There has been talk of proposals for the Onondaga Creekwalk for ten years, but the project was actually first discussed in 1976. Land clearances, environmental issues and design changes have held it up, but on Friday ground was broken on the key piece that will connect Onondaga Lake with Armory Square.
"It's going to be a game changer for people in our downtown and throughout our region to enjoy coming through downtown Syracuse, said Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll.
The Armory Square end of the trail looks great but the Inner Harbor of Onondaga Lake is another story. The State Canal Corporation twice put out requests for proposals (RFPs) from developers which mainly resulted in years of negotiations with the Destiny USA project. Those talks have been called off and the Canal Corporation director says they are ready for new ideas.
"Folks will see some economic development, hopefully a marina. That's our hope and this time we feel, third time is the charm, said Carmella Mantello. I wasn't around for the prior two RFPs so I hope my involvement is going to see some true, true proposals."
While things look quiet, Mantello says there is plenty of activity going on behind the scenes.
"Over the last year and a half, we've been doing appraisals, we've been sampling some of the soil over on some of the parcels, we changed the RFP, we've been more transparent than in the past, said Mantello.
The Canal Corporation is hoping to have the request for proposal out to developers this month or next. They are reportedly hearing interest in developing the site into a mixed-use project with residential, retail and dining uses.