City of Syracuse stops work on City School's refugee project

Renovation work at this Butternut Street church, which will house Syracuse School's Refugee Assistance Program, has been stopped because the School District did not get building permits

The Syracuse Refugee Assitance Program is moving to a new facility, but the Syracuse School District skipped several steps in the process.

The City of Syracuse issued a stop work order for renovations being done to the Gethsemane Methodist Church on Butternut Street, which the School District has leased for a year to house the Refugee Program.

A spokesman for Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Minor tells us that Syracuse Code Enforcement is now meeting with the District's project team, to get what they need to continue work. City Hall confirms to us that the School District did not get permits for the work.

Until the stop work order was issued on July 11th, we're told Syracuse City School trucks -- and workers--were very visible at the church. There is no activity there today. We talked with the President of the Syracuse School Board, Michelle Mignano, who told us the Board had approved the lease, but was not aware of the permitting issue.

We heard about the shutdown from a neighbor, who wanted to know why there was no information on what is going on.

According to a Syracuse Common Councilor, if the project had gone through the permitting process, there could have been hearing and approval requirements.

According to Tom Ferrara, in the school district's facilities department, they expect to move the program to Gethsemane in September. The district had leased 'Bob's School'. the former parochial school at Holy Trinity, but the lease expired in June.

Refugees are going to Franklin School for their summer programs.

We are told there's a TNT Northside meeting scheduled for Grant School on Wednesday evening at 7, and it's expected the School District plans will be discussed