Public Comment Period For I-81 Ends, But Work Continues
In his monthly community briefing, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh once again endorsed the community grid plan for I-81. He said that the city submitted a 23-page document with recommendations for the plan.
Some recommendations for the current plan include moving a roundabout further from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and noise reduction for those who live near the interstate. The mayor stressed having input from local community members living around the viaduct before, during, and after the project.
“After the project, there’s going to be a lot of other important decisions, not the least of which is what to do with the land that is freed up from this project. Those that live within that neighborhood need to be at the table making decisions with what to do with that land. And those decisions need to prioritize those very people,”said Walsh.
Another focus of city leaders and community organizations is jobs for Syracuse residents. Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens has been working with the Urban Jobs Task Force and Department of Transportation to ensure that there is a local hiring provision for the project. They also want training and apprenticeship opportunities for those who live in the city and near the viaduct.
Owens said that bringing people together from the local community was not a simple task.
“We brought people to a table who clearly did not see eye-to-eye but have come to a place where we realize that we can all reach the same end. And that end is ensuring people who live in the city of Syracuse, who are impacted by that highway, are provided opportunities,” said Owens.
The I-81 comment period ended October 14th, but updates will continue to be provided by the city over the coming weeks.