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Utica embarks on 'prosperity initiative' with stimulus funding

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo

Officials from Utica are unveiling their plans on how to spend some of the millions of dollars the city has received from federal stimulus bills during the pandemic.

In what's being billed as the Utica Prosperity Initiative, Utica leaders are pouring $12 million into a range of projects - everything from traditional city investments in road paving and public park enhancements to stimulus-specific goals like small business assistance programs. But Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri said because the city invited the public to offer input on how to spend these dollars, some of the funding will go to nontraditional but significant projects as well like in extending the hours at the city's childcare center.

"We're looking for an opportunity that's going to take us into the next several decades, to be able to do some things and help our city residents with the quality of life and moving forward," Palmieri said.

The funding will also be used to help Utica police crack down on a recent increase in gun violence and make repairs to city hall and fire and police stations among other projects. This is just phase one of the Utica prosperity initiative. Palmieri said the city received $60 million  from the American Rescue Plan alone so they plan to continue developing another round of investments in the coming months.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.