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Utica renames business park after former mayor, Utica College treasurer

By Eric Reinhardt (


An office building at the former Utica Business Park, which is now called LaPolla & Ford Business Park. (CNYBJ file photo/ Photo credit: Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage Company)

UTICA, N.Y. — Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri on Thursday announced the Utica Business Park will be renamed the “LaPolla & Ford Business Park” in honor of former Utica Mayor Louis LaPolla and the late John Ford.

Mayor LaPolla and Ford, who served as VP and treasurer of Utica College at that time, were “instrumental” in creating the business park and encouraging businesses to remain in Utica.

As part of the ceremony, Palmieri unveiled new signage at the Burrstone and French Road entrances of the business park.

“The renaming of the Utica Business Park in honor of Mayor LaPolla and Mr. Ford is a fitting tribute to their tireless efforts to support Utica businesses and their love for our community,” Palmieri said. “Without their vision, the Utica Business Park would not have been realized.”

The renaming of the business park to honor LaPolla and Ford was unanimously supported by the Utica Common Council on March 20, 2019 with Councilman Mark Williamson as the lead sponsor, per a City of Utica news release.

In 1986, the city’s zoning ordinance was amended in order to permit the development of the 80-acre property — formerly the Utica College golf course — for a campus style business park.

The following year, the city approved final plans for the business park. Over the past three decades, the Utica Business Park has been an “economic driver” for the community and region.

“This business park, formerly the Utica College golf course, has been one of the economic efforts of my previous administration,” LaPolla said. “I thank Mayor Palmieri and the members of the common Council, especially Councilman Mark Williamson, for recognizing this effort as the park has been essential to the economic growth of the city, community and region.”

The Ford family was also appreciative of the honor.

“My father, John C. Ford, grew up in and spent his entire life in Cornhill. His love for Utica was almost as great as his love for Utica College, where he dedicated 42 years,” J. Mark Ford, son of the late John Ford, said. “In his dual capacity of vice president/treasurer, he used his intimate knowledge of the college’s finances and keen eye for opportunity to solve problems. By proposing to the city to sell them the Utica College golf course, the college got needed capital to buy the Ramada Inn (Burrstone House) for dormitory space and the city finally got a location for their long sought business park. The entire Ford family appreciates this honor the City of Utica is bestowing upon him.”

John Ford died in 2014.

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