Ben Walsh Calls on State DOT to Release Route 81 Draft EIS and Tunnel Study Walsh Wants Voters to Have Time to React To the Information Before November 7 Election

Syracuse, New York, September 28, 2017 – Independent Candidate Ben Walsh today called on the state to release a draft EIS report immediately on the future of Route 81 along with a separate tunnel alternative study. Walsh wants time for city residents to react to the studies in time for the voters to see everyone’s position. Both studies were due out this summer.

“It’s time for our community to shift our focus from debating which option is best to making the preferred option work best for our community.” Walsh said. “I’ve made it clear for months now that I’m all in on the grid option which will reunite portions of our city and open up extensive properties for future development.”

Ben Walsh at Westcott Theater

Walsh pledged that, as mayor, he would create an 81 Redevelopment Task Force made up of partners from the city, county, state, Syracuse Housing Authority, neighborhood groups, business, University Hill, and labor to coordinate any redevelopment opportunities that emerge from the draft EIS and final decision.

Existing NYS DOT data indicates there could be 7-15 acres in the prime heart of the city for redevelopment.

“This is one of the largest, most visible, and most impactful development opportunities that Syracuse has ever seen and we are going to show that Syracuse is at its best when we work together to grow our city, create jobs, and improve neighborhoods and people’s lives.”

The 81 Redevelopment Task Force will work to:

• Inventory available real estate for redevelopment
• Develop decision standards and guidelines
• Look for ways to maximize MWBE, VBE, and labor participation in the 81 project and any     future redevelopment
• Look at opportunities for mixed-income and affordable housing

Joining Walsh today at a press conference on the corner of Almond Street and E. Fayette Street was Robert Doucette, a founding member of ReThink 81 ( “This issue has been debated for years and there’s no more important time to continue to debate than our mayoral election. The grid option is the best option for our community.” said Doucette.

As former Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development for the city of Syracuse, Walsh has been instrumental in helping strengthen neighborhoods and businesses in the City of Syracuse for years. A recipient of the 40-Under-40 Award, Walsh currently serves as the president of the Board of Trustees at The Gifford Foundation, and sits on the board of a variety of foundations focused on growing Syracuse.

“Rise Above”

Ben Walsh is an independent candidate running for Mayor in Syracuse. His mission is to unite Syracuse through independent leadership and a collaborative approach to city government. To learn more, please contact Kristy Brightman Frame at 315-345-0129 or email at Walsh for Mayor. #RiseAbove.