Onondaga County fleshed out details of the $100 million Onondaga Lake West project for residents of Solvay Wednesday night.
One of the highlights of the presentation was a virtual video tour of the lake view amphitheater, starting at a box office then winding down tree lined sidewalks, past a small amphitheater and festival grounds to the main amphitheater on Lakeview Point.
While that may be the most intriguing part of the project, it was the bricks and mortar plans that Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and experts spent the most time discussing -- like rehabilitating Bridge Street, and removing brownfield and infrastructure impediments to new business.
Mahoney says it’s that economic impact component that justifies the whole project.
“Those are things we know we need to do, and this project includes a commitment from the county to address those things, so jobs and people come back to Solvay,” said Mahoney.
Mahoney says that economic impact component was key to getting the state to contribute $30 million towards the project.
There are some opposed to the project. Sue Eiholzer of Jamesville handed out leaflets with the title, “The Lakeview Amphitheater Project, What’s the Rush?”
“Our concern at the moment is that it’s going through so fast without enough citizen comment on it. There’s a very short period of time, there’s only one public hearing,” said Eiholzer. “We think there should be more hearings and an extended time for people to comment.”
Eiholzer has environmental and economic questions about the project. In the end, Geddes Supervisor Manny Falcone says people shouldn’t worry, just get on board.
“My argument from the beginning is it’s coming anyway. We have no say. The governor wants it. The county exec’s in favor of it. So’s the county leg. So it’s happening. So we support it,” said Falcone.
But Eiholzer is also concerned that money spent on this plan could be spent on fixing roads and bridges. Mahoney says the county needs to look beyond that
“You certainly need your roads plowed and your roads paved, but you also need an attraction. Young people can go where ever they want to go and we want them to want to be here,” said Mahoney.
But there are still questions about some of the details of the project, like how concerts would be handled.
“It will be a public facility, but whether we will contract out to a promoter is an open question,” said Mahoney.
“We have made an offer to New York state, to become the grandstand for the State Fair, and there’s different iterations that are possible in that scenario, whether we would book concerts for the state, whether we would turn the facility over to the state and let the state book it’s grandstand concerts in that facility.”
Mahoney is hoping that work can begin on the project late this year.