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Tenants, lawyers describe assaults, stabbings, drug dealing at Skyline Apartments during hearing

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Ann Marie McCheyne is a member of the Skyline Tenants Association.

Residents of the Skyline Apartments in Syracuse spoke out against the dangerous conditions at the complex, at the city’s nuisance abatement hearing on Monday. The city served Skyline a nuisance abatement notice in March for unsafe living conditions, following the burglary and murder of a 93-year-old woman.

The city of Syracuse has made the owners of the building, Green Skyline, aware of the security and drug problems there for years. At the hearing, the attorney for Green showed that the owners have recently hired security guards, added cameras, signs and controlled access at entrances to keep out non-residents and make the building safer. But the city’s corporation counsel said it hasn’t been enough.

Skyline tenants spoke out against the unsafe and unsanitary conditions that continue to plague the building.

Garry Lyons, a tenant at Skyline for more than 20 years, and a neighbor of Connie Tuori, the woman who was murdered, said he was assaulted and robbed at his apartment, as well.

“And these were people that were coming from the same goddamn apartment that we’ve been reporting for over a year,” Lyons said. “The apartment is still occupied and they still have drug activity going in and out of the apartment.”

Ann Marie McCheyne is 71 and uses a powered wheelchair. She said drug dealing is so bad on her floor, about 50-60 people come in and out of one apartment each day.

“They were fighting, screaming, hollering all night, keeping everyone on the floor up. There would be blood in the hallway, blood on the mirror, blood on the elevator.”

Assistant Corporation Counsel Todd Long for the city, read a summary of 10 arrests at the apartment complex over a two-year period, which included drugs, stabbings and assaults.

“The victim suffered a left eye injury… her vision was gone and the chance of her physically losing her left eye was extremely high,” Long said.

The city’s attorneys read letters from businesses and nonprofits in the area saying the drugs, alcohol, loitering, loud music and arguments have spilled out onto adjacent properties. Advanced Lighting Technologies, a business that was located in Skyline, left after nearly 30 years.

The city is recommending the nuisance abatement continue for a year, and a civil penalty of $1,000 be paid. It’s not recommending receivership or closing the building. Corporation counsel wants Skyline to be ordered to install cameras in the stairwells and hire more certified security guards to patrol inside and outside the property. A hearing officer will make a recommendation to the police chief, who has the final say.

Advanced Lighting Technologies Letter, Re: Skyline by Kelly Nickerson on Scribd

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.