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Saving 81: Local officials, business leaders launch campaign to keep elevated highway

Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra speaks at a press conference launching a campaign called Savei81.org, which brings together a number of elected officials, business leaders and union officials to call for the state DOT to maintain I-81 as an elevated highway. Behind him are Onondaga County Legislators Kathy Rapp, left, who represents the fifth district (parts of the towns of Salina and DeWitt) and Judy Tassone, who represents the fourth district (parts of the towns of Salina and Geddes).

Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra speaks at a press conference launching a campaign called Savei81.org, which brings together a number of elected officials, business leaders and union officials to call for the state DOT to maintain I-81 as an elevated highway. Behind him are Onondaga County Legislators Kathy Rapp, left, who represents the fifth district (parts of the towns of Salina and DeWitt) and Judy Tassone, who represents the fourth district (parts of the towns of Salina and Geddes).

—  “Leaders of numerous towns in Onondaga and Cayuga counties are expressing their concerns about the negative consequences that a boulevard could have on our area,” said Onondaga County Legislator Kathleen Rapp in the organization’s press release. Rapp represents the fifth district, which includes portions of the towns of Salina and DeWitt. “It is crucial that these concerns in our community are heard by I-81 decision-makers as this process moves forward, which is why I am looking forward to working with Savei81.org to organize these voices over the coming months.”

Nicotra said the initiative’s main goal is to raise awareness about the issues with the reconstruction and make people’s voices heard.

“The main goal of the organization is to get people more involved and to come together,” he said. “I think until this year, people didn’t think this was going to be a reality. But it is. People need to understand how this is going to affect their lives for decades to come.”

Over the coming months, Savei81.org will host events to discuss the I-81 issue with concerned residents and business owners, reach out to elected officials and decision-makers to serve as a voice for the community’s concerns and work with towns throughout the region whose residents are concerned about the potential effects on their own neighborhoods.

In order to get up-to-date information, Nicotra said it’s best for people to sign the petition at Save81.org.

“That will trigger email updates about information that’s coming up,” he said. “There’s a wealth of information out there. It goes over all of the proposals in front of us, everything that’s being considered, and the general information so you can stay updated.”

For more information about the campaign, visit Savei81.org. You can also find them on Facebook or Twitter.

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