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Syracuse Innovation Team holds public meetings for new infrastructure ideas

Tom Magnarelli
The Syracuse Innovation Team at a public meeting on Friday.

Syracuse’s Innovation Team is developing new infrastructure ideas for the city. Public forums are being held to gather input from the community.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner created the Innovation Team to think up solutions to the city’s big problems. The team is funded by a three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Each year the team will choose a priority area and this year's area is infrastructure.  

Some of the ideas the participants came up with include public Internet service and consolidated city services, such as sewer and water.

Other ideas discussed to improve downtown Syracuse include getting rid of some one-way streets and making it more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Don Radke works in real estate and was one of the participants at the public meeting.

"We came up with some specific ideas, one was to create some regional parking stations, large regional parking stations, around the county, that would accommodate maybe a thousand cars, and then have a good attractive transportation system that would bring people into the urban centers," Radke said.

The Innovation Team will select between three to five ideas by the end of September depending on their feasibility.

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Andrew Maxwell is the director of policy and innovation for the city of Syracuse.

Andrew Maxwell, the director of policy and innovation for the city of Syracuse, said the public knows what is needed most in the community and his team will be successful if they listen to them.

"We have incredible infrastructure needs in this community and if we're going to be successful in the future we have to do a better job of taking those challenges head-on, being honest about what those challenges are and finding new ways to address the problems," Maxwell said.  

By January, the Innovation Team will announce the winning idea or initiatives they will move forward to improve the city’s infrastructure. Maxwell said they will also focus on a variety of strategies to secure funding for the project.

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.