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Syracuse councilor wants to build remote-working centers

Payne Horning
Syracuse Councilor Michael Greene wants to brand Syracuse as the most remote-work friendly city in the country, in part by investing resources to build co-working spaces in neighborhood libraries.

Many economists predict that the number of work-from-home jobs will continue to grow even after the pandemic ends and Syracuse is gaining national attention as a potential destination spot for remote workers. Business Insider and Realtor.com recently said Syracuse has the amenities of a large city but affordable housing and other cost-of-living expenses.

So, at-large City Councilor Michael Greene said Syracuse should invest some of the dollars the city is getting from the recent federal stimulus bill to build state-of-the-art co-working spaces in four of the city's neighborhood libraries.

"The investment in our library branches sparks change in how we do economic development in Syracuse," Greene said. "Traditionally, we've done a top-down corporate-focused investment, which is let's lure companies to Syracuse and jobs will come from them and investment and wealth will flow down to citizens. This is a bottom-up approach, so we're saying let's give citizens the ability to directly access jobs in their neighborhoods. And increasingly this is what the future of work is going to look like. People are no longer going to be chasing opportunities around the country. They're going to decide where they want to live first and then they're going to find a job based off of that."

Greene said that means Syracuse will need to follow up with other investments in quality of life projects. 

"Investing in neighborhood business corridors, investing in our schools, investing in our infrastructure, so if you can choose where you want to live based on quality of that, Syracuse would be working to make that a great place to live and then also you can access remote-work job opportunities through the library," he said. 

Greene said this investment, which would require adding to the existing footprint of each library at a total cost of around $16 million, could also help those workers in the city who currently lack adequate internet access at home. If successful, the Democrat said the city could build these co-working spaces in each of the city's libraries to expand the reach of the program.

Syracuse received a total of $126 million from the most recent federal stimulus bill.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.