Park for free in Syracuse

When Jim Spinella purchased Tino Marcoccia's properties on Westcott Street last year, he became the new landlord to many of the business owners in the neighborhood.

"He owns 90 percent of what's on this street," said Lorraine Koury, whose clothing store, Boom Babies, is in one of his buildings.

Now, Spinella is hoping to make some changes to the area.

"I want to do things to generally spruce up the neighborhood," Spinella said, referring to the newly restored parking lot on Harvard Place.

"It's the first of many projects," he said.

Previously, the lot was nothing but broken pavement and potholes, "a general waste of space," he said.

Few cars actually parked there.

Spinella is a newer member of the Westcott community and has seen the need for improvements in the area. He is taking the first step towards revitalizing the neighborhood.

He estimates the lot will hold about 70 cars.

For business owners like Koury, that's good news. Her clothing store, while popular with the local community, pulls in a lot of customers from all over the state, especially during the spring months when prom season is in full bloom. The only parking she has directly available is the few spaces along the curb outside her store.

"It's great to finally have a spot like that. It'll help our businesses," Koury said.

The main strip of Westcott Street has more than 20 businesses tightly packed in. The number of legal parking spaces along that stretch of road is about 35. There are already a few parking lots, but they are small and private, reserved for patrons of their adjacent establishments. On most nights, especially the weekends, finding a parking spot can be a hassle.

"It's terrible," said Ron DeLuca, who owns a business and a home in the Westcott area. "The whole street gets jammed with cars."

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