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Multi-million dollar public space being developed in downtown Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli
Jerry Von Eyck (far left) and Mayor Stephanie Miner (center) at Perserverance Park in downtown Syracuse.

A multi-million dollar public space is being renovated at Perseverance Park in downtown Syracuse. Two design teams were chosen to develop the project and they held a public meeting over the weekend to gather input from the community on how the space should look. Jerry Von Eyck is the founder of !melk and his team will collaborate with Balmond Studio on the project.

“The space is very unique in the sense that it’s so centrally located," Eyck said. "We’ve learned from our experience that the central spaces will work as a sort of catalyst, like a ripple effect through the city and that’s what we’re expecting here.”

Eyck said the design process will take a couple of months. Last year, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse said they wanted the project done by December. It is estimated to cost between $2-4 million dollars. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said most of the funding will come from sources dedicated to public art and architecture including the Community and Gifford Foundations and the Connective Corridor.

“So this is not a case where we are taking general funds that would be allocated towards infrastructure for example, and taking it for this," Miner said. "We are engaging with our private partners also, who have funds that are dedicated to public art and public spaces.”

Perseverance Park got its name from the many attempts officials have made over the years to transform the space. It has served as a bus stop, an encampment site for Occupy protesters, and a spot for musical performances. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.