Downtown Utica parking garage gets $1.3 million in federal funding

The City of Utica is hoping a new multi-modal transportation center
downtown will help revitalize the area.
$1.3 million in Federal grant money from the Transit Administration is helping to feed the fund for the new facility center.

Project Director Brian Thomas say the city already has $1.2 million for the project and they are entering negotiations with landowners to acquire the property at the corner of Elizabeth and Charlotte Street.

The groundwork has already been laid for what the center will look like.

"The ground floor is the (Centro) bus transfer level, and then it is just a standard parking garage above that," Thomas said. "Each level has about a hundred spaces, so it's two and a half spaces above the ground floor."

Many employees in Downtown Utica say landing a parking spot in the morning isn't always easy, and so they're in favor of any construction that helps with the congestion in the parking lot.

Just yesterday, John Paoni says he was looking everywhere for parking, so he's all for the facility.

"It'd be great, because parking around here is so tough," Paoni said. "Sometimes I have to park at the Hotel Utica and yesterday, they had an event there, so it was kind of limited and so everyone was really scrambling for parking. We really need it."

Utica Mayor David Roefaro said money was secured in 2005 through The Highway Bill specifically for this project, and if the money wasn't spent on this facility, the city would lose the grant money.

Roefaro hopes once the space is transformed that it will spur economic growth.

"It will have a great economic impact, because people are more apt now to open up a business where they know people can come and park and get out of their cars and go shop," Mayor Roefaro said.

Construction is anticipated to start next Spring, and hopefully the new multi-modal transportation center will be completed by the summer of 2012. 
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