There's no shortage of opinions about a proposed hospital in downtown Utica. Thursday night, dozens of people had the chance to share their thoughts.

The public hearing was led by the Utica planning board, which has been named lead agency in the state environmental quality review process.

Speakers who support the hospital said the downtown location will make health care more accessible to people in need, while those against the project say a hospital in that location would destroy a community that has a lot of potential.

"Those neighborhoods hold beauty and history that is unmatched whenever I travel to other cities," said Katie Martin, a Utica business owner. "To say there's nothing there, you hear that all the time, but then why did 35 to 40 property owners and businesses have to have an offer letter to leave?"

"With the removal of the older buildings and the new construction, it will provide opportunities for water system infrastructure upgrades and improvements," said Daniel Gilmore, the environmental health director with the Oneida County Health Department. 

Written comments can be submitted until June 20. The SEQR process is expected to be completed by the fall.