MVHS Seeks Transparency in Downtown Hospital Project

UTICA, N.Y. -- Tensions ran high as concerned citizens told public officials they did not want a hospital in their downtown.

"We don't want you to dig!" yelled one Utica resident.

The idea was announced more than a year ago. A hospital would be built in downtown Utica, replacing St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke's Hospital.

"We recognize that this is as much about economic revitalization across the Thruway as it is around healthcare in Utica New York and so we're trying to leverage the two of those together to do what's best for this community," said Scott Perra, president of the Mohawk Valley Health System.

Informational sessions were held Tuesday to ease some of the concerns and answer questions surrounding the chosen location of the new hospital and their reasoning for building a new facility. Some attendees were on board.

"It's what the area needs. It's very inundated, you know what I mean? We need more up-to-date facilities, obviously, you have a rising community ... It's just time," said Frankfort resident David Ferdula. 

Others don't think a hospital in downtown is the best fit, and instead suggested upgrading one of the current facilities. Health system leaders say it would be nearly impossible to operate a hospital while it's under major construction. Critics disagree.

"Project managers are very capable of looking at that campus and preventing and avoiding any kind of disruption, especially when you have 64 acres," said Donna Beckett, a member of the #NoHospitalDowntown group.

The project is not 100 percent certain. It is entirely dependent upon whether or not MVHS receives the $300 million it has been promised by New York State.

A video of the full presentation given by Scott Perra will be downloaded to the Mohawk Valley Health System's website at a later date.

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