Better Utica Downtown

The new hospital and neighborhood are taking shape. Key buildings throughout Utica’s urban core have been transformed. Other buildings are being staged for redevelopment, while other properties are changing hands to join Downtown Utica’s transformation. The goal of Better Utica Downtown is to iteratively reassess where we are now, and merge ideas into proposals moving forward. With the hospital taking its final shape, we present the Wynn-BUD Initiative. Positioned around the Wynn Hospital’s northwest corner, the proposal seeks to bridge downtown’s bright healthcare future with Utica’s historical past. Specific goals include weaving the new hospital into the neighborhood (thus a better downtown), to improve hospital access and function, while also making visibility and entrance of The Wynn Hospital paramount.

The Wynn-BUD Initiative targets portions of a Three-block Area; a cobblestone street and a half-dozen existing buildings. We seek to help transform a 9-acre area into a place where area residents, hospital staff and visitors, as well as Oneida County tourists can discover histories of numerous Utica boiler-making companies, the Erie and Chenango canal heritage, feature Utica’s immigrant culture and create an urban integrated greenspace where people can walk through, shop, be entertained and educated, and even find unique lodging!

The Wynn-BUD Initiative elevates and celebrate aspects of 1800’s Utica life and industry - history that gave birth to the city and eventually led to the naming of our famous Boilermaker road race. Numerous parcels will also allow for creative infill, be it for historic, aesthetic, or embedded healthcare.

Key aspects of The Wynn-BUD Initiative include:

1. Carton Avenue and Greenspace - A valuable asset that’s solidly rooted in the Erie Canal-era cobblestones of Carton Avenue. John Carton patented some of Utica’s earliest boilers and his family became prominent downtown landowners. Restore Carton Avenue and create a park-like setting at the hospital’s main entrance: a Wynn-Utica Park. Presumably renaming Cornelia Street “Wynn Way”.

2. Lafayette Street Cul-de-sac – A portion of Lafayette Street becomes a large patient pickup and drop-off circle. Rather than a conversion to a pedestrian walkway, it becomes an important vehicle and patient access point. The center of circle offers options for highlighting an aspect of Utica’s hospital history, events, or a person(s) or milestone, i.e. a statue or monument.

3. 418 Lafayette Street – An educational and heritage site with working displays, films, and exhibits highlighting Utica’s significant boiler-making history and companies. The Utica Boiler-Maker Heritage Center. A museum to “home heating and cooling” does not exist. However, the Utica-area has standing past and current history to execute and change this, adding a unique component, if acted on.

4. 442 Lafayette Street – A four-room boutique hotel, the Erie Canal Inn, Café and Gift Shoppe focused on 1800’s canal-era life. Parcels to east and west offers numerous infill sites. New business brought by the draw of the new hospital will ultimately recreate the row of businesses which historically lined the street.

5. 543 Oriskany Street - Utica prosperity can be directly attributed to our canals. While they are gone, where the Erie and Chenango Canals intersected is essentially a greenfield for the Utica Canal Heritage Center. A perfect downtown tie-in to New York’s newly opened 750-mile Empire State Trail, via the Rayhill Memorial Trail and Utica's Harbor Point, making Downtown Utica a medical waypoint, similar to the business that utilized the canals.

6. 509 Lafayette Street - Create the Utica German Heritage Center at the historic Turnverein Building. Taken with the nearby Irish Cultural Center, and downtown’s other ethnic and immigrant venues, Utica has a great offering to market our multicultural city.

Conclusion

Urban hospital campuses tend to be large in scale and impervious to those not there for healthcare. Elements explained above offer an opportunity for the emerging Wynn Hospital campus to become a true neighborhood. This proposal whether fully implemented, modified, or selectively acted on, presents a pure vision of fully integrating the Wynn Hospital into Utica. There are more details to the Wynn-BUD Initiative, including a parking garage solution, and we believe these plans will bring synergy among Varick Street, Genesee Street, Bagg’s Square and ever-expanding Auditorium district. All surrounding our newest focal point: The Wynn Hospital. We hope you'll agree!

Better Utica Downtown, seeking to help create a Better Hospital Neighborhood.



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