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Rob Astorino: Onondaga Lake amphitheater will sit empty

Onondaga County
Artist rendering for a proposed $80 million concert venue along Onondaga Lake.

A concert venue along Onondaga Lake is not the economic development project the state should be investing in, according to Rob Astorino, the Republican running for governor of New York.

Astorino, the Westchester county executive, said Monday a proposed 17,000 seat concert amphitheater for the west side of Onondaga Lake will be a hollow space.

"The amphitheater is going to empty in 20 years, ten years, because people are going to continue to move out of this state," he said at a press conference in Syracuse.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed spending $30 million worth of state funds early this year to help build the venue. He said in January the project is “exactly right” for the region.

Onondaga County will chip in another $50 million in newly shared revenue from Turning Stone Casino.

But Astorino said the state should be investing in job creating ventures, not concert halls.

"The amphitheater is not what’s going to be the economic driver for this region," he said. "It’s getting jobs back so people actually have money to spend to go to the amphitheater."

The money the state is investing in the project would be better utilized being given back to taxpayers, Astorino said. He wouldn’t say for sure if he would scrap the project if elected governor. 

"Any project that’s worthy, that’s already in the pipeline, we’ll continue," he said.

The county hopes to have the venue open by next fall.