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Thea Bowman House breaks ground on elevator project

By Traci DeLore (


Thea Bowman House held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 3 to kick off installation of its new elevator at the DeSales Center. From left to right are: DeSales Center board members Mary Ellen Luker and Matt Grove, Board President Ellen Luley, Empire State Development Mohawk Valley Regional Director Allison Madmoune, Adirondack Bank VP of Commercial Lending Ann Gaworecki, Thea Bowman House Executive Director Jane Domingue, Thea Bowman House alumni/board member Julius Blackshear, Jr., Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., Rosemary Bonacci, Roann Destito, and Thea Bowman House board member/treasurer William Taft. (Photo credit: Thea Bowman House)

UTICA, N.Y. — Thea Bowman House in Utica held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 3 to kick off the installation of a new elevator at its DeSales Center, 309 Genesee St.

The $1.2 million project will make the DeSales Center accessible. The facility is currently not accessible to people with varying disabilities. This has prevented some patrons from visiting the facility, limits the organization in hiring, and requires food-service personnel to walk up two flights of stairs several times a day to deliver food to the upper floors.

The new elevator will also open rental possibilities on the building’s top floor, which houses several rooms that would be suitable for nonprofit tenants. Renting the space would give those agencies room to grow while also generating much-needed revenue for Thea Bowman House.

“There are so many people to thank for helping us raise the funds needed for this architecturally designed elevator, and we are especially grateful for the generous grant of $250,000 from Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. and the Oneida County legislators,” Thea Bowman House Executive Director Jane Domingue said in a news release. “We look forward to having full accessibility at our center for our children, parents, employees, and the community.”

Along with the $250,000 from Oneida County’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, the project also received support from private donors and the following organizations: Empire State Development Downtown Revitalization Grant ($650,000) and Consolidated Funding Application ($150,000), City of Utica Community Development Block Grant ($100,000), and CREST (Community, Resiliency, Economic, Sustainability and Technology) Program grant ($125,000). Adirondack Bank has approved a $650,000 loan for the project, repayable from the Empire State Development grant upon project completion.

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