Syracuse

7:10am

Fri July 6, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Did Destiny USA ruin it for other developers in Syracuse?

Syracuse's Destiny USA shopping mall will remain just a mall.
Destiny USA

There's an old promotional video the developer behind the Destiny USA megamall released several years ago. It includes images of glass-enclosed golf courses, huge hotels and helicopter tours of upstate taking off from Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

Despite ending by promising "grand opening, summer 2004," you won't see any of that on the shores of Onondaga Lake today.

All you'll see is an even bigger mall - despite developer Robert Congel winning a 30-year property tax break worth about $600 million as an incentive from the city to build the Disney Land-like attraction.

Read more

3:30pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Health

Upstate Cancer Center construction under way

Ellen Abbott WRVO

The first of 550 tons of steel beams has been pounded into the foundation of the new Upstate Cancer Center in Syracuse.  Up to now, most of the work has been prepping the area next to the existing hospital entrance.  

Read more

8:54am

Tue June 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Syracuse cautiously approves Inner Harbor plans

COR Development has been awarded the contract to rebuild Syracuse's Inner Harbor.
scottwdw via Flickr

For COR Development President Steve Aiello, Monday's vote by the Syracuse Common Council was a long time coming.

Aiello's firm was selected earlier this year to redevelop the city's Inner Harbor. Then it was granted a memorandum of understanding from the council in February.

But it wasn't until yesterday that the council officially voted in favor of Aiello's $350 million proposal.

Read more

4:31pm

Fri June 15, 2012
Politics and Government

Gillibrand talks election year politics

While visiting Syracuse today to promote a new bill to help small businesses, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand rebuffed the criticisms of her opponents that she has moved further to the left since taking office.

"I have the exact same values as I’ve always had, and that’s fighting for New Yorkers, fighting for small businesses, and helping get this economy back on track," said Gillibrand.

Read more

10:16am

Thu June 14, 2012
Development

After Destiny USA debacle, Inner Harbor plans face a wary council

COR Development has proposed a $350 million project for the Inner Harbor that includes a hotel.
QPK Design via COR Development

(CORRECTION June 18th, 2 p.m.: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the estimated cost of environmental cleanup. That amount is roughly $12 million.)

The topic was the redevelopment of Syracuse's Inner Harbor, but it didn't take long for a councilor to bring up the elephant in the chamber: the failed expansion of Destiny USA.

But Steven Aiello, president of COR Development, didn't have much choice on the timing of his meeting with the Syracuse Common Council.

It was just last week that grand plans by the developer of Destiny USA were finally laid to rest.

Aiello isn't looking to build a mall, but councilors couldn't help but raise concerns. The proposed project is just down the road from what was once going to be Syracuse's Disney World.

Read more

9:35am

Tue June 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

Zoo hosts Operation Salute for veterans

Veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their families will get a special welcome home this week at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.   The idea is to show these vets that the community appreciates their sacrifices.

Read more

2:50pm

Mon June 11, 2012
Regional Coverage

Students remain unprepared even though graduation rates are on the rise

Rob Kleine Flickr

New York state's overall high school graduation rate continues to rise slowly over time. But one-quarter of students statewide don’t graduate high school after four years. These statistics are according to the New York State Education Department’s release of high school graduation rates for 2011.

Read more

9:17am

Mon June 11, 2012
Regional Coverage

Other churches join protest against health care law

The Roman Catholic Church continues it's opposition to the Affordable Care Act clause that requires employers to pay for birth control, a practice the church opposes.  But the fight has gone beyond the confines of the Catholic Church.

Read more

9:55am

Thu June 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA puts further development on pause

It is the end of any collaboration between the City of Syracuse and the Pyramid Companies on the expansion of the Carousel Center Mall.  But the notice this week that Pyramid is calling the current work at the mall the final phase of the Destiny project may not tell the entire story.

Destiny spokesman David Aitken says this move doesn't rule out more Destiny deals in the future.

"Are we hopeful for additional development down the road?  The answer's yes.  But we are going to take it one day at a time,"says Aitken.

Read more

4:30pm

Wed June 6, 2012
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA: Expansion could be at an end

The expansion of Carousel Center in Syracuse could be at an end, at least for now. The developer of the mall complex that will soon be known as Destiny USA, is now calling this the final phase of the development.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city development agency found out yesterday that the developer was exercising a clause in an earlier agreement that would allow them to make this move.

Read more

1:42pm

Mon June 4, 2012
Regional Coverage

Alec Baldwin pays a visit to Syracuse

Alec Baldwin speaking after 'Gasland'
Matt Johnston WRVO

Syracuse got a taste of star power this past weekend as television and film star Alec Baldwin stopped by the Landmark Theater.

Baldwin was there to host a showing of the film “Gasland,” an award-winning anti-hydrofracking documentary.

He also moderated a panel after the movie with experts opposed to hydrofracking and members of the community to discuss the issue. Hydrofracking has been banned in New York while the state reviews concerns over the process for drilling natural gas.

Read more

2:31pm

Thu May 31, 2012
Environment

Lofty goals for Syracuse's first sustainability plan

Syracuse wants to live up to its nickname.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The city of Syracuse wants to get half its power from renewable energy sources by 2020.

That's just one of the targets laid out in a draft version of Syracuse's first sustainability plan [PDF].

It still has a ways to go, however: about 24 percent of New York's power currently comes from renewable sources - with hydropower accounting for the vast majority of that number, according to the New York Independent System Operator [PDF].

Syracuse is also hoping to reduce its energy consumption, advance education about environmental stewardship and increase urban agriculture and tree cover.

Read more

4:00pm

Fri May 25, 2012
Politics and Government

Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick on the Campbell Conversations

When the Manlius Swans had their eggs destroyed, there were numerous calls and letters demanding justice.

When 20-month-old Rashad Walker, Jr. was shot and killed in an apparent gang-related attack, there was silence.

What does this say about the state of gang violence in the Syracuse area, and the community's numbness - or fear - regarding it? Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick wrestles with this question, and also comments on some of the recent conflicts his office has had with other local public officials.

10:30am

Mon May 21, 2012
Regional Coverage

Downtown living tour brings out the serious, and the curious

Downtown Syracuse has seen a spike in its residential population thanks to renovations and new construcion, like Center Armory.
rachaelvoorhees via Flickr

From the plain curious to those seriously considering moving, a chance to see Syracuse’s downtown living options brought lots of people out over the weekend.

The Downtown Committee says about 2,000 people poked around apartments and condos during its 6th living tour Saturday.

Read more
Tags: 

7:44pm

Fri May 18, 2012
Regional Coverage

Syracuse "land bank" faces tall order: 3,300 tax-delinquent properties

Syracuse and four other upstate municipalities have been given approval to form land banks. The goal: reclaiming delinquent properties.
voxphoto via Flickr

The city of Syracuse has a new tool it hopes will reduce the number of vacant and tax-delinquent properties.

This week the state gave the OK for Syracuse and Onondaga County to create one of the first five "land banks" in New York State.

The new agency has plenty to work on.

There are 3,300 delinquent plots in the city of Syracuse alone.

Read more

11:50am

Mon May 14, 2012
The Upstate Economy

For 9 companies, 100 days to get off the ground starts now

Chuck Stormon, left, checks on last-minute preperations before the StartFast Venture Accelerator starts Monday in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

When the first StartFast Venture Accelerator begins this morning in Syracuse, the clock will start ticking for nine startups hoping to turn their big idea into a profit maker.

Modeled off of similar accelerators around the country, the teams have 100 days to soak up as much advice and support as they can. They're also given seed money and workspace.

StartFast is the creation of two local entrepreneurs, Chuck Stormon and Nasir Ali. In return for the investment and admittance into the program, Stormon and Ali get a small stake in the company.

Read more

9:25am

Thu May 10, 2012
Transportation

Sticky notes and surveys pave the way for I-81's future in Syracuse

The I-81 Challenge held its second public meeting Wednesday. Planning officials want the public to help determine the future of Interstate 81 in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The dozens of sticky notes mean the jury is still out.

The tabs of paper were posted next to five options Wednesday afternoon. Each represents a different future for the stretch of Interstate 81 that runs through downtown Syracuse.

Transportation planners from the I-81 Challenge began a second round of community meetings Wednesday. The public input they gather will help decide the aging highway's fate.

Read more

11:46am

Wed May 9, 2012
Regional Coverage

Stephanie Miner hopes for more infrastructure funds for central New York

Syracuse’s mayor hopes her appointment to a state infrastructure commission will mean more funding for central New York.

Read more

4:57pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Transportation

Officials inch closer to decision day with I-81 public hearing

The second round of public input on the future of Interstate 81 in Syracuse begins Wednesday.
Zack Seward WXXI

The magic number for the future of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse is five:

Five different options, with a final decision five years away.

Tomorrow afternoon transportation planners from the I-81 Challenge will present a broad set of options for what to do about the aging, elevated portion of I-81 known locally as "the viaduct."

After that, planning officials begin the process of collecting the public's opinion.

Read more
Tags: 

9:58am

Tue May 8, 2012
Regional Coverage

Common Council passes budget, but added spending in limbo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, left, talks with reporter Bill Carey following the Common Council's approval of the budget Monday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Money the Syracuse Common Council added to Mayor Stephanie Miner's budget for a new downtown senior center, a small business loan program and teaching assistants may never get spent, despite Miner saying she'll sign the budget as passed.

The council OK'd $2 million in additions to Miner's proposed budget and then approved the spending plan Monday afternoon.

But following the vote, Miner said she won't authorize the additional spending.

Read more

10:12am

Mon May 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

Shoppers gather to support Craft Chemistry in the first "Cuse Mob"

Shoppers crowd into Craft Chemistry during the Cuse Mob on Saturday.
Durrie Lawrence

An advocacy group for local businesses in Central New York organized the first "Cuse Mob" on Saturday by inviting people through Facebook and Twitter to spend $10 at an independently owned craft and gift shop on Syracuse's North End. As a local band played outside, an estimated 200 people visited Craft Chemistry in just an hour.

Read more

10:00am

Mon May 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

More sales tax revenue could mean more investment in Syracuse

More  projected sales tax revenue for the City of Syracuse could mean some new programs, including seed money for a new downtown senior center.  Lawmakers say they want  the extra spending to be an investment in the city.

Read more

4:34pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Regional Coverage

State aid for sewage problems in Syracuse

East Syracuse is getting some help from the state for a project it hopes will reduce sewage backups and run-off.

Read more

4:26pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Regional Coverage

A food co-op for Syracuse's south side

Ellen Abbott WRVO News

A food co-op is sprouting up in the middle of Syracuse's south side.  It's a way to bring fresh and healthy food to residents of a neighborhood that can't always get it.

Read more

10:38am

Thu May 3, 2012
Regional Coverage

Young and old share opinions on Syracuse budget

The very young and the very old were the focus of the Syracuse City Budget public hearing Wednesday night. Citizens had the opportunity to tell lawmakers what they think of Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed $662 million spending plan.

Read more

10:21am

Wed May 2, 2012
Education

ADA-PEP to be eliminated for students in Syracuse

As urban school districts grapple with massive budget deficit, some programs that aren't strict academics go up on the chopping block. A program in the Syracuse City School District, that teaches everything from sex education to stranger danger, is slated to be cut.

Read more

9:49am

Tue May 1, 2012
Regional Coverage

More layoffs planned for the Syracuse school district

The Syracuse school district is asking for more staff layoffs. The district will make the request for more layoffs at a special school board meeting later this week.

Read more

7:18am

Tue May 1, 2012
Development

Syracuse's nonprofit problem: Not enough land on the tax rolls

Syracuse - and Syracuse University - from above. 56 percent of the city of Syracuse is occupied by nonprofits. That's land the city cannot collect taxes on.
Satellite imagery Google

Four major hospitals; three large colleges; dozens of churches, charities and government buildings.

They drive Syracuse's economic and cultural activity. But leave the city's bank account hurting for revenue.

In all, Syracuse nonprofits and other tax-exempt properties make up 56 percent of the city. That's land City Hall can't collect taxes on.

Add to that properties with temporary tax breaks given to encourage development.

Add to that more than 3,000 smaller plots throughout the city that are vacant or delinquent on their taxes.

"This is characteristic of the type of problem the city has in collecting property taxes," says Common Councilor Khalid Bey, chair of the council's economic development committee.

Read more

1:17pm

Mon April 30, 2012
The Upstate Economy

State targets youth unemployment with training, tax credits

Paul Nojaim explained how his family-run grocery store in Syracuse will participate in the state's Youth Works program.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Cuomo administration is promoting a new program aimed at reducing unemployment among teens and young adults in low-income parts of the state.

The Labor Department's New York Youth Works program was first announced in February. Officials were in Syracuse late last week to highlight the benefits of the program.

Read more

4:24pm

Fri April 27, 2012
Regional Coverage

Gillibrand fights to keep flood insurance bills from skyrocketing

Ellen Abbott

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has joined the fight to keep flood insurance bills from skyrocketing in one of Syracuse's poorest neighborhoods. The idea is to convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, that their latest maps are flawed.

Read more

Pages