By Tim Burtis
Three projects on county-owned facilities were approved at our regular session in August. The boardwalk at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo that connects the tiger enclosure to the elephant barn will be replaced. The Salt Museum at Onondaga Lake Park is in need of some structural reinforcement. Lastly, the Onondaga County War Memorial will be adding a Gold Star Mothers’ display and an informational kiosk.
The boardwalk at the zoo was originally built in 1984. Last year, the legislature appropriated funding to assess the condition of the boardwalk. The engineering report has recommended replacing the boardwalk within the next year. The legislature authorized bonding just over $1 million to replace the concrete, steel reinforced system with concrete planks and cabling, along with replacing the decking and the railing. This project will take place over the next year and will ideally be completed by June of 2017. The county has a great partnership with the Friends of the Zoo, they have invested millions of dollars into the new elephant pond and a patio area that was added to the banquet facility. Their assistance helps maintain and update the zoo without constantly having to ask taxpayers to invest. The boardwalk is a critical piece of infrastructure and it is necessary to replace it at this time.
The Salt Museum at Onondaga Lake Park is a true piece of Onondaga County history. The museum is constructed from timbers of actual salt warehouses and contains kettles, wood barrels and other fascinating equipment that was used to process salt for the entire country until the 1920s. To preserve this piece of history, the legislature authorized funding $290,000 to replace the current roof with a metal roof that has a 50-year life span, as well as repointing the chimney, which is in need of restoration.
The OnCenter War Memorial is not just a great place to see a hockey game. It is a vast memorial for Onondaga County residents that have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. The legislature amended the 2016 budget authorizing $190,000 to add a new display recognizing Gold Star Mothers. The Gold Star display will recognize the sacrifices made by family members who lost their children in service to our country. In addition to the Gold Star display, a portion of this funding will be used to add a kiosk system to provide information to educate the public, as well as honor and recognize new veterans of conflicts and operations of which they have served. The information and additional names will be available at the kiosk in real time.
Tim Burtis represents the third legislative district, which includes the town of Cicero and portions of the town of Manlius. Tim welcomes constituent feedback; he can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 396-3300.