UTICA — Questions about timelines, site development and the future of Utica’s existing hospitals were among those asked during a presentation Wednesday night on plans for a new downtown hospital.

Chief Operating Officer of Mohawk Valley Health System Robert Scholefield and Kim Way with NBBJ architectural firm presented the project’s site plan during Wednesday’s Utica Common Council meeting. The site plan was first unveiled last month.

"We've met with large groups, small groups and individuals generally on getting the community's perspective on the project — what's important to them, what's not important — and really try to capture that in terms of thinking in the bigger context of the city and the site," Way said.

An ongoing question has been that of property acquisition, which was raised again during Wednesday’s meeting. The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is finalizing the appraisals of the affected properties; Scholefield said that owners of properties with completed appraisals should be receiving letters this week.

Asked about what could happen with the Mohawk Valley Health System’s existing hospital campuses — St. Elizabeth’s and St. Luke’s — Scholefield said hospital officials will consider repurposing those facilities. Councilman Ed Bucciero, D-at-large, said he hopes to hear a more concrete answer in the future.

“At some point, you’re going to have to start to formulate what services you’re going to provide at existing locations throughout our community and how they’re going to affect not only this development, but health care services in our community,” he said.

Bucciero was also concerned with the existing businesses, saying city and hospital officials should work together to reach out to affected businesses and offer incentives for them to stay in Utica.

On the project’s parking garage, Councilman Mark Williamson, D-at-large, asked whether there is any resolution as to whether the city will share in the garage’s revenue to offset the city’s costs for the garage. Councilman Jack LoMedico, D-at-large, separately encouraged developers to rethink the placement of the parking garage somewhere to better benefit the greater downtown area other than users of the hospital and the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Scholefield said the garage’s placement was decided after a number of traffic impact evaluations.

“We’re waiting and hoping that the Common Council and the county legislators can come to their agreement and we will do whatever it is we can to help that,” he said to Williamson. “It really isn’t in your hands at this point. I really think your (memorandum of understanding) needs to be finalized.”

A few members of the public spoke regarding the hospital project during the meeting’s public comment period. Two community forums are scheduled Thursday at the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre in Utica.

Though he was not present at Wednesday’s meeting, Common Council President Michael Galime encouraged his fellow legislators — in an email to the council and media prior to the meeting — to keep the city’s tax base, private property owners and other factors in mind as the project moves forward.

“At this time, this proposal is claimed to be final, but there are still a wealth of questions and an unknown financial liability placed on the city, and its property owners alike,” Galime said in the statement. “ We are not board members for the hospital, we are not elected at the county level, we are not employees of (Mohawk Valley EDGE). We are elected to represent the City of Utica. For the Council, when assessing the presentation, the priorities of the City of Utica must come first.”

Contact reporter Greg Mason at 315-792-5074 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Mason).