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County and state legislation begins to pave path toward CNY Regional Market improvements

A woman in a t-shirt fills plastic bags with fresh produce as she stands behind tables of produce.
Scott Willis
A vendor at the CNY Regional Market fills an order Aug. 3, 2023.

The pieces are coming together to improve financial accountability at the CNY Regional Market and develop a vision for its future. 

State lawmakers sent a bill to Governor Kathy Hochul that, among other things, creates four more appointments to the market Authority’s board of directors, two from the Onondaga County Executive and two from the Syracuse mayor's office. The measure also requires a full majority of the board to take actions, but member attendance has been sparse at several meetings.

Bill Magnarelli in the Assembly and Rachel May in the Senate are the bill’s sponsors.

“We need to really activate that board, convince them that the house is on fire and this is a moment where everybody's got to step up or step aside and let someone else come in who is going to be active in trying to right the ship," May said.

The CNY Regional Market Authority has been under increased scrutiny after an audit from the state comptroller revealed poor fiscal management and questionable decisions. It comes as market directors are courting support for an ambitious $90 million plan. It aims to replace crumbling infrastructure as well as create new event and gathering spaces. But first, the state and Onondaga County want to pinpoint market needs.

Legislator David Knapp says the county set the stage for progress when lawmakers accepted state funds complementing its own contribution toward a revitalization plan.

“We need this plan. We need this study," Knapp said. "That's why they put up $100,000 to do it. We'll put in up to $225,000. So, very comprehensive  from the physical layout to the governing body to make sure we do it right.”

Once complete, the county is willing to invest up to $4 million for market improvements, and the state could follow suit with a larger allocation. However, lawmakers say they will consider dedicating funds when they see a viable plan that addresses immediate infrastructure needs.

Details of the state legislation are below:

  • Increases the board of directors from 13 to 17, giving the Onondaga County Executive 2 additional appointments, the Syracuse Mayor 2 additional appointments, and makes the NYS Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets appointment a full member.
  • Requires a full majority of the board to take actions.
  • Requires the Authority to work with the Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop a plan for the repair and rebuilding of the Market’s infrastructure.
  • Requires the Authority to release an annual real estate report.
  • Reinforces the right of the State Comptroller to audit and examine the books of the authority.
  • Requires the Authority to adopt an updated Code of Ethics.
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