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Syracuse Common Council votes unanimously in favor of phase one of Connective Corridor construction

June 07, 2010

Jemeli Tanui
(315) 443-5172

The Syracuse Common Council voted unanimously today to approve a number of funding, legislative and partnership-related items that will enable the first phase of construction along the Connective Corridor to move forward.

The vote took place after a series of study sessions and meetings held by Common Councilor Kathleen Joy in which residents and business owners voiced their support or concerns for the proposed projects.

The 11 items voted on by the Common Council allow the project to move into the final Corridor design phase as well as the redesign and construction of Forman Park. It is anticipated that construction along University Avenue (including conversion to a two-way street) and East Genesee Street (from University Avenue to Forman Avenue) will begin in spring 2011. In addition, Syracuse University will administer a façade program for businesses and other establishments along the Corridor, as well as install a bike bodega and do streetscape work at the West Fayette Street/West Street intersection near The Warehouse.

“This unanimous vote of the Syracuse Common Council reflects broad recognition that the Connective Corridor is pivotal for the city’s ongoing revitalization,” says Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “It’s a vote for innovative, inclusive, sustainable and engaging urban design that not only connects Syracuse’s extraordinary assets, but spurs economic development.”

“I am very excited that all of the Common Councilors voted to move forward to the next stage of the Connective Corridor project,” says Steve Kearney, City of Syracuse deputy director of planning and sustainability. “While the final design process still needs to take place, our city is that much closer to creating a transformative and comprehensive new streetscape from University Hill to Downtown.”

Marilyn Higgins, SU vice president for community engagement and economic development, whose office works in collaboration with the City of Syracuse on the Connective Corridor project, says Monday was a good day for all involved partners. “I’m thrilled the Common Council gave unanimous support for the measures required to make this project move forward,” says Higgins.

Support for the Connective Corridor project comes from various sources, including local business owners, students and city officials.

“The Syracuse University Student Association believes it is vitally important for SU students to engage themselves with the local community,” says Dan Scorpio, a rising senior at SU and public relations director for the SU Student Association. ”With more than 13,000 students calling Syracuse home during the academic year, we agree that the proposed improvements will greatly advance student life in the city. New bike lanes, signage, the restoration of Forman Park and improved lighting are all of significant benefit to students.”

“I sincerely believe that urban redevelopment is a key component to growth in Syracuse, especially within the Syracuse University Campus Hill area. The Connective Corridor will identify the current need to aid in pedestrian and mass transit travel, which East Genesee Street is in desperate need of,” says Louise Swanson, director of human resources at the Genesee Grande and Parkview hotels. “I look forward to seeing my children and grandchildren being able to ride their bikes throughout the city. Syracuse is very fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Details on the proposed phase one projects:

Connective Corridor Façade Improvement Program
The Connective Corridor Façade Improvement Program is a reimbursable grant program that will be made available to properties along the entire Connective Corridor route. As many as 25 grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded for physical improvements to exterior buildings or street-side landscaping. The program will begin this summer. Applications will be available through the Connective Corridor website beginning Aug. 1. Connective Corridor staff will also be visiting businesses with packets to explain the program. This project is expected to cost about $625,000 and is funded by New York State through SU.

University Avenue
University Avenue will be converted back to a two-way street from Erie Boulevard to Waverly Avenue. This conversion will occur in spring 2011.
Additionally, the University Avenue component of the Connective Corridor is now being included in the first stage of construction. This project is expected to cost about $4.4 million and is funded by New York State through SU. The estimated cost does not include design work.

East Genesee Street, from University Avenue to Forman Avenue
Streetscape improvements along East Genesee Street will include new sidewalks, street paving, trees, planters, a bike lane, pedestrian-level lighting and enhanced pedestrian crosswalks. Construction for these improvements will begin in spring 2011. This portion of the Corridor construction will cost about $4.2 million–with $3.3 million from federal transportation funds and $900,000 from New York State through SU. The estimated cost does not include design work.

Forman Park Redesign
OLIN, a design firm from Philadelphia that designed Bryant Park in New York City, has been working with Barton & Loguidice to develop a new design for Forman Park. Partial construction of this project will begin in September. Construction will be completed in spring 2011. The total redesign of the park will cost about $1.5 million. Funding sources are: $875,000 from New York State through SU; $385,000 from the City of Syracuse; $190,000 from the U.S. Department of Urban and Housing Development; and $50,000 from Onondaga County’s Green Infrastructure funds. The estimated cost does not include design work.

Warehouse Corridor Node
A bike bodega and elements of a streetscape will be constructed near SU’s Warehouse building downtown on the corner of Fayette and West streets at the western end of the Connective Corridor. The intention is to build a connection between the Corridor and the Near Westside neighborhood. Construction is set to begin in the fall and continue in spring 2011. This project is expected to cost about $500,000 and is funded by New York State through SU. The estimated cost does not include design work.

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