Miner's stadium task force sits down, without key voices

Feb 26, 2014

Syracuse’s recently created stadium task force sat down together for the first time Tuesday. Its job is to take a deeper look at the idea of a new athletic venue in the city that the mayor put the brakes on a few months ago.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner had too many unanswered questions to get behind a new stadium for Syracuse University next to the Kennedy Square redevelopment project on the city’s Near Eastside.

It was reported early this year that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at the university and Onondaga County's suggestion, was ready to put $200 million of state money behind the project.

Instead, the county and Cuomo moved on to funding a new amphitheater on the western shore of Onondaga Lake.

The three parties with the most information about the proposal: the governor, county and Syracuse University all declined to appoint people to the task force.

"We have a limited amount of information" to work with, Miner said, who admitted that they’re in an “awkward” position.

"We are going to ask questions, and I think that we’re going to get answers where there are answers," she said after the meeting. "And where there are not answers, that will illuminate issues as well."

Bobby Gaulden lives nearby and is on the task force as a designee of Assemblyman Sam Roberts. His concerns over the project relate to the neighborhood's residents and the impact on property owners already there.

"The traffic. I’m concerned about the park over here for the kids," Gaulden said. "I’m concerned, just as far as our taxes as a whole, as a community."

Miner says the university has offered up its consultant on the project and will answer the questions it can.

Even Upstate Hospital, which controls the Kennedy Square redevelopment project across the street, says it didn’t know about the stadium idea – even though the two projects have the same developer, said interim hospital president Dr. Greg Eastwood, who is on the panel.

Miner says she doesn't have an exact timeline of when the task force will have its findings.