Oneida County is moving forward with eminent domain to secure land needed for parking for Wynn Hospital in downtown Utica.
On Dec. 23, the State Supreme Court’s Appeals Division, Fourth Judicial Department, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Brett Truett, Joseph Cerino, and the 418 Lafayette St. Corp. challenging the use of eminent domain in the situation.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Bernadette T. Clark ruled against the group’s filing of a stay in eminent domain until the case is eventually heard on appeal, the county attorney said. of Oneida, Peter Rayhill.
Clark’s decision gives the county permission to move forward with eminent domain, although Rayhill said the county would stay proceedings if an appeal is heard.
“We were pleased with the judge’s decision,” Rayhill said.
The parking garage is planned to be located at Oriskany, Lafayette and Cornelia streets. Clark’s decision allows the county to acquire the three remaining properties in the footprint it has not yet acquired.
The county recently reached an agreement with a fourth owner, 525-527 Oriskany St. LLC.
The debate continues in the hospital parking lot
Mohawk Valley Health System officials said they were pleased with Clark’s decision and looked forward to the project moving forward.
“It has been a long process,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, President/CEO of MVHS in a statement, “and I am extremely grateful to Oneida County for continuing to move forward with eminent domain and, finally, the construction of the car park.”
Truett, speaking on behalf of the group No Hospital Downtown, denounced Clark’s decision and said he didn’t think the judge should have ruled on the matter.
“Soon Utica’s only acute care hospital will be evacuated due to its proximity to the CSX train tracks,” Truett said. “The Wynn suburban layout plan is a farcical design that devours land. As a result, a neighborhood was lost, many Utica area residents soured on our leaders and MVHS. There was room for a better hospital district.
What’s next for Wynn Hospital’s parking plan?
Clark’s decision will allow the county to file an acquisition card, which will provide county ownership of the properties, without deeds.
In filing the card, Rayhill said the county will draft a signed order, attach the transcript of the recent court ruling and order, and submit it to the plaintiffs and the judge, a process he called “reasonably straightforward” and s ‘m expecting it to take about a week.
The county will then begin scheduling property surveys, looking for nuisances such as asbestos. Demolition of the properties will follow and construction of the parking lot will begin shortly after the county awards the contract.
Rayhill said the county expects to open requests for proposals for construction of the parking lot on April 14.
Ed Harris is the Oneida County reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. Email Ed Harris at [email protected]