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Relief might be on the way for troubled CNY Regional Market

A woman in a blue t-shirt and maroon holds a plastic bag in front of tables full of colorful produce.
Scott Willis
A vendor fills an order for a customer at the CNY Regional Market Aug. 3, 2023.

Syracuse-area state Assemblymember Bill Magnarelli says he wasn’t surprised by the results of an audit by the state comptroller that revealed financial struggles at the CNY Regional Market.  But he says some relief might be on the way. 

Magnarelli’s district includes the market, and he’s been acutely aware of board of directors failing to develop and approve responsible spending plans.

“I've been getting reports about what's going on in the board and I knew what the audit was going to say because I had been getting reports that some of the things that were being budgeted were not realistic.”

Magnarelli says the first indication of the recent financial trouble was at a Farm Bureau event a year and a half ago in Albany where the regional market had a booth.

“I found that they were going to ask the state of New York for $96 million," Magnarelli said. "And I almost fell over backwards. $96 million, you don't just walk up and say I need $96 million. Where did this come from? I was unaware of that kind of need.”

The funding request was for a comprehensive overhaul of the market’s facilities infrastructure, much of which dates back to the 1930’s. Magnarelli says at the time, the market only had vague plans for its project, and wouldn't have withstood scrutiny among state officials and lawmakers. After touring the market and convening a number of local and state stakeholders, Magnarelli says Onondaga County and the state’s economic development office began working on a plan that should be finished by later this year.

“In the interim, I'm talking with my counterparts here in the Assembly and in the Senate to see if there is money that can be set aside for immediate repairs that are needed to keep vendors in place and the public safe.”

Magnarelli says legislation is also in the works enabling the county executive and mayor to each appoint two more board members increasing accountability and transparency.

“We have been taking steps to help the market," Magnarelli said. "There is no way I want to see the market fail. It's on the brink, but I do not want to see it fail.”

Magnarelli says if the regional market wants the funding it's requesting, the board and administrators will need to work with the state, including the area's delegation of lawmakers. In his 26 years in office, he says no one from the market has ever reached out to him.

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