A project that will connect one of Utica's hottest destinations with a soon-to-be recreational park is getting over a million dollars in funding from New York State's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the funding on Monday, to include several projects across New York. Utica is slated to receive $1.2 million to for a major makeover of the city's untapped waterfront, Harbor Point.

The Utica Harbor Point Development Corporation will use the money for 'significant' marina-area improvements, an effort the Governor's office says will spur economic development. The work to done includes a public walkway along the marina-area, the design and construction of several soccer and softball multi-use fields, and a new pedestrian bridge that would connection these new recreational areas to the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium and the still being built Nexus Center.

The ADK Bank Center is home to Utica's Comets and Utica City FC, along with the Utica University Pioneers hockey programs, while Nexus will be home to three multipurpose playing surfaces with the intent to host youth sports tournaments for families across the Northeast.

''These upgrades will unlock significant opportunities for marina-front restaurants and entertainment,'' a release from Hochul's office said.

The funding will bring reality to what has been an idea for many in the area for many years. Athletic fields to Utica's Harbor Point has been a vision Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri has discussed during his tenure office. Meanwhile, an investment in the waterfront will bring families and activity to an area thought to be an untapped gem in Utica. What types of food, entertainment, and family-fun options will grow around the walking trail and sports fields is not yet known.

Of the funding announced on Monday by the Governor's office, the largest  allotment of money is headed to the Waterdown Family YMCA. Over $3 million will be used redevelop a brownfield site into a community aquatic center.

Hochul also announced $1.2 million for Hartman Enterprises for the construction of a 55,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in the city of Oneida.

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