There's Green on them hills

The Hanfords have a plan for green housing development in Marcellus.

The big news at the Hanford's Sycamore Hills Mother's Day Garden Tour goes beyond the picture perfect day and the outstanding support for Baltimore Woods Centers for Nature Education. It lies in the potential future of Marcellus' West Hill, which the Hanfords would like to go green.

George and Karen Hanford, who own Hanford Pharmaceuticals in Syracuse, Sycamore Hill Gardens off Old Seneca Turnpike in Marcellus, as well as more than 500 acres in the town of Marcellus, are proposing a green housing development with an art center in their former barn as its anchor. They once farmed some of this acreage; still more is wooded.

"When I come over the East Hill from Syracuse," Karen said, "I look and see these hills and I would like that view to remain the same as it is today."

Hanford is disappointed by the evolution of the view of the East Hills that rise up out of the village of Marcellus. As some in Marcellus have noted, those hills rise clear up to heaven, with Route 175 as the main thoroughfare. But today, Karen argues the hill looks developed and lacks its former natural beauty.

So, in the midst of campaigning for County Legislator, District 6, which encompasses Skaneateles, Otisco, Marcellus, Spafford and parts of Camillus, she had a brainchild. She wants to develop their acreage into a green community with affordable housing.

"I see it as a bell curve," she said.

Meaning to serve people going into their first homes and on the other side of the bell downsizing into their empty nests. There are plenty of homes in Marcellus for families of four and more she said.

Her impetus comes from having four grown children, who all have studied, and, or worked, in the arts and a very large barn. The Hanfords once operated a dairy farm, but the cows have long since left, as Karen and George turned their full attention toward their art-form, gardening.

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