Nearly two-dozen members of various community groups gathered Thursday in front of the Inner Harbor Hotel to call on the developer and the county to hire local residents. The protesters say the $44 million in tax breaks given to COR Development do not provide enough community benefits.
Urban Jobs Task Force President Aggie Lane says it’s important that the project does not deny people the opportunity to have a good quality of life.
"Society is divided, and there's a certain amount of apartheid in the way we live. Your networks look like you, usually, so you have to go out of your way to include people who don't look like you if you're in the hiring business."
Protesters say they want Syracuse residents to benefit from the project. Central Tech High School sophomore Zachary Holloway attended the rally and hopes to become an engineer. He says more jobs should be open to people of the city.
"More high-quality jobs means more money going to the people so they can do more for their kids because a lot of people are in poverty..there's a high poverty rate. To lower that, we should have more jobs throughout the city, and more people off the street."
But the youth coordinator at Brady Faith Center Emmanuel Flowers says jobs in Syracuse won’t exist for kids like Holloway without negotiations. He says he is fighting for jobs to be available for the people who have worked to acquire skills.
"They're going to be career-ready and leave Syracuse because no one don't want to hire from within. We're building all of this infrastructure, all of these professional business entities, and we're not offering enough jobs to the city folks who are watching these things go up."
The city is fighting the Inner Harbor tax deal in court. Protesters say they will continue to fight for economic inclusion with monthly protests.