Mayor Ben Walsh met with Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today (TNT) Southside and Syracuse residents Monday night to discuss neighborhood concerns and his administrative initiatives.
The event took place at the Southside Innovation Center and was moderated by Jennifer Sanders of NewsChannel 9. Hot topics included community policing, city planning, and I-89.
Sanders began the conversation with the recent Midland Ave shooting, something Walsh said has continued the conversation of community engagement and the search for a new police chief. Walsh discussed the recent announcement of police body cameras, something that he hopes will increase police and community trust. This is one of many administrative goals.
In addition to body cameras, Walsh said a new “smart city” lighting system could decrease crime. This system sends an automated alert when a street light goes out, allowing someone to quickly come and repair it. The smart lights will save tax payers about $3 million per year.
Walsh also discussed the city taking on the responsibility of sidewalk maintenance. This was met with excitement and applause from the 50 plus community members present. He said the city plans to launch a pilot this winter and start writing citations for code violations. This should speed up property maintenance.
Walsh brought knowledge to the last topic with his enthusiasm for a community grid version of I-89. He noted that the construction of the original highway disproportionately disrupted Southside residents. Walsh said that the community grid would be the best option for the city and the best way to build neighborhoods, instead of breaking them.
The event also gave residents the chance to submit their own questions and have them answered by Walsh and his administration. A panel of authorities from Neighborhood and Business Development, to Code Enforcement, and Fire Chief Michael Monds were present to answer questions and discuss current operations.