Miner concerned about Inner Harbor future after COR charges
The rejuvenation of Syracuse’s Inner Harbor could be a victim of a federal public corruption case that centers on economic development projects funded by the state across upstate New York.
The $350 million Inner Harbor project was not one of the economic development projects involved in a sweeping federal corruption investigation. However COR Development, based in Fayetteville, one of the companies implicated in the scheme, does have the contract for the Inner Harbor project, which concerns Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
"I think we have to reevaluate everything, and that also includes what’s going to happen to the Inner Harbor project," Miner said. "Is there state money that’s going to be coming to it? This is going to take a major evaluation of where we are as a community in economic development projects.”
Miner has been at odds with COR about tax breaks and hiring of local residents during much of the project that includes construction of hotels and mixed use properties, on land that is currently unused. She said the thing that bothers her the most is the timing of the bribery and bid rigging charges connected to upstate economic development projects. They came a week after a U.S. Census Bureau report showed Syracuse and other upstate cities among the most impoverished in the nation.
"What I am most disturbed about is we are using public money to have a very few private developers get wealthy,” Miner said.
She believes more oversight into the projects is a start.
“You’re seeing first hand that what was sacrificed to be expeditious in development was checks and balances, and the ability to have all sets of eyes on the project to make sure that there is an honest and open and transparent process," Miner said.
COR is in the midst of a redevelopment of the Inner Harbor that includes a hotel, as well as retail and apartment space. Officials in other upstate cities, including Watertown, are also worried about what the corruption charges mean for planned developments by COR.