The Oneida County Legislature and County Executive Anthony Picente have taken a step toward restarting the downtown Nexus project, laying the groundwork for a deal to be struck with the Aud Authority.

A resolution released by the county executive's office on Wednesday, labeled "Nexus Resolution," gives Picente the power to negotiate an agreement with the Aud Authority in order to restart the project, which has been idle since the fall because of a lack of funding. The resolution gives Picente authority to specifically, "negotiate and develop agreement(s) with the Authority to provide the necessary financial, contractual, or other support to the Authority for the Authority to obtain bond financing for the completion of the Nexus Project."

Furthermore, the county executive is authorized to review the findings of an economic study by Venue Solutions to "determine the most efficient and economical
means of assisting the Authority in completing the Nexus Project." The Legislature directed the use of "an appropriate portion of the increase in the Bed Tax and, if feasible, to engage in negotiations with the Authority for a financing agreement to complete the Nexus Project at a total project cost not to exceed $63 million," the resolution said.

The order also required that "if and agreement is reached" between Picente and the Aud Authority, it must be approved by the legislature before any money is released.

The unfinished Nexus Center in downtown Utica, as it stands today after construction was stalled in the fall. Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (Photo by Nancy L. Ford Photography for WIBX/TSM)

So far, Oneida County has paid more than $11 million to contractor Hueber-Breuer, which recently sued for the remaining $10 million after the project stalled because of a lack of available funds. The budget gap occurred after the economy shutdown last year due to the pandemic. New York State has committed at least $22 million as part of an economic development reimbursement grant.

The resolution acknowledged that the Nexus Center will generate significant tax revenue for the county once the project is complete, according to a study by Camoin & Associates. The center will work in conjunction with the Adirondack Bank Center in hosting youth travel sporting events for hockey, soccer and lacrosse. Once up and running, it's expected to draw hundreds of athletes and families to downtown Utica every weekend.

The resolution and expected agreement between Picente and the Aud Authority will open the door for the bond-selling process to begin, allowing for the finances to be generated to restart construction.

Read the full resolution by clicking here.

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