Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mayor Walsh's State of the City promise: 2,500 new housing units by 2026

A man in a dark gray suit stands behind a lectern with the American, New York State, and City of Syracuse flags behind him.
City of Syracuse
Mayor Walsh delivers his state of the city address from City Center Jan 18, 2024.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says the city is entering his final two years in office ready for the future.

“I am proud to report the state of our city is…growing. Syracuse is growing in ways that are generating energy, confidence and hope for the future.”

Walsh made that declaration Thursday evening at his state of the city address. Much of that growth will hinge on quality, affordable housing. The mayor dedicated nearly ten minutes of his hour-long speech on that topic alone, highlighting projects ranging from a few dozen to several hundred units in the pipeline.

“Tonight, at a time of urgent need in our region, I am making a housing promise: Syracuse will have 2,500 new units of quality housing completed or underway before I leave office at the end of 2025.”

Much of Syracuse’s aging and crumbling housing stock is coated in lead paint. Walsh says 2023 was the first full year of the city’s new lead ordinance aimed at remediating the hazard.

 “Since implementing the program, Code Enforcement inspectors have issued lead paint violations at nearly 2,200 properties," Walsh said. "In nearly half of those cases, the landlords have already addressed the condition. For the rest, the City will ensure the work gets done.”

Meanwhile, Walsh says the city’s water department continues to replace lead pipes that service homes, aiming for another 2,100 in the next two years.

The mayor also dropped a hint at what the future might look like when the I-81 viaduct is torn down. Next month, he says the city will release it’s Community Grid Vision Plan.

“The 'north star' of the vision plan is people – not cars," Walsh said. "That means it puts the highest priority on pedestrians, bicycles, affordable housing, safe intersections and sidewalks. Once the viaduct is gone, it envisions a vibrant and walkable Almond Street lined with mixed-use buildings – including multi-story towers that Syracuse hasn’t seen built in many decades.”

In fact, Walsh says a developer has proposed the first major project: A 14-story high-rise apartment building on the northeast corner of East Fayette and Almond Streets with mixed-income housing. In his speech, the mayor also highlighted progress on reducing violent crime, improving trash collection, and paving more streets and replacing sidewalks.

The mayor was interrupted a few times by people calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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