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      Cracking down on Syracuse area eyesores

      Efforts to eliminate this eyesore at a Syracuse gateway. The Mayor says paying taxes is not enough, maintaining the property is part of the deal, too

      There was tough talk from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who brought U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to Syracuse to announce a crackdown on the owners of two empty gas stations at a key gateway to the city.

      "They are eyesores," Schumer said of the old Mobil Station and an abandoned yellow gas station at the intersection of the East Seneca Turnpike and Brighton Avenue.

      "It's not just the eyesores themselves, it sets a bad tone so that others don't want to come and develop and work around the bad areas," he said.

      Schumer says he'll put pressure on Sunoco, which owns the Mobil property, to either improve the property or sell it.

      Mayor Miner says it's not enough to pay taxes (both properties are current), but that the city is 'no longer looking the other way' if properties are not maintained.

      Eyesores, especially in 'gateway' areas to the city, are also a major concern for the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau.

      President David Holder says the vistas are beautiful, with the hills and lake and skyline, but there are problems when we get into details on the entries and exits to the area. "I don't know that we've hit it out of the park anywhere that's an exit, I think we have a lot of room for improvement," says Holder.

      Eyesores include the deteriorating train station along 690 just east of 81, aging and broken chain link fence at the 81 ramp and deteriorated signs especially noticeable at the 81 ramps near University Hospital, and at Carrier Circle, the old Howard Johnson Motel, with another abandoned and graffiti covered gas station next door.

      "We wouldn't accet this if it were our house," says Holder. "Why should our visitors accept it, why should residents accept it?"

      Besides the obvious needed fix-ups, Holder says there's a plan in the works to develop a new, improved sign program for Syracuse. "It's a visitor asset, but it's also good for community pride," he points out.

      Mayor Miner is also putting more teeth into citywide programs to get rid of eyesores, with community help. The Syracuse website, www.Syrgov.net has a 'services' tab at the topand if you click, there's a place to file complaints for either residences or municipal properties.

      The site also allows you to leave contact information, and if you do, the mayor promises you'll get updates on progress in getting rid of that eyesore.