Archive for the ‘Economic Sustainability’ Category

Goal 1: Economic Sustainability

This is the first of a three-part introduction that will lay the foundation for this blog’s ethos: creating a progressive and sustainable Central New York community. Here we will focus initially on economic sustainability, with the understanding that this encompasses more than just creating jobs.

When we speak of economic sustainability, we really mean creating and maintaining long-term jobs in high-growth industries which recognize that our cities are in a state of great change, and seize on the opportunity to explore new technologies and embrace sustainable growth.

The second part of economic sustainability focuses on, of course, sustainability. Syracuse has already bestowed on itself the title of “Emerald City”, now it is time to live up to our new motto. Below is a non-exhaustive list of several steps that could/should be taken in order to advance the goals of economic sustainability. These goals and others will build the foundation for discussions on this blog.

Ten Goals for Economic Sustainability

  1. Create one cohesive umbrella organization which can effectively advocate on behalf of the various neighborhood and economic development groups sprinkled throughout the city, which include: Armory Square, Eastwood Neighborhood Association, Greater Strathmore Neighborhood Association, Lincoln Hill Association, Near West Side Initiative, Outer Comstock Neighborhood Association, Sedgwick Farm Neighborhood Association, Tipperary Hill Neighborhood Association, Westcott East Neighborhood Association and all of the  various community watch, religious groups and others we haven’t mentioned.
  2. Cultivate high-growth industry clusters throughout the city. We should refuse to accept WalMart development deals which do not create long-term jobs which pay a living wage, economic sustainability or a focus on the future.
  3. Invest in our area’s economic infrastructure, which includes fulfilling the long-discussed goal of a major transportation terminal.
  4. Create a city-wide bikeway system, which would encourage the use of bicycles for commuting and reduce traffic and alleviate parking issues.
  5. Ensure that rapid rail and commuter rail lines promote public transportation and change the way we think about cars and trains.
  6. Invest in a public internet structure which provides free wireless internet throughout the city, giving all people who have computers access to information. This needs to be coupled with more access to computers for those without them.
  7. Target specific industries for infrastructure investments, including biomedical research, media, arts and culture, and green energy research (solar, wind, etc.).
  8. Establish more green space and parks and making sure that impoverished neighborhoods have as many parks as the wealthier neighborhoods.
  9. Tear down I-81.
  10. Create an urban land bank which would allow the government to create shovel-ready sites to those industries targeted for infrastructure support.

This list is not meant to be complete, and is certainly open for a lot of debate (on the I-81 issue, see Onondaga Citizens League). Feel free to join in.


    POMCO’s new proposal…a perfect example


    Over at Walkable Eastwood there is a great post on POMCO’s proposal to tear down the old “Ausman” building and replace it with a two-story mixed-use building, i.e. part parking garage, part office space. This is a perfect example of what keeping our “eyes on the street” means. A basic principle of planning is that you do not want to turn a building inward, you do not want it facing away from the street.

    POMCO’s proposal calls for the first floor to be a 17-space parking garage with windows (probably opaque) and the second floor to contain office space. The rear part of the building will contain additional parking that will connect with Walgreen’s parking lot. This raises two questions: (1) is parking a huge problem in Eastwood and (2) is this type of development given tacit acceptance by residents because the status quo is untenable?

    The current state of the “Ausman” building is a major eyesore on these re-developed blocks of Eastwood. But should residents just accept a business proposal for renovation because there is nothing better likely to come along?

    This same question is coincidentally being raised at the other end of Eastwood, where Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll is proposing a demolition of the old Steak and Sundae building. Mayor Driscoll’s plan calls for demolition and development of the site as green space until an appropriate commercial tenant for the site can be identified.

    Driscoll’s rationale for the demolition belies the current development taking place at the other end of Eastwood:

    Clearly, the investment community has viewed this area as a difficult place to make an investment in, and in fact, has not.  There needs to be some kind of compromise to find a new balance.

    All this leaves us with the decision of what kind of neighborhood do the Eastwood residents want to see developed. One that gives favor to commercial tenants like Papa Johns and Dunkin Donuts, or one that encourages sustainable development by companies that bring many long-term jobs to the area.

    These questions play themselves out around the county in various forms. Our opinion is that in order to foster economic sustainability, places like Eastwood need to be united in their opposition to accepting the first commercial tenant that comes along, and need to raise expectations for businesses that would like to be a part of our communities.

    Welcome to Eyes On The Street

    OpensignWelcome and feel free to check out our About page for a background on Eyes On The Street. Right away I think it’s important to establish what we hope to get out of this blog and this community. As a resident of Syracuse and Central New York, I believe we all basically want the same things: job security, affordable housing, quality education and safe streets. The trick is how do we make all that happen in a world that is changing by the minute?

    The answer can be constructed by first identifying some basic goals. From there we can explore different strategies, steps and priorities to achieve those goals. The three goals that I believe we should all share are: economic sustainability, intergovernmental reform and neighborhood revitalization. You will see in later posts that from these three basic goals, we have the essential building blocks of a strong community.

    I hope you will stick around for this journey, and I certainly welcome comments, suggestions and questions either in the comment section or by e-mail: