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      Destiny USA deal aids Syracuse's demolition demands

      Two of the 1,700+ abandoned houses in Syracuse / photo: Jim Kenyon

      Thanks to an infusion of cash into the City of Syracuse's demolition fund, officials are "recalibrating" their priorities according to Housing Development Commissioner Paul Driscoll.

      As a result of a deal to give Destiny USA more time to complete its mall expansion, the Pyramid Developers will pay the city a million dollars. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has decided to put half that money into a fund for the demolition of vacant and abandoned buildings. The demolition fund was in danger of running out of money due to budget cuts and emergency demolitions.

      With the extra half million dollars, Driscoll says the city should be able to "do about 40 buildings" in addition to money for 15 demolitions it has to set aside for emergencies. There are approximately 1,700 vacant and abandoned buildings in Syracuse.

      Diane McGuire says there are 30 properties on the city's northside in immediate need of demolition. McGuire heads the Washington Square Task Force for TNT (Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today). McGuire showed CNY Central's Jim Kenyon several of the "eyesores" near the intersection of Spring Street and Bear Street.

      "Nothing's been done," McGuire says, since she took Mayor Miner on a tour of abandoned buildings last year.

      Though she realizes there is not enough money to take down all 1,700 problem properties in Syracuse, McGuire says "This is my neighborhood and this is what we want to see gone."

      McGuire says she does appreciate the stepped-up efforts of the City's Law Department to go after absentee landlords.