Community Regenerative Act could revive Syracuse
Many Syracuse visionaries, thinkers and scholars aligned Monday in an abandoned parking lot sandwiched between West and Wyoming Street on the near West Side. Senator Charles E. Schumer stepped into the bright late morning sunlight with a backdrop of two stylized red-orange SU Connective Corridor buses. After an initial greeting by Syracuse's official political groupie, Herman Schatz, the Senator stood before a gathering of Syracuse businesspeople, Syracuse University administrators and professors, representatives from several city agencies including Syracuse United Neighborhoods and West Side residents. Among them were parishioners of that neighborhood's church, St. Lucy's, complete with Father Jim Mathews, who had delayed his tee time for the occasion.
Schumer came to announce Syracuse as the epicenter of a new federal plan that he was proposing in the nation's capital connected to Obama's budget. Finally, the city of Syracuse's 1,000 vacant houses attracted the right kind of notice.
"An abandoned building is an eyesore that keeps a neighborhood down," Schumer said.
He noted that it wasn't just the aesthetic, or the great burden these properties become on the city's services and the residents, but also, vacant buildings choke redevelopment. He added this was the case not only in Syracuse, and not just inner city neighborhoods, but all across America.
The Community Regenerative Act
The legislation he proposed with Congressman Brian Higgins, the Community Regenerative Act, would include 30 cities nationwide (15 large and 15 small) to share in $300 million in pilot program funds. He first announced this plan in February in Buffalo, a city at the center of 15,000 vacant structures. Buffalo would be on the large list of cities; Schumer said he wants to include Syracuse on the list of small cities getting. The Senator noted that cities on the list have to have vacant structures and a plan and Syracuse has both in spades.