Monday, August 11, 2014

Immigrants Remake Utica

A New Life for Refugees, and the City They Adopted. (The New York Times, 8/10/2014)

A revived UticaThough precise numbers are hard to come by, perhaps as many as one-fourth of Utica’s population of 62,000 is made up of refugee families, according to Shelly Callahan, executive director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, a nonprofit group that has helped to resettle thousands of refugees for 35 years. The immigrants have been an economic engine for the city, starting small businesses, buying and renovating down-at-the-heels houses and injecting a sense of vitality to forlorn city streets.

Related reading:
Looking to Prosper as a Melting Pot; Utica, Long in Decline, Welcomes an Influx of Refugees.  (The New York Times, 5/7/1999)

Wonder if the NYT offered a correction to the 1960 population figure (see page 7).  After a decadeslong drain of factory jobs and people -- the city's population, which was 125,000 in 1960, dropped to 92,000 by 1975 and is now down to 64,000 -- city officials and local business leaders believe these refugees, many of whom were skilled professionals in their native lands, are Utica's best chance for prosperity. 

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