One of the topics everyone is talking about is the lack of cellphone service in South Utica and the Village of New Hartford. Well, it appears something is finally being done about that.

A fire broke out last week at the Ridgewood Market plaza on Oneida Street in South Utica and due to the lack of service, business owners were having problems calling out to 911 to respond the the growing blaze. They were initially upset with Senator Chuck Schumer as he had been there a little over a year ago promising to put pressure on Verizon to improve the service. Well, another fire has been lit and construction is well underway on a new tower.

New Hartford Mayor Donald Ryan says,

As work on the new Verizon cell tower in the Village of the New Hartford progresses, I would like to extend my most sincere appreciation to Senator Schumer for following through on his promise and delivering this new cell tower for our community. Because of the Senator's tireless efforts, Verizon is scheduled to dig, pave, and wire the tower site in the coming weeks, putting them on pace to complete the tower well ahead of schedule. On behalf of our entire community, I would like to credit the Senator for getting the job done to ensure the good people of New Hartford and Utica are connected.

Photo Courtesy of Mary MacEnroe
Photo Courtesy of Mary MacEnroe

The cellphone tower is currently being erected right outside the New Hartford Rec Center near State Route 8 and Mill Street. Currently, photos submitted by a listener indicate they have only dug the hole in which the base of the tower will be placed, but they're making progress. Schumer says he will not let up until the project is complete. He says,

This fire should be a wakeup call for Verizon of the dangers of these dead zones and spur them to quickly complete the urgently-needed new tower now under construction. While I appreciate Verizon heeding calls last year and beginning construction of a new cell tower, we need progress now to get cell service to South Uticans and adjacent New Hartford residents. Nobody should ever be put  in harm’s way because they can’t call 911 because of a cell phone dead zone. This is a fixable problem, and Verizon needs to deliver for the community like they promised they would.

Because of Schumer's efforts the progression of this construction has sped up and it will hopefully completed a lot sooner than it usually takes. Verizon engineers believe this tower will drastically improve service in both the village and the dreaded dead zone in South Utica.

The Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in New York State

Another year means another round of residents either moving to or leaving the state. While New York is seeing quite a few people flee the state, the majority of them appear to be leaving New York City.

A report from the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found NYC's population shrank by 5 percent since 2021.

The report also found that some of those city-dwellers relocated to towns just outside the Big Apple, which seems to be backed up by the latest Census data. In fact, 9 of the 10 cities with the fastest growing populations are within driving distance to NYC.

Gallery Credit: Megan

21 Adventures You Need to Add to Your Summer Bucket List

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

Cool Underground Tunnel Takes You Behind a Majestic Waterfall in New York

A cool underground tunnel takes you behind a waterfall in one New York State park.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

More From WIBX 950