Seniors are hopeful for a new downtown center

May 22, 2012

Some seniors are optimistic that a new senior center will rise in downtown Syracuse to replace the Ida Benderson Center that closed last fall due to budget cuts.

They're taking time to thank those who have helped them so far. Specifically, by serenading Syracuse common councilors.

The seniors were thanking the councilors for adding a quarter of a million dollars in seed money for a new downtown center in the recently passed budget.

They are optimistic that the cash, which will only be tapped after enough private donations are also collected, will help get a new center going.

"We believe in Syracuse and that the community will help us," said senior John Shepard. Fellow senior Dorothy Houston agreed, "We have a lot of willpower and we are working together. We have a lot of faith."

Councilor Nader Maroun says the clock on the cash starts ticking July 1, when the city's fiscal year begins.

"We have the year to raise the additional funding that's necessary to sustain this downtown senior center and then we would come back to council within that year and ask for that $250,000 to be allocated," Maroun said.

While the money was included in the unanimously passed budget, it was one of the reasons Mayor Stephanie Miner let the budget go into effect without signing it as a protest against the added spending.