Centerstate CEO Supports Community Grid Option (Plus a Few Other Suggestions)

Feb 22, 2019

Rob Simpson, left, and Dave Mankiewicz, right, take a question from Urban CNY's Ken Jackson.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

Leaders at Centerstate CEO say they prefer a community grid, plus recommendations to replace the I-81 viaduct. The board suggests ways to revitalize the city through strategies and metrics, address traffic flow and environmental improvement. This includes improvements to feeder sections of I-81 South into the city like the Bear Street corridor to enhance transportation infrastructure and connect with the Inner Harbor developments and surrounding area. Rob Simpson explains that plenty of creative thinking has to go into the plans for the best outcomes.

“Getting a community grid as the preferred option for New York State in no guarantee that we will  end up with the type of mixed-income, mixed-use, creative, inclusive development that many of us have talked about wanting to see as an outcome of this process,” Simpson said. 

The I-81 viaduct looking south as it passes through Syracuse.
Credit File Photo

There is also concern to minimize impact on businesses in the city and suburban neighborhoods. However, Simpson adds the ‘keep the viaduct mentality’ doesn’t work.

"If the concern is about the potential to lose visitation from the hotels in Salina, there’s a different way for us to address that issue than with a road. Let’s find ways to build demand drivers for those hotel rooms in Salina and the inner Harbor,” he said.  

Simpson acknowledges there are no perfect solutions but, Centerstate is ready to work with interested parties to find solutions to the real, underlying problems of devising the right plans. You can view their Community Grid Plus: Ten Points of Enhancement here.