What a start to the New Year in Syracuse! News of several multi-million dollar developments planned for our region have caused quite the stir. The announcement by Governor Cuomo to allocate state funds to the tune of $30 million dollars for development and infrastructure improvements around Onondaga Lake could jump start much needed clean up and revitalization along the western shores of our lake. Even water taxi’s are on the table…
This all coming on the heels of development news for Destiny USA and the whole stadium debacle, it is hard to have any confidence in proposed economic development plans these days. Fortunately, wheels are already in motion on this detailed package:
Lakehouse Concert Pavilion-Performance Arts Center:
$50 million for the construction of a “Lakehouse Concert Pavilion” Performance Arts Center across from the New York State Fair Grounds in the Village of Solvay. Onondaga County would construct an indoor pavilion for up to 7,500 seats and a lawn area on a former landfill overlooking the lake.
$20 million for infrastructure improvements including improvements to wastewater treatment facilities and brownfield clean-up to open manufacturing sites for future business development.
Revitalization of Village of Solvay:
- $10 million for housing projects within Solvay including: $5 million for the construction of a new senior housing facility, and $5 million for leveraging against public/private funding of new housing projects and rehabilitation of existing housing projects;
- $1.8 million for road reconstruction and enhancement including: $1.2 million to enhance the intersection of Milton Ave and Bridge Street in the heart of the Solvay business district, and $600,000 to make streetscape enhancements from Cogswell Ave to Bailey Street in Solvay;
- $2 million for the demolition of blighted properties in targeted area of Solvay;
- $2 million in matching grants of up to $20,000 for residential homeowner improvements;
- $2 million in matching grants of up to $25,000 for business façade improvements on Milton Ave, Bridge Street, or Charles Ave; and
- $1 million for a competitive grant program for new businesses that open in the targeted economic development zone.
New York State Fair:
$7 million for Bridge Street streetscape improvements to link the Fair to the Lakefront.
$3 million for the completion of the Onondaga Creekwalk, an existing loop along the lake connecting the communities of Liverpool, Solvay, Lakeland and the City of Syracuse. The project is currently 75 percent completed.
Water Taxis in the Inner Harbor:
- $1 million for the creation of water taxi docks at Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse Inner Harbor and the Honeywell boat landing to allow water taxi travel to and from the Performing Arts Center
- $500,000 for the purchase of 5 water taxis The Onondaga Lake Revitalization program also includes a second phase of projects. Expected projects include $7.5 million for the reconstruction of Milton Avenue, which is in poor condition, from the City of Syracuse to Camillus. In addition, the program proposes $5 million for exterior improvements to the New York State Fairgrounds Campus such as signage, streetscapes, and bicycle access, as well as $2.5 million for wastewater treatment improvements to the New York State Fair that will incorporate green infrastructure and upgrade existing gray infrastructure.
These figures are taken from governor Cuomo’s recent press release: “Governor Cuomo Unveils Details of Onondaga Lake Revitalization Program That Will Create Economic Opportunity in Surrounding Communities“.
Clearly, the initiatives listed above are far beyond the 30 million state dollars planned to start this multi-phased revitalization effort. According to the press release, the remaining 60 million+ is anticipated to come from the federal government and casino money. In total, over 100 million dollars is planned to flow into these improvements over the course of the next few years.
Onondaga is a lake of opportunity. Connecting each of the dots on the above map will be the key to creating an environment where tourists and locals want to spend their time and money. Designing these improvements for people and their movement is vital to the successful revitalization of this under used portion of our city.
“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.”– Jane Jacobs
For a more personal view of Onondaga Lake and the massive potential that could be unlocked, check out: The Lakefront, a video created by SYRUP friend, Josh Zappola.