WWE – Saturday, March 23

We are excited to host the WWE Live Road to WrestleMania this Saturday, March 23.   To enhance your experience here at the Adirondack Bank Center, we wanted to make you aware of various event day policies and procedures.  Please review the information below and please don’t hesitate to contact us at 315-790-9070 with any questions. 


Box Office Information:

  • The Box Office is located inside the Labatt Blue Entrance
  • Box Office Hours
    • Thursday, March 21 9am – 5pm
    • Friday, March 22 9am – 8pm
    • Saturday, March 23 12pm – 9pm
  • We encourage all fans to pick up their will call tickets ahead of the event to ensure a smooth and quick entry process



  • The Adirondack Bank Center operates two parking lots behind the building with entrances on Whitesboro Street. These lots will have limited parking available for $5.
  • There will be no street parking between Broadway and Auditorium Drive on Whitesboro Street during this event.


Event Timeline:

  • WWE Live Road to WrestleMania will start at 7:30 pm. Doors into the arena will open at 6:00 pm.  The event is expected to end at approximately 10:00pm.


Prohibited Items:

  • The following items are prohibited by WWE for all events:
    • Bags and Briefcases
    • Backpacks
    • Women’s Purses **Only small clutch bags are allowed**
    • Video Cameras or Recording Devices
    • Laser Pointers or Noise Makers
    • Weapons of any kind
    • Alcoholic Beverages, Illegal Drugs or Paraphernalia
    • Selfie Sticks
    • Lap Top Computers or Tables
    • Coolers
    • Luggage of any kind
    • Camera Bags
    • Masks (only WWE brand masks will be permitted)

*Any Items brought into the venue can be carried in clear plastic bags (or gallon size Ziploc bags)

*All patrons entering the venue will be subject to metal detector or hand-held wand screening and a bag check

*There is no re-entry allowed at the venue


Finally, fans looking to grab a bite to eat prior to WWE Live have an array of options within a mile from the Adirondack Bank Center:

  • Aqua Vino Restaurant $$$ (Italian) – 16 Harbor Lock Rd, Utica NY
  • Babe’s at Harbor Point $ (American/Fast Casual) – 80 N Genesee St, Utica NY
  • 72 Tavern & Grill (attached to the Adirondack Bank Center) $$ (Burgers/Bar Bites) – 400 Oriskany St W, Utica NY

Patrons are encouraged to make reservations at all the above establishments to ensure a prompt arrival time at WWE Live!

Boilermaker, Utica Comets Partner Again on 2019 Erie Canal Race

For the second consecutive year, the Boilermaker Road Race has partnered with the Utica Comets and the Adirondack Bank Center on the Erie Canal Race presented by Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company, which is set to take place on Sunday, May 19th, 2019.

All events, which include a half marathon, a two-person relay and a 5K will finish on the arena floor of the Adirondack Bank Center. The races will be followed by a post-race party open to runners, spectators and the community. Concessions will be for sale including Saranac products.

“Last year’s race was a great proof of concept and we look forward to building on this truly unique event,” said Boilermaker Marketing Director, Jordan Peters. “The Comets and Adirondack Bank Center staff have been tremendous partners on this event. Everything they do is first class and hosting this event has proven to be no exception.”

Registration for all Erie Canal Events is currently underway. All event information, including how to register, is available at eriecanalhalf.com.   

Utica City FC, Major Arena Soccer League Team, Coming To Utica

Commissioner of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) Joshua Schaub announced today that an MASL franchise will call the Adirondack Bank Center its home, beginning this 2018-19 season. CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden Robert Esche followed the announcement with the unveiling of the team name – Utica City FC – along with the team logos and jersey design. Utica City FC will join 17 other teams across the United States, Canada, and Mexico in the most competitive indoor soccer league in the world.

The press conference, held at 72 Tavern and Grill, featured an overview of the MASL, the presentation of the Utica City FC’s brand, and remarks from Commissioner Schaub. Esche also announced the appointment of Tommy Tanner as General Manager and Richard Shaw as Broadcaster/Media & Brand Manager. 

Tanner comes to Utica City FC with the Syracuse Silver Knights, where he served as their General Manager since 2011 after retiring from a 14-year professional indoor and outdoor soccer career. During his career, Tanner spent eight years as Captain of the Rochester Rhinos, and won himself seven championships. 

Shaw, a native of Northwestern England and graduate of Le Moyne College, also experienced a successful collegiate and professional soccer career before turning his attention to growing the grassroots of soccer. During his college playing career, he was an NJCAA Division I National Champion, All-American, and a three-time MVP. He also co-wrote Coaching Outside the Box: Changing the Mindset in Youth Soccer with U.K. sport scientist Paul Mairs. Shaw is also a commentator for Division I college soccer on ESPN.

“This is a positive step for arena soccer and for the MASL,” expressed Schaub. “Utica fans are passionate about their hometown teams and Tommy (Tanner) has put together a competitive and exciting product that fans from the entire region will support. If they like hockey, they’ll love arena soccer. I am excited about what Robert (Esche) and his team can do with Utica City and how that will propel the league forward.”

I am very excited to help bring professional soccer to the City of Utica,” expressed Tanner. “Utica City FC and its players will become a staple in the local community. I cannot wait till for season to begin.”

“From my first meeting with Rob Esche, Pat Donovan, and Tommy Tanner, it was clear that the plans for Utica City FC would bring something special to the area,” said Richard Shaw. “The professionalism of this new franchise, along with what it can potentially do for the growth of the sport in the surrounding communities, is why I am involved.”

“It’s an honor to bring another sports brand – Utica City FC – to what is an extremely deserving area,” said Esche. “I look forward to resonating with the entirety of our city through the sport of soccer, a sport that has finally hit a tipping point of popularity throughout the country and a sport that speaks an international language, helping to galvanize the voice of our refugee community.”

“I’m really excited about the new franchise in Utica, and to see how the fans and community embrace us as an organization committed to making a difference both on and off the field,” expressed defender Darren Toby.

Bank of Utica, Empire Recycling, and Merrill Lynch, Utica City FC’s three founding partners, were instrumental in bringing the team to Utica. 

Utica City FC will play 24 games throughout their season, with 12 of those games taking place at the Adirondack Bank Center. The MASL season runs from December through March, with playoffs to crown the Ron Newman Cup Champion. 

Season Ticket packages, starting at $80, will be available beginning on Thursday, June 14, at noon. Season Tickets can be purchased at the Adirondack Bank Center box office or online at empirestatetix.com. Please call 315-790-9070 for more information. 

Prior to December, camps and clinics featuring an array of professional indoor players will take place throughout Utica and the surrounding areas.

Fans are encouraged to visit uticacityfc.com and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for ticket information, news and announcements, information on camps and clinics, merchandise, and more about Utica City FC. 

The Major Arena Soccer League represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The MASL is currently incorporated as a 501(c)6 not for profit corporation formed to promote the business and sport of arena soccer.

Multi Grammy-Award Winners Alabama to Hit the Adirondack Bank Center on November 10

CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden Robert Esche announced today that multi Grammy-award winning country band Alabama will perform at the Adirondack Bank Center on Saturday, November 10, at 7:30 pm, on their ‘The Hits Tour 2018.’

Tickets for Alabama go on sale Friday, June 15, beginning at 10 am EST, at the Adirondack Bank Center’s box office. You may also purchase tickets by visiting empirestatetix.com or by calling 315-790-9070. Tickets prices range from $34.75 to $129.75. Relevant presale information will be distributed later this week.

Alabama, a famed American country and Southern rock band, is a world-renowned trio comprised of Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook, who are known for their hits “Mountain Music,” “Song of the South,” “Dixieland Delight,” and more. They have created 21 straight #1 singles, a record that many think will never be broken, and have sold over 72 million albums throughout their almost-50-year career. The trio was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Alabama recently announced their “The Hits Tour” which will stop in cities nationwide and revolve around the band’s 43 #1 singles. This will be Alabama’s first stop in Utica.

Alabama is yet another exciting announcement for the Adirondack Bank Center, which recently underwent a $10.55-million-dollar renovation and expansion project that included the addition of suites, loge seating, and 72 Tavern and Grill, a new restaurant attached to the venue.

“We’re honored and excited to host a band as renowned as Alabama at the Adirondack Bank Center, especially on Veteran’s Day weekend,” said CEO of MVG Robert Esche. “We are looking forward to a great show and another memorable milestone for the epicenter of sports and entertainment in the Mohawk Valley.”

Be sure to visit adkbankcenter.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information.

Multi-Platinum Selling MercyMe’s “The Imagine Nation Tour” To Visit the Adirondack Bank Center This Fall

Utica, N.Y. – 5X GRAMMY® nominated MercyMe’s “The Imagine Nation Tour” with longtime friends Tenth Avenue North will make a stop at the Adirondack Bank Center on November 2, 2018 as a part of their 20-city nationwide tour.

Tickets will go on sale Friday, March 23 at 10 a.m at the Adirondack Bank Center Box Office. You can also purchase tickets by visiting empirestatetix.com or by calling 315-790-9070.

The award-winning groups will bring a bevy of fan-favorite songs. MercyMe promises performances of many of the favorites on their newest music release, I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best Of MercyMe, including “I Can Only Imagine,” “Greater” and “Shake” along with their most recent No. 1, “Even If.” Tenth Avenue North will share songs from their latest album Followers including “I Have This Hope” and “Control” along with the hits “By Your Side,” “Worn” and more.

“The Imagine Nation Tour” will be a reprise of the fan-garnering line-up which made sold out visits this winter. Among them, a sold-out stop at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium.

“I Can Only Imagine” (Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions), a true story based on the life of MercyMe frontman Bart Millard who wrote the mega-hit song after the loss of his father to cancer, opened in theaters on Friday, March 16. The highly anticipated film stars Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, J. Michael Finley, Madeline Carroll, Priscilla Shirer, Cloris Leachman and more.

About MercyMe

Since their debut in 2001, GRAMMY® nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove

Award winners MercyMe have sold more than 9 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered more than 57 No. 1 multi-format radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with “I Can Only Imagine,” (No. 4 AC/Top 25 on Top 40/Hot AC), “Here With Me” (No. 4 AC), “Homesick” (Top 10 AC) and “So Long Self.” MercyMe made history in 2014 as “I Can Only Imagine” surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. The album containing the hit, Almost There, recently received triple platinum certification from the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s “Word Of God Speak” the No. 1 Song of The Decade and the group the No. 1 Artist of the Decade in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories, recognizing them as one of the industry’s most notable talents. They have sold out venues throughout the US and Canada, including Radio City Music Hall, and have appeared on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, FOX New Channel’s FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today and more. MercyMe’s eighth studio album, the RIAA Certified Gold Welcome To The New, garnered two GRAMMY® nods and four radio hits. LIFER, their latest charttopping, GMA Dove Award winning and GRAMMY® nominated album, includes the RIAA certified gold, GRAMMY® nominated smash hit “Even If” which dominated the Billboard and

Mediabase radio charts with a 19-week streak at No. 1.  It continues to be a landmark year for the current GMA Dove Award titled “Artist Of The Year.” A major motion picture based on the life of frontman Bart Millard who wrote the mega-hit song “I Can Only Imagine” after the loss of his father to cancer opened in theaters on Mar. 16, 2018 (Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions) starring Dennis Quaid among others. Carrying the same name, Millard’s first memoir released last month. I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best Of MercyMe is available now.

Dunkin’ Donuts Named Official Coffee of Adirondack Bank Center and Utica Comets

Dunkin’ Donuts has been named the official coffee of the Utica Comets and Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, which will now serve Dunkin’ Donuts signature coffee during all events through September of 2022.  The announcement was made today during the official first brew at the Adirondack Bank Center.

Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffee, iced coffee and hot chocolate will be available during all Adirondack Bank Center events beginning on Friday, March 9, when the Comets host the Springfield Thunderbirds at the Adirondack Bank Center.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is thrilled to make our signature hot coffee, iced coffee and hot chocolate available during all games and future events at the Adirondack Bank Center,” said Dunkin’ Donuts Integrated Marketing Manager Eric Stensland. “We are extremely proud to be the official coffee of both the Comets and the Utica Pioneers men’s and women’s hockey programs in this great city. Dunkin’ Donuts cherishes the opportunity to keep Utica fans running while attending games and enjoying the many events at the Adirondack Bank Center.”

Comets President Robert Esche and Comets Captain Carter Bancks joined Stensland and other Dunkin’ Donuts representatives for the ceremonial first pour, which took place in a concession at the Adirondack Bank Center. The event was also attended by Jeff Stone, President of ORB Food & Beverage and by Utica College Men’s Hockey Head Coach Gary Heenan and Women’s Hockey Head Coach Dave Clausen.

“We’re extremely excited to have Dunkin’ Donuts partner with the Comets and the Adirondack Bank Center for the next five years,” said Comets President Robert Esche. “Aligning ourselves with a national brand like Dunkin’ Donuts will further enhance the overall fan experience at the Adirondack Bank Center.”

The first official cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will be one of many brewed in the Adirondack Bank Center over the next five years.  The 3,924-seat, National Historic Engineering Landmark is home to the AHL’s Utica Comets, Utica College Pioneers Men’s and Women’s hockey programs, and the Utica Jr. Comets youth hockey organization. The venue also recently underwent a large-scale, 26,000-square foot construction endeavor that added a luxury seating wing, additional women’s restrooms, ADA-compliant amenities, and more.

“The addition of Dunkin’ Donuts to ORB Food & Beverage’s repertoire at the Adirondack Bank Center is exciting not only for the Adirondack Bank Center but for Utica as a whole,” said Jeff Stone, President of ORB Food & Beverage, the company that operates the concessions at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The recent partnership with the Utica Comets, Utica Pioneers men’s and women’s hockey programs and the Adirondack Bank Center is part of a long-term commitment from Dunkin’ Donuts to both the Utica community and the sport of hockey. Dunkin’ Donuts is also proud to serve as an official sponsor of both the National Hockey League and National Women’s Hockey League.

Syracuse Stars Junior & Midget Teams Relocating to Adirondack Bank Center

Utica Comets President Robert Esche announced today that Syracuse Stars will relocate three of their teams – USPHL NCDC (Tuition Free), Premier, and U-18 Tier 1 – to the Adirondack Bank Center for the 2018-19 season. The United States Premier Hockey League is the largest hockey league in the United States and places hundreds of players in the collegiate ranks each year.

Esche and Stars Owner Don Kirnan worked together to bring the three teams down the thruway to Utica, where they will add another layer of tenants to the historic home of the Comets, Utica College Pioneers, and Jr. Comets.

The Stars play in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), and participate in both regular season games, showcase tournaments, and playoffs. The regular season consists of approximately 60 games, split between home and away. Teams are located across the northeast, with players from all over the world.

The acquisition of the three Stars junior teams is another step forward for the partnership between the Comets and Stars, and a testament to the longstanding relationship between Esche and Kirnan. The two have known each other for over 20 years, when Esche was coached by Kirnan during his time playing with the Syracuse Stars Junior team. The Stars began partnering with the Jr. Comets last winter, when members of the Jr. Comets Peewee team traveled to Quebec City as part of the Syracuse Stars. The partnership continued up north to Quebec earlier this month. And for the Jr. Comets, the relocation of the Stars teams to Utica further aligns the players with the USPHL for their future hockey careers.

“In building the Stars program over 30 years, I feel totally confident that Rob Esche and Nicole Kirnan have the vision and experience to bring youth and junior hockey to the best place ever in Central New York,” said Don Kirnan.

“It’s always an honor when you can partner on the sport that you love with a leader like Don Kirnan,” said Esche. “This partnership is extremely exciting to me personally as it will not only bring kids from all over the world to be billeted in Utica but will also add another element of tutelage for the younger hockey players as well.”

Esche and Kirnan will spend the Spring and Summer organizing the transition of the teams from Syracuse to Utica. This will include scheduling of ice, allocating space at the Adirondack Bank Center, overall marketing efforts, community endeavors, and billeting needs. The Adirondack Bank Center is now home to hockey programs ranging all the way from Mites to Juniors to College to Professional.

Finally, the additional tenant at the Adirondack Bank Center could not have come at a more opportune time, as plans for the Nexus Center continue to move forward. The future of a tournament-based sports recreation facility shines much brighter with a neighbor just next door housing all levels of hockey. The Adirondack Bank Center and Nexus Center can truly exist in a mutualistic fashion, possible primarily through the sport of hockey thriving and growing in downtown Utica.

Syracuse Stars’ Tier 1 U-16 Tier 1 team will continue to play out of Syracuse. 

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Jr. Comets: www.uticajrcomets.com

Stars: www.syracusestars.com 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

November 1, 2017, the Adirondack Bank Center opened its doors for the Utica Comets fifth season home opener. Despite a shootout loss, the night was one of the more special ones to take place at The AUD, with an array of new amenities and game day events that tied together the start of hockey season with the 26,000-square foot West End Expansion.




The Upper Mohawk Valley Auditorium Authority hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony inside the newly remodeled Adirondack Bank Center’s Labatt Blue Ticket Entrance before the Utica Comets home opener last night.

The ceremony was attended by Comets General Manager Ryan Johnson, AHL Executive Vice President Chirs Nikolis, the AUD Authority, elected officials, and the Comets staff & family. Senator Joe Griffo, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, County Executive Anthony Picente, and Mayor Robert Palmeri all spoke, universally acknowledging the helping hands of many who pushed forward to complete the project in an expedited manner.

“You have to see it to believe it,” said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. “This is a project I strongly believed in from day one, and there are many who helped make it a reality. The best way to appreciate what has been accomplished is to come down and see the new Adirondack Bank Center for yourself. The AUD has been, and will continue to be a significant part of downtown Utica’s growth and bright future, and these renovations will be a significant drawing card to the center city.”

“The ribbon cutting seamlessly tied together the work of those who are truly responsible for the success of the West End Expansion Project,” added Comets President Robert Esche. “Without the helping hands of the AUD Authority and elected officials, the project would never have been possible, especially to the level we were able to complete it at.”




The highly anticipated fifth season of Comets hockey opened to elated crowds at the newly remodeled Adirondack Bank Center on Wednesday night. 

Construction on the site began less than 200 days prior, and fans could only wonder what was happening inside as they passed by their beloved building on their daily commutes.  But as soon they entered the building with wide eyes and big smiles, it soon became an organic family reunion of sorts. The electric energy was felt by all in attendance – an attendance that set a new record in the history of The AUD.

“I thought it was really impressive, seeing the renovations for the first time,” said Tim Fitzgerald, five-year season ticket member. “The suites look as good as what you might see in an NHL arena and the whole building had a good vibe. I think we have a quality team playing in a quality building. I’m excited to see how this team progresses. They’ve got some good talent and I think as they get familiar playing with each other they could be dangerous come playoffs.”

“Remember the anticipation of your childhood birthday or knowing Santa would arrive while you are sleeping?” proclaimed fan Cheryllyn Tallman. “You weren’t sure what to expect but there was always the hope of something new and exciting. That’s the experience of walking into the new and definitely improved Adirondack Bank Center. The changes were welcoming and the returning happy faces from all those that work there were a very welcome sight. Excitement and anticipation were certainly felt within the crowds of fans. From the familiar chanting of U-TI-CA to the sea of Comets gear roaming the halls, it was a stellar night all around.”

The pregame ceremony highlighted the past, present and future of Comets hockey with over 30 youth hockey skaters joining the Comets players on the ice forming a “U” around center ice. A special video tribute played throughout the arena, paying homage to the history of the Comets as flags streaked out from tunnels featuring various Comets logos. 

Last night was also the first time that fans were able to enter through the AUD plaza, explore the renovated Labatt Blue Ticket Entrance, visit the women’s restrooms, and enjoy the new suite wing of The AUD, featuring six executive suites as well as Zuhaus, the loge seating area.

“I think the renovations to the outside of the building give it a clean modern look that makes a great impression and I like how open the outside plaza area is,” said Brett Vanderlan, a five-year Season Ticket Member. “Everything feels updated and fresh inside, especially the lobby. The suites look great and look as if they were always meant to be a part of the building.”

The outcome on the ice may not have ended in the Comets favor but the first night back home will be remembered by fans for years to come.


The history of beer in Utica is a rich one, dating back to the 1800s. Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. is looking to bring history to the present and carry it through the future with the American Craft Beer Museum and Innovation Center.

Unveiled on May 16 by Picente, along with Mohawk Valley Garden CEO Robert Esche, The U District encompasses the area beginning at The AUD and stretching East to Bagg’s Square and contains concepts for an American Craft Beer Museum and Innovation Center, Utica Commons Casino, Nexus Center and more. The core goal of The U District is to connect rising local businesses and attractions to create a walkable, modern and plentiful region of growth.

With the number of breweries in New York State exploding from 95 in 2012 to 320 in 2016, and production increasing by 26% during that time, New York has established itself as a major national player in the industry. In fact, New York was the fifth largest beer producing state behind California, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Oregon in 2016, and its craft beer industry is currently ranked fourth in the country with an economic impact of $4 billion. Included in those breweries are Oneida County’s own F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, Woodland Farm Brewery in Marcy, Copper City Brewing Company in Rome and 16 Stone Brewpub in Holland Patent. This makes it easy to see that brewing has become a large facet of local entrepreneurship that deserves a platform for exposure.

The proposed American Craft Beer Museum and Innovation Center will span over 100,000 square feet of building and outdoor space and feature an Exhibition Hall, an Innovation Center and Incubator, an Artisan Marketplace, a Beer Garden and more. The space has a projected 500,000 annual visitors and the potential to create over 200 jobs, both of which add to the core goal of increasing foot traffic in downtown Utica while maximizing employment.


The museum portion of the facility will feature interchangeable and interactive exhibits on every topic relating to craft brewing; including tastings, demonstrations and nano-brewing on site. The outdoor Beer Garden will be the ideal green space for private events or to enjoy a cold beer after work with your peers. The Innovation Center will be committed to the growth of start-ups in the craft beer, spirits and related industries.

In the U.S. alone, there exists over 35,000 museums covering an array of topics – but none for craft beer. With the average adult consuming 28.2 gallons of beer annually, it is an industry that is not only relevant to the country, but also to Oneida County. The proposed Craft Beer Museum and Innovation Center would directly correlate to the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, located less than a mile from The U District. The brewery, which was established in 1888, is well known for being the first to sell a beer after the end of Prohibition — it’s popular Utica Club pilsner —  as well as for its extensive tours of its facility.

The museum will highlight the history of F.X. Matt, as well as other local microbreweries and brew pubs, while also educating locals and visitors on the complex processes regarding the brewing of craft beers. Adding the museum to Utica will merely enhance the traffic through F.X. Matt, as it will be a natural progression for patrons to visit both facilities. The museum element of The U District will promote entrepreneurship and innovation and tie into the foot traffic from The Nexus Center, the Utica Commons Casino and the existing traffic from the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

“Nothing links sports and entertainment together quite as well as beer, and this is a great opportunity to showcase the intricacies of a rising industry while experiencing all Utica has to offer,” said Robert Esche.

While a craft beer museum would be a first for the nation, it seems fitting that it would exist in Utica – not only in the former hops Capitol of America, but also a city experiencing a tangible resurgence.  Placing the museum in The U District creates linkage between Bagg’s Square East and West and the Arts, Sports and Entertainment District, ultimately creating a walkable epicenter. The museum will act as another catalyst in driving the critical masses and emphasizing the principal goals of The U District.