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Phase I of Brewerton Revitalization Project unveiled

Town and state officials cut the ribbon on Phase I of the Brewerton Revitalization Project on July 2. From left are Cicero Town Board member Mark Venesky (liaison for the project), Deputy Supervisor Tim Burtis, State Sen. David Valesky, Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Brewerton Revitalization Committee Chairwoman Helen Carroll,  Cicero Town Board member Vern Conway, Third District Onondaga County Legislator Jim Corl and Cicero Supervisor Jessica Zambrano.

Town and state officials cut the ribbon on Phase I of the Brewerton Revitalization Project on July 2. From left are Cicero Town Board member Mark Venesky (liaison for the project), Deputy Supervisor Tim Burtis, State Sen. David Valesky, Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Brewerton Revitalization Committee Chairwoman Helen Carroll, Cicero Town Board member Vern Conway, Third District Onondaga County Legislator Jim Corl and Cicero Supervisor Jessica Zambrano. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— After eight years of waiting, the residents of Brewerton are finally seeing progress on the revitalization of the hamlet.

Town and state officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 2 to commemorate the completion of Phase I of the Brewerton Revitalization Project, which includes picnic tables, new streetlights, a 400-foot brick walkway and benches along the riverfront. The improvements cost a total of $102,400, which was made possible through matching grants to the town of Cicero, in-kind services from local businesses and town departments and donations from Brewerton residents.

“It’s been such a long time,” said Cicero Supervisor Jessica Zambrano. “I think it’s a real economic boost, especially for the summertime with all the river traffic. Now that I live on the lake, I see the value it brings. It’s a wonderful project. It’s good for the business owners. It’s good for economic development.”

The project started in 2006 under then-Supervisor Chet Dudzinski. The town has received numerous grants for the proposal, including an initial $125,000 development grant and an $800,000 grant from Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office. Town and state officials hope the redevelopment will make the riverfront hamlet a tourist attraction.

So what took so long to complete the initial phase? According to former Supervisor Jim Corl, who is now the Onondaga County legislator for the third district, it was a lot of red tape.

“From ’07 into ’08 and ’09, there was a great deal of activity. There were a number of community meetings,” Corl said. “I remember a number of residents that are here today brainstorming ideas about what they’d like to see, what was the vision. In 2012, it was a time to take a step back and say, where are we in this? Then began a flurry of activity. We really pushed forward from January of 2012 to October. We had to get permission from Canal Corp., from the state, from two Indian nations, just to test and dig these test pits. The approval process was enormous.”

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