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Moving Forward

I discovered Syracuse spent a portion of their allotment of stimulus funds to tear down deteriorating buildings. Using special funds for demolition became additional food for thought as I wonder how neighborhood core conditions got so bad in so many neighborhoods simultaneously. Did these buildings deteriorate overnight or had some destructive urban parasite attacked these structures rendering them
useless?

One of the reasons the president’s stimulus plan is not working is due to the blatant disregard for the condition of small neighborhood based businesses. Usually the core of a community is made up of at least one if not more commercial districts offering entrepreneurs an opportunity to make a living providing goods and services to a nearby neighborhood. Since most new jobs are being created at the small business level it would make sense to take care of the nucleus of your small businesses development engine. For generations these urban Mecca’s have attracted the urbane, the older, younger, poorer, well educated, under-educated, the artists and minorities.

Today with many cities experiencing reinvigorated city centers new neighborhoods’ feature amenities within walking distance were a young family or someone just starting out no longer has to depend on a vehicle to survive. New Urbanism embraces this concept and community planners of future developments design with features in mind like sidewalks and porches. These were done away with in our scurry to privacy and suburbia.

I remember a time when all of our neighborhoods had grocery stores within walking distance of most Syracuse residents. This was in the early sixties. Meanwhile Syracuse went into a decline, as we were a place where 214,000 people once lived. In some stretches there are still remnants of grocery stores that were once right across the street from each other. Some are now businesses, others are churches,
but most are gone.

We’ve not invested in making these core neighborhood businesses priorities in our quest for improvement in quality of life issues. We’ve always had funds which were allowable for use by the city for demolition if we’d used this line wisely and regularly we would not have to wait until some commercial centers resembled something from the disaster film 2012.

Federal, state and local governments have given everything including kitchen sink water to large businesses promising to deliver dozens if not hundreds of jobs only to find that in a matter of months they’re sneaking out of the country in the middle of the night. How much did Carrier, Syracuse China, New Venture Gear, Crouse-Hinds and other manufacturers get to “retain” workers?

We could have invested in keeping every neighborhood commercial district safe, affordable and a magnet for what a city like Syracuse can offer, as with policies like this in place, we would grow and prosper.

But we usually wait for the worst case scenario to occur before we act. We forget about spending funds that are specifically allowed for long overdue demolitions and other urban ills. As we prepare for change perhaps we’ll remember these things moving forward.

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Timbuktu African Imports “Farewell” Gathering February 29

Timbuktu African Imports 500 South Ave., Syracuse, NY, United States

After decades of operating Timbuktu African Imports Kwasi has decided to retire the business. There will be a community gathering honoring Kwasi and the contributions made to the Syracuse Community. […]

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