$45 million is coming to the Cornhill neighborhood of Utica

A multi-million dollar project is coming to the Cornhill neighborhood in Utica. Forty-five million dollars will be invested in a rebirth center and an impact center.

“We will give everyone the opportunity to develop their skills, to empower themselves, to empower the neighborhood, to empower our city and that is another level of what we think is so important for a neighborhood,” said the mayor of ‘Utica, Robert Palmieri.

At the corner of James and Neilson streets will be the Cornhill Renaissance Center.

“On the first floor, an urban grocery store, four business incubators,” said People First executive director Bob Calli. “Where residents can test their skills and experience to see if they can in fact go into the market and earn a living with those skills.”

There will also be 36 affordable housing units on the upper floors as well as an emergency department. The second component of the Cornhill revitalization project will be the Impact Center, which will be located on West Street.

“The site we are currently on is a large four-lot site. This is the largest lot owned by a black non-profit organization in the city of Utica,” said Jawwaad Rasheed, Chairman of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties.

The site is currently home to the Mid-Utica Neighborhood Preservation Corporation. The organization was formed to focus on renovation and restoration projects in Cornhill and for many years provided an adult child care program. The site is currently used for senior services and a facility for community events.

“All of the things that have historically left this neighborhood will be part of the impact center,” Rasheed said. “From banking, to doctors offices, to dentists offices, to fitness, a good sized gymnasium, commercial kitchen for events and neighborhood programs, meeting rooms, breakout rooms conference, classrooms.

The Impact Center will also provide 60 mixed-income housing units with a percentage of the units used for seniors. Rasheed says bringing these resources back to the community will help give people of color the tools they need to thrive.

“We look forward to this opportunity to open the doors of opportunity to all people of Utica, especially those of color,” Rasheed said.

Groundbreaking for the project is expected to begin in the spring of 2023.

The City of Utica has committed just over $900,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for this revitalization. The partners applied for state and federal grants to help with the project.

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