An Oneida Photo Album

Under the EIS Scope adopted by the Town of Geneseo Planning Board for the Newman Development PDD application, Newman is required to study a community of similar size to Geneseo that has a Wal-Mart and a Lowe's. They chose the city of Oneida, New York which has a population of about 10,000 and is located on State Rt. 5 about 30 miles east of Syracuse.

The Draft EIS is expected to be submitted soon, so recently Corrin Strong and Bill Lofquist travelled to Oneida to get a sneak preview of the community. Both Corrin and Bill have written about their trip to Oneida in their weekly columns. You can find Corrin's here and Bill's here.

Oneida's Big Boxes

The Wal-Mart and Lowe's are located in the "Five Corners" section of Oneida where State Routes 5 and 365A come together. The Super Wal-Mart (below left) has been open since the mid-1990's and the 170,000 square foot Lowe's (below right) opened in December 2006.

Also in the plaza are a Sears Hardware store and a strip mall with smaller chain businesses. A Tractor Supply Center is across the street.


This Super Wal-Mart has been operating in Oneida since the mid-1990s. It provides a great financial boost to city finances since, unlike in Livingston County, the locality keeps half of the local share of sales tax collected in the city, or 2 cents out of every dollar of taxable sales. See Corrin's Clarion Call column on this subject. High security prison? The Oneida Lowe's has a tall chain link fence in the front around the garden center. Note the absence of landscaping in the parking lot, the height of the lights, and the absence of design features.

Main Street, Oneida

The Big Boxes are about three miles from downtown, a blighted area with many vacant storefronts. Efforts to attract new retail businesses have been unsuccessful. Attention has now turned to trying to attract other services.

One of the largest vacant properties downtown is the former Dowlings' Lumber and Hardware (left). Dowlings' Served Oneida for over 150 years from 1850 to 2006, before finally succumbing to the Big Box competition and closing just prior to the opening of Lowe's.

A large empty storefront on Main Street houses the former home of Salerno Brothers appliance store (right). The store which had been in business since 1927 closed recently.


A proud tradition ends: The sign shows the many items formerly offered for sale by a locally owned company, which now must be purchased at a Big Box. Not competitive? Appliances being sold by Sears and Lowe's in Big Boxes with plenty of parking on the edge of town make small family owned businesses like this obsolete.

Traffic in Oneida

The downtown area is devoid of traffic as shown in the picture below taken at about 5 pm on a weekday. Out on Route 5, however, there is plenty of traffic. See the picture at right taken about 5:30 P.M. on a weekday.

The state DOT required the developer who built the new Lowe's to make $1.1 million dollars in improvements to local highways. Rt. 365A at the corner of Rt. 5 now has four lanes.


Downtown Oneida: The center of the city is filled with many vacant storefronts. Notice the lack of traffic, the few parked cars, and the absence of parking meters. Left turns anyone? Traffic on Rt. 5 in Oneida is comparable to Rt. 20A in Geneseo with upwards of 20,000 cars a day using the road as of the most recent DOT count in 2004.

Oneida's Future: More Sprawl

Additional retail development next to the new Lowe's has been approved and is proceeding. (bottom left)

Adjacent homes and land zoned for retail development are also being advertised for sale. (bottom right)


And the sprawl goes on! Land next to Lowe's is bulldozed and ready for the next Big Box. Across the street from Lowe's. (sign enlarged for readability.)