Utica begins developing themed districts
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UTICA, N.Y. -- A new state law in New York is encouraging municipalities to create theme districts, and the city of Utica is jumping on board. The idea has been talked about for weeks, and now common council members are ready to put the plan into action.
Local municipalities must complete an application to submit to the state, with district boundaries, the nature of the theme, and a well thought out development plan. The five available themes are art, entertainment, education, culture and business.
While the legislation does not promote any financial incentives, Utica officials say if any grants are made available, they will be ready.
"We're going to be proactive as opposed to reactive with this theme district legislation. If we put them together now, when there is a grant available we're going to be one step ahead of the game," said Joseph Marino, Utica Common Council.
Officials say these districts will not only help with economic development and tourism, but also increase city pride. Common council members say they will be working with the community to develop these districts. That process will begin in the next month or so.