continued It’s been a colorful journey for the vacant building. In 2008, Syracuse University graduate student Jennifer Marsh covered the abandoned gas station’s roof with 3,400 colorful sheets of fabric as part of World Reclamation Art Project. That came down when Marsh left the area.
Soon after, Eva Fernandez, a Tecumseh Elementary student, drew a picture of the gas station being torn down and replaced with a lawn and flowers. Fernandez wrote to DeWitt officials asking that they beautify the space. Michalenko said her timing was just right.
“The thing had sat for years, and the little girl’s letter helped prompt us in picking it up on the back taxes role,” he said. “Years earlier it wasn’t available.”
The DeWitt town board is working with city and county officials to develop plans to turn the property into a welcoming green space for the west side of town, said Mike Moracco, commissioner of sustainability for the town of DeWitt. The town could install an electronic community sign at the location similar to the one at the intersection of East Genesee Street and Erie Boulevard to welcome people into DeWitt and to the Syracuse University campus.
Michalenko would like to see changes to the triangular intersection to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.
“The current road configuration with Julian Place can be enhanced,” Michalenko said. “Right now it’s a difficult traffic alignment, and so we can improve it.”
Once the building is demolished, DeWitt will hold neighborhood meetings either in the fall or spring to gather input on what to do with the space.
“That’s going to take coordination with the city, the county and the town of DeWitt,” Michalenko said. “We want to go into those discussions knowing the concerns and the issues and the wants of the residents.”
Plans to replace the intersection with a traffic circle, and remove the traffic light at Colvin Street and Nottingham Road, have been discussed by town and city officials as well as plans to remove Julian Place. Santay said he would object to a traffic circle, but sees benefits in eliminating Julian Place, which runs adjacent to his dental practice.