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New Syracuse Creekwalk Extension Reaches into City's South Side

Syracuse’s Creekwalk trail is now 2.2 miles longer after officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the extension from Armory Square to Kirk Park in the heart of the city’s south side. 

It’s been more than six years in the making from the planning stages, funding, community meetings, and environmental reviews to, finally, design and construction. 

Mayor Ben Walsh says it’s the most beautiful and meaningful section so far.

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Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
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WAER News
Mayor Ben Walsh at the creekwalk landing in Kirk Park off Rockland and Hunt Aves. He was joined by, from left, Tayveon Stenson with Onondaga Earth Corps; NYS DOT Regional Planning and Program Manager Mark Frechette; City engineer Russ Houk; and City engineer Mary Robison.

“The neighborhoods that this creekwalk goes through are neighborhoods that have not seen a lot of investment in recent years,” said Walsh. “So, to show the neighbors here that we are investing in them, in their neighborhood and also in doing so connecting more of our city is really significant and really important."

Walsh says that’s especially true now since many residents have been cooped up at home.   

“One of the silver linings of this pandemic, it’s got a lot of people out reorienting themselves with our public spaces, with our parks,” said Walsh. “The timing could not be better to bring this amazing amenity to our community.”

The Onondaga Earth Corps was one of several partners that helped make the project possible.   The youth and young adults in the program planted 75 trees and 70 shrubs along the trail, which south side resident Tayveon Stenson says was hard but rewarding work. 

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Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
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WAER News
Officials and project partners cut the ribbon.

“I’ve watched this park turn into so many different things over the many years. I’ll be 23 this Friday,” said Stenson. “What I see now is beautiful. To know that I am a part of that, to know that I will continue to be a part of that, and how excited I am to know those who will also be a part of the process after me gives me a feeling I can't explain.”

The new section of the creekwalk builds upon phase one, which opened several years ago linking Armory Square to Onondaga Lake via the original walkway in Franklin Square.  It will also connect to the county’s loop the lake trail, and New York’s Empire state trail.  Tayveon Stenson says during these times of pandemic and protest, we need to appreciate what’s around us.

“There is beauty in the midst of chaos. You just have to change your focus sometimes,” said Stenson.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.