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Land purchase approved for new Syracuse aquarium

Outdoor walkway near water with a flag
Maxwell Mimaroglu
Inner Harbor Syracuse sign at the Inner Harbor in 2022.

Onondaga County legislators on Tuesday approved the purchase of the land for a controversial aquarium in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.

The decision passed with a narrow 9-8 margin in favor of the $1.7 million land purchase, in a vote that reflected last year’s narrow approval of the project itself.

One of the opponents was Peggy Chase, County Legislator for the 9th District. She says she still has fundamental issues with the proposed aquarium, including the property price, which was assessed at $1,000 not that long ago.

"When you look at this whole picture, looking at $1,000 in 2015 to $1.7 million now. I don’t know how anybody can make sense of that," Chase said.

However, District 6 Legislator Julie Abbott said factors like location and the pending aquarium do justify the price increase.

"Anybody who’s paying attention to real estate and when something big is coming like the aquarium, which has already been approved by this body, then it would make total sense it would be worth that," Abbott said.

The overall project — which continues to be controversial in the county — is slated to cost $85 million.