A major revitalization investment of $45 million is coming to Utica's Cornhill neighborhood in an effort to improve the lives of those living there now, and create opportunities for generations to come.

The joint announcement was made by the City of Utica, The Community Foundation, Mid-Utica Neighborhood Preservation Corporation (MUNPC), and People First. The funding will construct two new buildings, one will offer affordable housing for seniors while the other will create space for entrepreneurial opportunity, and address the lack of grocery options in Cornhill, officials said.

Construction will include two mix-use structures were outlines by officials in this way:

Cornhill Renaissance Center to be located on James Street

  • Providing a quality urban grocery available for residents in a food desert
  • Creating a marketplace and commercial test kitchen for food vendors and start-up restaurateurs to further address a long-time food desert
  • Establishing flexible space for small retail and other microenterprise opportunities
  • Incubating small-scale programming to support business owners
  • Launching creative spaces, including a recording studio and multimedia lab

Mid-Utica Neighborhood Impact Center

  • 60 mixed-income housing units, offering modern apartments for Cornhill’s substantial senior population.
  • The 25,000 sq. ft. center will also provide accessible community programming, senior activities, workforce training, a multipurpose gym for youth activities and adult fitness, a co-working and flexible office space for a collection of nonprofits and a shared kitchen and storefront space.

"The City of Utica initiated conversations regarding the James Street corridor after it demolished the former Cornhill Senior Center building last summer. The Community Foundation and MUNPC have been collaborating for more than two years, exploring ways to make the West Street site a critical part of a larger neighborhood revitalization strategy," according to a news release announcing details of the project.

Of the $45 million, just $900,00 is coming directly from the city of Utica, with money from the American Rescue Plan Act, officials said.

The city will also transfer ownership of several parcels of property to make the project possible. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2023, officials said.

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