“The city has been a melting pot for well over a century,” reports Mayor Robert Palmieri.

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Utica, New York Featured Across North America in Business View Magazine

As a former textile-industrial town, Utica benefited hugely from the Erie Canal’s construction – much like Syracuse and Rochester. By 1845, the city was leading New York in the processing of southern cotton and knitted goods, having swelled to a population of 20,000, which was more than the populations of Chicago, Detroit, or Cleveland at the time. Utica, like so many other Rust Belt cities, faced a massive economic downturn in the mid-20th century due to offshoring and the decline of its once-booming textile sector. But, through it all, the city has made the most of a low cost of living, attracting immigrants and refugees from around the world. At the present, Utica is working to further embrace the concept of being a “host community,” to encourage growth for its cultural institutions and its expanding opportunities for commerce.

“The city has been a melting pot for well over a century,” reports Mayor Robert Palmieri. “Going back many years ago, the Italians, the Poles, the Germans, the Jews – all ethnic groups, really, migrated here and formulated Utica as their home. And each pocket of the city assumed its own neighborhood: the West Side was more of a German and Polish community; the East Side was predominantly Italian; the South Side was more Jewish and African American; and North Utica – one of the undeveloped areas going back over 100 years – really melted into all of it. That was the beginning of Utica as a modern industrialized city, and we’ve continued to be a city which is known as a welcoming community because of our history.”

Utica’s population has remained ethnically diverse, receiving many new influxes of immigrants and refugees since the 1990s. The estimated 4500 Bosnians that came to Utica after the Balkan conflict have transformed the look of the city, rehabilitating hundreds of vacant and abandoned homes in the Corn Hill and East Utica neighborhoods. “The second wave of immigration consisted of the Bosnians, the Burmese, and the Russians, which really manifested in changes to a lot of the older housing,” Palmieri confirms. “We’re known by our immigrant population as a very warm and giving place. We have an affinity for getting people from all over the world to come here and really feel that this is their home.”

Today, more than 42 languages are spoken in Utica’s schools, with Italian Americans making up a significant portion of the population.

Website: https://businessviewmagazine.com/utica-new-york-city-thats-making-happen/

Digital Magazine: https://businessviewmagazine.com/civil-municipal/sept-2021/37/

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