Syracuse, Can you say Conservancy?

Mayoral candidates agree city of Syracuse Park's need a private not for profit alliance

The six candidates for mayor of Syracuse gathered at the Palace Theater on James Street Wednesday, June 24, for a forum on parks and green spaces in the city of Syracuse.

The forum, which ran from 7 to 8 p.m., was moderated by Ed Griffin-Nolan, senior writer and political correspondent for The Syracuse New Times and sponsored by Sunnycrest Park Association. Griffin-Nolan asked three main questions to each candidate and then audience members posed a few questions. About 40 local residents attended, many of which are active in their neighborhood parks and recreation programs.

The topics discussed dealt mainly with utilizing the parks as a tool for revitalizing the city, and also how candidates felt the parks could enhance the overall quality of life for Syracuse residents.

There are approximately 172 parks and green spaces in Syracuse, according to the Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs Web site. Making the issue of how to utilize the parks an important one for many voters.

"The parks are a big part of the revitalization of our city," Republican Otis Jennings said. "Unlike many cities, a lot of the housing is located right within the infrastructure of that park, so the two go hand-in-hand."

"Conservancy" was the buzzword

All of the candidates agreed a conservancy is necessary due to a lack of funds in the budget.

A conservancy, much like the one in Central Park (which the candidates used as a model) is a private non-profit private organization that works with the city to raise funds and help maintain the parks.

"Parks fit naturally into the Syracuse and Central New York way of life," Republican Steve Kimatian said. "Given the fact that government is stressed for dollars, it is good to have a private partnership or alliance, as long as the city maintains control of it."

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