Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner looked overwhelmed by the two clear plastic teleprompter screens set a few feet in front of her lectern on the stage at the old St. Patrick's School. The renovated Tipperary Hill fixture provided the foundation for a speech focused on change for Syracuse. It took some concentration to get past the hindrance of the prompter to listen to her message.
The mayor's agenda got hijacked a bit by the January conversation surrounding the Carrier Dome replacement discussions that took place without her being at the table. The governor, county executive, administration of Syracuse University and developers had advanced the concept far enough down stream for it to be considered as an Upstate economic announcement in the governor's budget address.
So tonight she announced she's neither for nor against the new arena concept, but she does want to create a task force to study what would be best for the city. While the mayor deserves credit for asking for facts about the project before offering her support, the phrase 'task force' too often means a group will meet several times but ulitimately not take any action.
The mayor also told our Jim Kenyon she does not have an opinion on what to do with Interstate 81. She did point out the state needs to deliver better detailed information on modeling and projections before the best decision can be made.
On a less grand note - she talked about improving commercial corridors in the city that were once vital, but have long since faded. That includes South Salina Street and Grant Boulevard. It is wise to pay attention to some of the edges of the city to keep commerce moving in more areas than just the center.
It is not easy being a mayor of a city in Upstate New York. There are severe financial challenges to face. Mayor Miner has weathered them well and made difficult decisions to keep Syracuse from deep money problems.
If she can find a way to follow through on her big picture message of change the city could find itself in a better place in the years ahead. Before the next State of the City she may want to address the placement of those teleprompter screens so viewers can focus more on her and the message she wants to deliver.
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