Irish Cultural Center Continues Progress

(The following is excerpted from an article written by Richard Barrett, Editor of A’CCENT Magazine, in its March 2018 issue)

“As we approach the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to provide an update on the progress of the long-anticipated Irish Cultural Center (ICC) in West Utica. I spoke with attorney and CPA Peter Karl III, president of the Great American Irish Festival and vice president and counsel to the Irish Cultural Center.

The finish line for completion is in sight. In fact, the Center may open in time for Boilermaker weekend, but definitely before the GAIF in late July. Karl said there will be events and activities at the new Center on the third day of the festival, following the traditional Sunday Mass, which is being held this year at St. Joseph’s Church instead of at the fairgrounds.

The ICC’s business model is a combination of non-profit and for-profit entities. The Center’s downstairs portion is designed for-profit and will include an authentic Irish pub that’s being built in Ireland and shipped over, due to arrive in late April or May. There will also be an event center with a capacity for 300, and local caterer, A Moveable Feast, will be moving in and setting up shop. The second-floor, non-profit space will feature an Irish museum showcasing local and revolving exhibits from other Irish cultural centers, as well as office space, meeting and reflection rooms, and a performance area for reading, poetry, and music. There’s also an outdoor courtyard with a fireplace, and parking for about 150 vehicles.

Karl wants to make clear that the authentic 19th century Irish pub is not a private club as has been rumored, and will in fact be open to the public. The name, Ye Olde Five Points Tavern, was chosen because of the center’s location where five streets converge. It’s also the site of Utica’s first Catholic church, named after St. Patrick. Talk about the luck of the Irish.

Karl had more good news. The Center will have a positive economic impact on the area by contributing both property and sales taxes from the tavern and catering businesses on the for-profit side, plus income tax from the 40 jobs that will be created when it opens.”

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