Utica-area Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is calling for more testing of the city's drinking water. The question is over the levels of chloroform and other carcinogenic contaminants, contained in the water.

Brindisi said a report from the Environment Working Group shows chloroform levels at 48 parts per billion in the water at the Mohawk Valley Water Authority. That’s higher than the state and national averages as well as the water tested in Syracuse and Rome.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Now that the Mohawk Valley Health System has secured the necessary state funding, designs are underway for its new hospital in downtown Utica. Officials working on the project say the hospital will breathe new life into downtown and make the surrounding area more attractive. But that could come at the expense of dozens of businesses that are already operating in the proposed footprint.

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