Utica Business Park Renamed after LaPolla and Ford
The Utica Business Park was renamed after two people who played an integral part in its creation were honored.
Two large signs located at both entrances donning the name LaPolla and Ford were unveiled on Thursday as about 100 people gathered for the ceremony hosted by Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri, renaming the park the LaPolla & Ford Business Park.
Louis LaPolla, who was mayor of Utica from 1984 to 1995, and John Ford who was a longtime vice president and treasurer of Utica College, were two key leaders that made the business park a reality.
The land that is now the park was once the Utica College Golf Course until the 1980s, when the college faced the need to expand housing and Syracuse University, which Utica College at the time was affiliated with, was unwilling to invest the addition funds. Ford and then Mayor LaPolla worked together to eliminate the golf course and allow for the city to purchase the property which facilitated the college's expansion and ultimately the Utica Business Park.
LaPolla was one of Utica's longest running mayors and also served as the executive director of the Utica Municipal Housing Authority. He is a longtime member of the Utica School Board and currently serves as the board's president.
Ford, is credited with engineering the sale of the golf course. The endowment that was created from the sale provided the funds for the college to buy the old Ramada Inn, which today is still known as the Burrstone House. He was also instrumental in promoting Utica College to divest from Syracuse University and his 42 year investment in the College helped it grow to where it is today.