Neighbors react to I-81 meeting at Liverpool Middle School

More than 150 community members attend I-81 forum at Liverpool Middle School.

When it comes to the future of I-81, it's a toss up. Many are for the community grid, while others are for the viaduct or tunnel.

More than 150 community members gathered at Liverpool Middle School Tuesday evening to speak their piece at Congressman John Katko's 81 forum.

"The idea is to listen to each other and see if you can come to consensus," said the Congressman who represents the 24th District. "Get a little more educated and a little more enlightened."

Richard Kyle grew up in Onondaga County. He currently lives in Liverpool. He's all for keeping 81 and believes it just needs some TLC.

"Maybe they ought to come up with something to spruce it up a little bit," said Kyle. "Trees and bushes and plants along that section so it'd be a lot nicer looking."

New York State says more must be done than sprucing up the interstate. It's reaching the end of its useful life.

Julie Daniel is all for the grid option. She sees it bringing people together rather than being divided by a viaduct.

"I realize people who are in the outlying areas, I've heard, are very skeptical or a community grid. I am not," said Daniel. "I'm pretty well convinced that this would be a good thing for our community."

A question surrounding the discussion, how will this affect local businesses outside of downtown Syracuse?

Two general managers of hotels off of 81 and 7th North Street are concerned if the grid is chosen.

"We consider our easy access and location as one of our strong selling points," said Missy Hughes, General Manager of Homewood Suites by Hilton. "People are going to hospitals, SU and Armory Square."

"If we do change the route of 81 our occupancy will go down," added Jacqui Paikin, General Manager of Try by Hilton.

As for what Congressman Katko wants to see?

"I don't know it it's my role to come out publicly because my job is to try to steer the narrative so everyone knows what's going on."

The next 81 forum with Rep. John Katko will be Thursday, Feb. 21 at Fowler High School starting at 6pm.

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