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East Syracuse village gears up for facelift

Imagine getting a chance to have a makeover. What would you do? What would you want? Well, the likelihood for just that is on the horizon for Manlius Street in the village of East Syracuse, and Mayor Dan Liedka wants plenty of public input.

"The vision will come from the residents," he said.

Liedka, Sen. David Valesky (D-49th), and Mark Streb, director of local government for New York State, held a meeting in the spring which focused on village priorities, one of which is the revitalization of Main Street. Streb said the government would be interested in helping revamp the village fa ade with one stipulation: it must have a firm, visual plan of action.

In comes SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where students from the Center of Community Design Research (CCDR) have assisted other area communities to prepare vision plans.

"We met with Mayor Liedka and (Attorney) Mark Wladis to discuss the issues that the village is facing, what the village would like to achieve from the project and how we might work together with the community to prepare a vision to guide revitalization of their Main Street," said Maren King, assistant director, CCDR. "Our vision planning process is designed to be very participatory and to engage the broad spectrum of people that make up the community. The people that live and work in the communities that we work with bring local expertise and knowledge of their community that is vital to understanding existing conditions, history and the values that they share. The vision will be based on what they collectively understand to be their strengths, opportunities and challenges."

Through the CCDR and the Department of Landscape Architecture, King said students have been involved in vision planning for at least the last 10 to 12 years.

Starting late fall of this year, the design team will schedule its first public workshop with East Syracuse residents, and by April 2009, "we'll have that vision," Liedka said. Subsequently, the village will go back to the state for project funding.

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