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Picente: The ‘U’ District Isn’t Pie In the Sky

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”It really is a dynamic vision, and it’s all possible.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente joined WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning on Wendesday, a day after giving the public two visual concepts of ‘The U District.’

Picente has proposed a transformation of vacant land behind the Utica AUD, and the Tartan building adjacent to it, into a sports and entertainment district. It would include a casino, expanded sports facilities around The AUD featuring multi-use playing surfaces for several sports and a craft beer innovation center and museum.

”That’s really the most compelling argument to make, is that all of this is possible. This isn’t pie in the sky or wishful thinking,” Picenete said.

The Oneida Nation would invest $50 million for the casino project, which would only feature gaming – not restaurants or entertainment hubs that would compete with downtown businesses who already offer that, he said.

Picente said the casino would sit on land currently owned by the county, but the goal would be to have that property into federal trust for the Oneidas. He would ‘leverage’ that investment to attract state dollars to assist in funding the sporting complex, and for a craft beer museum.

Estimates from Picente’s office project the district would create an additional 300 full-time and another 75-plus seasonal jobs.

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