Utica awaits grant for outdoor shopping plaza

Mayor hopes plaza will be open by Burgoo Festival

The Batavia Boardwalk Shops officially opened for the season on Friday, May 20, 2022. All businesses are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through December 18, 2022.

The outdoor shopping plaza planned for the north end of Mill Street in Utica is expected to be delayed several months.

Though Springfield awarded Utica a matching grant earlier this year, Mayor David Stewart reported the village is waiting on a grant agreement. That is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2023. Engineering work and bids would follow.

“The timeline will be pushed back slightly,” Stewart said, expressing a fingers-crossed goal of getting the plaza open by the Burgoo Festival next October.

Grant funds will be used to build a plaza (working title: the Shoppes at Mill Street Market) of portable retail stalls at the northwest edge of downtown. The parcel was leveled by the 2004 tornado and would-be developers were scared off by flood-prone Clark’s Run to the north. A few brick-and-mortar proposals never came to fruition.

The village’s response was to propose seasonal, portable retail stalls that could be whisked away in case of flooding. The village proposes to own the portable structures and lease them to vendors from May to December. The project is modeled after outdoor retail plazas in Batavia and in Muskegon, Michigan.