One Syracuse mayoral candidate has a vision for the city’s west side to address poverty and improve education. Syracuse native Alfonso Davis is seeking the Democratic Party nomination. Davis has made a priority of easing socio-economic troubles in poorer neighborhoods, coming from poverty himself. He empathizes with frustrations people on the west side might feel.
“One of the large cries from people on the Westside, coming out of the Westside, is jobs. They feel as though…this city, no one cares about them and what goes on on the Westside.”
Davis says greater economic opportunity is key not only to easing poverty, but for reducing violent crime in poor neighborhoods. If elected mayor, he hopes to enact a Community Benefits Agreement, or CBA. It would require that public works projects hire local workers instead of having contractors bring in crews from outside the city. Davis says the I-81 replacement is a perfect example… involving billions of dollars over a 7- to 10-year build time.
“That is a true game-changer for this community. Enacting and making sure CBAs are in place, that ensures that jobs and opportunities come…directly to people in this city. They’ve, in the past, brought people in to do jobs, and those jobs can be life-changing jobs for the people here in the city of Syracuse.”
Such an agreement could tackle two problems at once with the renovation of the Westside Academy at Blodgett, a local school over 100 years old. He’s concerned about asbestos, broken water fountains, and the building’s infrastructure. Blodgett is currently last on the city’s list for renovation.
“From my perspective, when you have children and teachers in that building and you have issues concerning health…for me, that would be considered a priority. And we can’t just continue to allow Blodgett to just sort of go to the back burner.”
Davis worries that if the Westside is ignored, problems there could start to reverse gain s made in the downtown area.
“The Westside is just a rock-throw from downtown. We’ve put in a lot of money, a lot of resources downtown. If you’re not going to bring vitalization, to the connective corridor, to downtown, then that blight will find its way into downtown and all the revitalization we’ve done there.”
Alfonso Davis is currently running for the nomination against fellow Democrats Juanita Perez-Williams, Marty Masterpole, Joe Nicoletti, and Chris Fowler. The primary takes place September 12th.