When we work together and believe we can, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. In the first two weeks of January, we celebrated “Working Together Wins” enjoyed by the City of Syracuse in 2019.
We thank the Syracuse Common Council; our local, state and federal government partners; our region’s non-profit and business institutions; our dedicated City employees; and, most important, the people of Syracuse.
Mayor Walsh recapped many of the accomplishments in his State of the City on Jan. 16. A compendium of all of the #WorkingTogetherWins is below.
Westmoreland Community Center reopens
Neighbors joined with the Department of Parks Recreation and Youth Program to find away the reopen the near east side’s neighborhood community center at Westmoreland Park. With creativity and hard work, the Center reopened on Sept. 6.
Bike share rolls into Syracuse
Mayor Walsh joined the first test ride of the Gotcha Syracuse Sync bikes when we rolled out bike share in Syracuse on July 9. About 200 sea foam green e-bikes are available for sharing at 35 hubs throughout the City.
S&P upgrades outlook for City of Syracuse
Mayor Walsh announced on June 9 that Standard & Poors Global Ratings (S&P) upgraded its outlook for the City of Syracuse to Stable and maintained the City’s rating at A in its 2019 update. The S&P finding came at the same time that Moody’s Investor Services, another of the top worldwide credit rating agencies, maintained its Stable outlook and its A1 rating for Syracuse.
City seizes former SDC property
Mayor Walsh authorized the City to seize the former Syracuse Development Center property for back taxes. Over nearly two decades, the 50-acre property had fallen in to disrepair causing serious public safety concerns. The City cleaned up and secured the site and is getting ready to market it for redevelopment.
Citywide 5G wireless and connected streetlight network
The City closed on the purchase of our street lights on Dec. 20, completing a transaction that will save millions of dollars; improve our neighborhoods; and make a municipal “Smart City” network. Crews working for the City have already changed more than 10,000 fixtures to money saving LED lights and “smart nodes” to help improve city services. In May, the Common Council approved an agreement with Verizon to bring a 5G network with ultra-high speed wireless service citywide.
Syracuse opens Financial Empowerment Center
Mayor Walsh joined with a network of community partners on July 18 to officially open the Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center. The FEC provides professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free service to city residents. The program, designed to help people increase their financial stability, helped more than 200 people in the first six months. More info at www.syrgov.net/FEC.
Microsoft selects Syracuse
The Mayor, Common Council, Onondaga County, Syracuse University and Microsoft approved a memorandum of understanding in November under which the global technology company will establish a Smart City Technology Hub in the City. Microsoft committed to help Syracuse thrive in the technology economy of the future.
67% increase in roads repaved
The Common Council authorized additional funding, and our DPW team repaved 67% more City streets in 2019. We also launched an online Road Ratings website that gives a pavement condition rating on every city-owned road. http://www.smtcmpo.org/syracuse-pavement-ratings We’re making progress and believe we can still do even better.
New jobs in the City: JMA Wireless and BHG
Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Syracuse in October to announce that Jma Wireless would convert the former Coyne Textile site on the south side in to a manufacturing plant for 5G wireless technology. The company says the project will create at least 100 accessible tech manufacturing jobs in the heart of the Southside Campus for the New Economy, a key component of the Syracuse Surge. On the same day, the Governor announced Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG) would build its financial headquarters in the Inner Harbor. BHG, a growing provider of financial services to healthcare providers, said it would add at least 300 jobs in Syracuse.
Historic sales tax agreement reached
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, Mayor Walsh, Common Council President Helen Hudson, Onondaga County Legislature Chairman David Knapp and other members of the Common Council came together in early January to announce a sales tax sharing agreement between the City and the County. The agreement locks in the formula for one of the City’s most important sources of revenue for ten years. It’s another step on the path to fiscal sustainability.
Reducing vacant housing and cutting back evictions
Vacant housing in the City is dropping. In July, Mayor Walsh announced that Syracuse has experienced a 12.3% drop in vacant residential properties since 2017. Since its founding in 2012, the Greater Syracuse Land Bank has successfully transitioned more than 830 properties from tax delinquency to new owners. The City is also making progress in cutting back evictions, which have a devastating impact on children and families. Our Department of Neighborhood and Business Development ran a pilot program that prevented 99 evictions and helped property owners save more than $336,000 in lost rent and eviction filings.
Expanded sidewalk snow removal
With support from the Common Council, we nearly doubled the City’s sidewalk snow clearance pilot this winter, expanding coverage to sidewalks on about 40 miles of #Syracuse streets. Syracuse University took on plowing sidewalks on two big streets near campus, enabling the City to cover more sidewalks in other parts of Syracuse.
New construction and commitments downtown
Investment continues to happen in Downtown Syracuse. In August, the Allyn Family Foundation, a leader in local philanthropy, broke ground on a new headquarters building at the corner of Salina and East Onondaga streets. The four story project, known as Salt City Market, will include a food hall, a grocery store, office space and mixed income apartments. Also last year, Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Inc., a top 100 independent insurance agency in the U.S., moved its headquarters to the heart of Downtown Syracuse.
JPMorgan Chase selects Syracuse
Nearly 250 cities applied. Only five were selected, and Syracuse was one of them. In a major vote of confidence in the #SyracuseSurge, JPMorgan Chase & Co. awarded Syracuse a $3 million AdvancingCities grant in April. Our City was selected for its “we can” attitude: the global bank said Syracuse successfully outlined local coalitions of elected, business and nonprofit leaders working together to address major social and economic challenges, such as employment barriers, financial insecurity, and neighborhood disinvestment.
Syracuse Surge to create opportunity #ForAll
At the 2019 State of the City, Mayor Walsh announced the #SyracuseSurge, our strategy for inclusive growth in the New Economy. At the center of the Syracuse Surge is the creation of the Southside Campus for the New Economy on the southern edge of downtown Syracuse, a campus for technology workforce development and the location of a ground breaking regional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math school in the grand but vacant Central Tech High School.