Commission includes Italian American Task Force to advise on relocating and preserving the Columbus Statue and on continuing a permanent honor for Italian Americans at the circle

In creating “an expanded space that is welcoming to all,” Mayor Walsh promises to ensure “history is protected and remembered”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh named an advisory commission to guide the creation of a heritage and education site at Columbus Circle and in adjacent open space now known as the Powelson Site. The Heritage Park Advisory Commission is comprised of members of Syracuse’s Italian American community and the Onondaga Nation, as well as representatives of other community stakeholders.

Mayor Walsh announced that the heritage park at the circle will be expanded to include the adjacent open space at the corner of Montgomery and East Onondaga streets commonly referred to as the Powelson site.

The Mayor also named a Columbus Statue Italian American Task Force to ensure representatives of the local Italian American community can provide guidance to the City of Syracuse regarding the relocation of the Columbus statue and related symbols. The Task Force will also provide guidance on the permanent recognition of Italian Americans at the circle.

“The expanded space will be both a tribute to Italian Americans and a place of healing that is welcoming to all,” said Mayor Walsh. “In the work ahead, we will ensure that history is protected and that we celebrate and learn from our shared experiences as a community and a nation. I appreciate the willingness of these diverse stakeholders to offer their perspectives and to promote the collection of  ideas from others in our community about what should be in the re-envisioned space.”

Members of the Heritage Park Advisory Commission are:

Beth Broadway, Dennis Connors, Hilary-Anne Coppola, Joe Driscoll, Elizabeth Dunbar, Mohammed Elfiki, Rabbi Dan Fellman, Clelia Ilacqua, Pastor Eric Jackson, Freida Jacques, Brandon Lazore, Vincent Love, Bishop Douglas Lucia, Elisa Morales, Rita Paniagua, Monsignor Neal Quartier, Nick Stamoulacatos, Cindy Squillace, Tina Thomas, Merike Treier, Monica Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, and Sally Roesch Wagner

Members of the Columbus Statue Italian American Task Force are:

Clelia Ilacqua, Fr. Fred Manara, Nick Petragnani, Emil Rossi, Ralph Torrillo, and Colleen Zawadzki

The work of the Advisory Commission and the Italian American Task Force is being facilitated by the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA), under the direction of Executive Director Gregg Tripoli and OHA Board Member Bea Gonzalez. The Commission will provide guidance to a Syracuse-area professional project management and design team which includes EDR Environmental Design & Research, the C&S Companies, Exhibits and More and the OHA.

The Commission and Task Force are expected to collect input and provide guidance to the project management team during the spring and summer. Heritage Park is the working name only of the Advisory Commission. The future name of the space is still to be determined. Recommendations and design concepts are expected before the end of 2021 with work in 2022.

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