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Projects, funding announced for first phase of Utica Prosperity Initiative

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri on Monday announced the first phase of funding for projects in the Utica Prosperity Initiative. The $12 million will target projects that include small-business assistance programs and a new James Street Marketplace with loft apartments, per Palmieri’s office. Utica will pay for the majority of phase I projects and initiatives through funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). (File photo by Adam Rombel/CNYBJ)

UTICA, N.Y. — Small-business assistance programs and a new James Street Marketplace with loft apartments are among the projects announced in the first phase of the Utica Prosperity Initiative.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri on Monday presented the first phase of the city’s allocation of funding through the Utica Prosperity Initiative to the city’s board of estimate & apportionment (E&A).

The funding totals $12 million in community investment. Utica will pay for the majority of phase I projects and initiatives through money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

To assemble the Utica Prosperity Initiative, the city solicited public input to determine the community’s top priorities, projects, and programs. City officials are still reviewing dozens of projects with announcements of additional phases of funding in the coming weeks and months, per a Monday news release from the city.

“The Utica Prosperity Initiative is a unique opportunity to transform our community and enhance the quality of life for our residents,” Palmieri contended. “This announcement is the first phase of the city’s investment. We will continue to review and evaluate projects as more exciting announcements will be forthcoming.”

Phase I projects

Besides small-business assistance programs and the new James Street Marketplace with loft apartments, the projects include a residential rehabilitation program; an upgrade of the city’s website and electronic services; additional street paving and sewer-infrastructure improvements; enhancements of city parks; child-care expansion; gun-violence prevention and law-enforcement career recruiting efforts; and necessary repairs to public facilities (including police and fire stations).

Criteria and qualifications are being developed for the small-business assistance and residential rehabilitation programs. The city will coordinate the residential rehabilitation program in partnership with the HomeOwnershipCenter at 1611 Genesee St. in Utica.

The city is working with several business and community partners to construct a new facility at the former Cornhill Senior Center on James Street. The former Senior Center was recently demolished with the utilization of community development block grant (CDBG) funding to enable development of the site.

This partnership will include a grocery market, business incubators, as well as loft-style housing.

While the city has the necessary infrastructure in place for all residents to have broadband, there are accessibility gaps due to affordability and lack of individual resources. The new James Street Marketplace, as well as other forthcoming projects, will serve as a community-based center for low- to moderate-income families to access broadband.

More information about each project will be announced as implementation begins, Palmieri’s office said.