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Onondaga County lawmakers to vote on Loop the Lake funding

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Onondaga County Legislature Ways and Means Committee meeting.

The Onondaga County Legislature will vote Tuesday to fund a portion of the Loop the Lake trail around Onondaga Lake. At least one legislator said the money would be better spent elsewhere.

The nearly $2 million project would extend the lake’s West Shore Trail from the Orange Lot at the New York State Fairgrounds to Honeywell’s visitors center and property boundary. Legislator Brian May (R-Baldwinsville) said the good news is 80 percent of the money being spent would be reimbursed by the federal government, and the remaining balance, or local match, would be covered by tobacco asset money used for infrastructure projects.

“We know that the trail is one of the greatest quality of life assets that we have in the county," May said. "Go out there on any given day and you’re going to see people everywhere.”

But Legislator Casey Jordan (R-Clay) said extending the trail is a want and not a need.

“We’ve doubled our debt in the time that I’ve been in the legislature," Jordan said. "Our spending has gone up significantly in that time. I’m at the point now where we’re below our fund balance requirement and we have to put the brakes on things that are not absolutely necessary.”

Jordan said there have also been other projects where the county has not asked or received reimbursement funding.  

Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon said he believes Honeywell is responsible for the next phase of Loop the Lake, which would continue through the former Roth Steel scrap yard and connect to the Creekwalk.

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.