UTICA, N.Y. — A proposed new hospital in downtown Utica would be built too close to train tracks, some residents say.
They brought their concerns to Common Council candidates Wednesday, saying the new location, between Oriskany and Colubmia streets, is in a "red zone."
They're concerned that if there was an incident involving freight trains with hazardous cargo, it may be dangerous and difficult to evacuate people at the nearby hospital.
Mohawk Valley Health System officials said this isn't the first time they've heard this claim.
"We vetted this concern with the engineers working on the project and the city of Utica's and Oneida County's planning departments. It was found that the train tracks posed no threat to the hospital in the location that was selected in downtown Utica," said Robert Scholefield, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Mohawk Valley Health System.
"To be honest with you, I don't care what the hospital has to say. I think this is a critical issue. It needs to be addressed and we need to stop it from being placed down in this area, and this is just one of the many reasons," said Jim Zecca, a Utica Common Council candidate.