Onondaga Co. Executive says Syracuse stadium project is 'on the back burner'
Tue, 14 Jan 2014 20:21:42 GMT —
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the much-discussed new Syracuse stadium project is "on the back burner", and appears unlikely to happen this year.
Mahoney says Syracuse University commissioned a study last year about the possibility of a privately owned, 44,000 seat arena where SU football, basketball, and lacrosse as well as the Syracuse Crunch would be tenants.
Mahoney says the project had support from her office and from Governor Cuomo's office. It could provide a thousand construction jobs and would redevelop a section of Syracuse's near east side, off of Fayette Street. The proposed site is just down the hill from the SU campus on land currently owned by New York State.
The plan was to also put a hotel, retail and new housing around the sports arena.
In recent years New York State has made significant investment in the North Country, Capital Region, and Western New York. Mahoney says she believes the governor's office wants to make a similar investment in Central New York.
Mahoney says the stadium project is on the back burner, in part because Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner doesn't believe it is a priority right now. Mahoney says she and the state did not want to push the stadium project forward if the mayor doesn't feel it's the best way to go.
"She is the mayor, she is well within her rights to pick priorities for the city and the last conversation I had with the mayor,she wasn't yet on board," said Mahoney. " I said, well I'm at the point where I'm going to have to tell the state - I don't think we're going to pull this together, she was fine with that and then the conversation has pretty much died down."
Mahoney says the county is looking at other economic development projects that the state could invest in, instead of a new stadium.
On Tuesday afternoon, Miner told CNYCentral she was not against the idea of a new arena but wanted to know more about the plan before endorsing it. An arena that seats 44,000 people would be dramatically alter the east side neighborhood for decades to come. Miner said she wants to understand how many issues would be resolved so they do not become problems down the road.
"I think what I've said is to ask questions is to do my job, that's what the people of this city expect me to do and if a project like this gets announced, my phone is going to ring and they are going to ask what does this mean for my house, what does this mean for my neighborhood, what does this mean to traffic," said Miner.
Both Mahoney and Miner said the arena plan could be revisited sometime in the future. Mahoney said she had hoped it could have been included in the governor's budget this year to benefit from state funding assistance.