Mayor Walsh Proposes $2 Million In Pandemic Relief for Neighborhood Business Corridors Across the City of Syracuse


A brand new Stadium for Public Leadership Academy @ Fowler sits in the middle of this blighted S. Geddes St. Business District

One of the city’s Neighborhood Business Corridors targeted by the Mayor and Common Council’s new initiative. 

Syracuse, N.Y. – Mayor Walsh is proposing $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to invest in commercial and mixed-use properties in Syracuse neighborhood business corridors within federally-qualified areas in the city.

The program, the Distressed Commercial Corridor Improvement Fund, would make grants of up to $100,000 available to invest in commercial and mixed use properties with underutilized ground level spaces to activate storefronts.  It will also provide funding for initiatives that address quality of life concerns in order to spur new investment and economic activity. Based on input from councilors, the program budget has been increased from $1 million to $2 million.

“The pandemic is demonstrating how important it is to have easy-to-access centers of commerce close to where people live. On all sides of the city, we have neighborhood business corridors with the commercial spaces and much of the infrastructure to meet that need,” said Mayor Walsh. ”Consistent with the vision of our Resurgent Neighborhoods Initiative, investing in these areas will not only create economic opportunity, it will lift up the residential areas that surround these corridors and create safer more livable neighborhoods.”

Emphasis will be placed upon business corridors designated as part of the Resurgent Neighborhoods Initiative (RNI), Mayor Walsh’s program to revitalize housing and business activity in ten neighborhood business corridors:

  • Burnet Avenue
  • Butternut Street
  • Erie Boulevard East
  • South Geddes Street
  • James Street
  • North Salina Street
  • South Salina Street
  • South Avenue
  • West Onondaga Street
  • Wolf Street

Other commercial areas located within a qualified census tract will be considered eligible for the use of ARPA funding. In addition to capital improvements involving an existing structure, the program will also make funding available for commercial corridor enhancements to address quality of life concerns including lighting, accessibility, and environmental sustainability.

Photo Gallery of the South Geddes Street Business District; an example of the magnitude of deterioration in 10 Business Districts. (This is only one)

Pending review of the proposed program, the Syracuse Department of Neighborhood and Business Development will release a request for proposals to solicit project applications for property owners seeking financial assistance in early 2022. A selection committee comprised of City of Syracuse staff and members of the Syracuse Common Council will review applications and conduct analysis to determine project amounts and provide award commitments.

Through ARPA funding, the Mayor and Common Council have authorized more than $44.5 million in pandemic relief expenditures. Investments have occurred in all of the four areas covered in the City’s ARPA strategy: supporting children, families and neighborhoods; transforming infrastructure and public spaces; investing in jobs and economic opportunity; and enhancing government resilience and response.

After consideration in the Wednesday study session, Mayor Walsh is asking the Council to authorize the funding at its Dec. 6 regular meeting.