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New medical center breaks ground in downtown Utica

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Mohawk Valley Health System officials and elected officials break ground on the new hospital.

Ground has broken for a new hospital in downtown Utica.

It will take about three years before the hospital is ready to admit patients to a facility that will gobble up about 25 acres of property downtown. At a ground breaking ceremony yesterday, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri suggested this new hospital will be transformational for the region.

"This gives us an opportunity not only to be on the map, but an area where people want to live, want to work and want to play, because we have a state-of-the-art medical facility," Palmieri said.

The 672,000 square foot hospital will be part of a larger medical campus that will include medical offices built by a private developer. Oneida County and the City of Utica will also construct a parking garage. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the project is essential.

“This is important,” Picente said. “This is about the betterment of our community. The health of our community. The future of our children and grandchildren for generations to come.”

But the project hasn’t been without detractors. Many in the community have opposed the downtown location because of the need to relocate so many businesses and organizations. And it’s been a long time in coming. Bonnie Woods, chair of the Mohawk Valley Health System noted it’s been four years since the decision to build the facility downtown, so this is an exciting moment.

"Our vision for transforming health care in our region is taking shape, literally right before our eyes," Woods said.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.