The dog days of summer, a pond and that damn chandelier

As we enter the dog days of summer there are cranes in the air once again in Syracuse.

Projects in construction, along with those on the drawing board, guarantee this city will look and feel different within the next four years. Between Syracuse University, LeMoyne College and Onondaga Community College and our local hospitals, Syracuse has become the economic engine for the area’s recovery.

Dog days are usually the hottest sultry days of the summer when nothing really happens. “Dog days” can be applied to a time period, project or event that is “very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress.”

As this area changes into what we’re to become, residents have to become engaged or this new growth and development will resemble the failed urban renewal policies of the past with the same population uprooted and dispersed, or as Yogi Berra said, “this is like deja vu all over again.”

With the removal of hundreds of affordable housing units pressure will increase on the remaining housing stock available. Add to that thought the dismantling of Interstate 81 as it snakes through Syracuse will displace even more residents and churches primarily in the African- American community.

These discussions usually involve those who know what’s best for us: the great thinkers from “the university” and our politicians in closed rooms planning fake hearings to achieve their goals regardless of what those in those communities affected may desire.

Even initiatives like Say Yes to Education are getting a lukewarm reception from many in the black clergy due to the absence of trust between the great thinkers and policy makers and the people who have to live with the consequences of these leaders’ actions.

Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor has infuriated some storeowners whose entry access is completely disregarded in the initial design for infrastructure changes.

The new Common Center for Centro is being relocated at a sight determined behind closed doors not with discussions and openness that should accompany this major redistribution of bus stops.

It has been rumored that the primary purpose of this facility is to clean up South Salina Street from the bus riders and the goods and service providers that locate near the transportation hub. Make the dollar stores and nail shops and the people who use these services disappear, “Poof!”

Like giant monopoly pieces the underclass and under-financed are being shoved aside for more upscale bars for the upwardly mobile customers. At the newly acquired Townsend Towers and Harrison House marble counter tops and stainless steel appliances will replace the Hot Point basic units, and air conditioning and income will flow through the towers once deemed unrentable.

In the meantime, back at the political ranch, mayors of New York States largest cities would like to take control of the local school boards, consolidating control in the executive branch of local government.

Kiss the local school boards goodbye. But of course, these changes are being made with full disclosure by the politicians making these power moves.

With all of these issues going on in the city of Syracuse and beyond you can understand why it’s a little difficult to concentrate on questionable charges against former State Fair Director Peter Cappuccilli re-painting a nasty looking pond and replacing an old chandelier.

Ah yes, these are the dog days of summer…

August 10, 2010