County To Provide $500,000 To Utica Memorial Auditorium Authority To Increase Parking
County Executive Picente announces money to begin construction on new parking in Downtown Utica
County Executive Anthony J. Picente announced today that he will ask the Oneida County Board of Legislator’s to approve $500,000 to be transferred to the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority for the explicit use of creating a new parking lot across the street to the Utica Auditorium.
Increased traffic flow has proved there is a lack of safe and legal parking located in a safe distance around the auditorium. The Utica Memorial Auditorium has a seating capacity of 3,875 and Utica Comets hockey games are averaging at minimum of 3,100 people to each game. The means the Utica Auditorium is 80% filled on an average night.
In addition to AHL Utica Comets there is also the continued success of the Utica College Hockey team, the Pioneers. Pioneers hockey has set attendance records, leading the nation in Hockey attendance for the seventh straight year. Utica's average home attendance of 3,754 fans per home game is a single season record for home attendance in Division III.
With 35 home games a year for the Comets bringing an average of 108,000 additional people downtown and 17 home dates for the Utica College Pioneers Hockey team bringing 64,000 fans to the Utica Memorial Auditorium the need for parking can no longer be ignored.
Picente said “With the unbelievable success of the Utica Comets hockey team and Utica College Hockey serving as a catalyst for economic and cultural activity taking place in downtown Utica it is time to work with downtown’s stakeholders on a long standing problem. We need to work towards fixing the parking problem near the Auditorium.”
Oneida County has seen a budget surplus every year of the Picente Administration creating a financial foundation to make these types of aggressive economic development investments throughout all of Oneida County.
County Executive Picente said “This is why creating County government’s strong fiscal foundation is key to economic growth. We have been stewards of taxpayer dollars by cutting government and holding the line on property taxes. This has allowed the flexibility to have this money on hand to benefit the community in order to seize the opportunities we see all around us.”
Oneida County has previously advanced $2,000,000 in state funding for the renovations to the Utica Auditorium that the state will be reimbursing.