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Housing a key component of Walsh's State of the City address

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh delivers his State of the City address on Thursday, January 18, 2024.
Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh delivers his State of the City address on Thursday, January 18, 2024.

Housing will be at the center of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s final two years in office, announcing a “housing promise” for the community during his State of the City address Thursday night.

This promise comes at a time of growth in central New York. With the advent of Micron’s $100 billion plans to build a series of semiconductor chip plants in the Town of Clay, Walsh wants to improve the stagnant housing market, to the tune of 2,500 new housing units.

“I really want to sprint through the finish line in this administration and housing has been one of our top priorities from the beginning and will continue to be until the very end,” Walsh said. “We looked at the pipeline of projects, we looked at the market and we determined that 2,500 new units by the year 2025 was a good stretch goal that again we feel is achievable and is critical to achieving the type of growth that we anticipate."

This includes two large-scale projects. A high-rise apartment building on Almond Street that would add 300 mixed-income units, and a lifestyle planned community at the empty LaFayette Country Club that will create 270 units. Both would be single-family homes and townhomes.

Walsh said the Micron and the Interstate 81 projects are leading these developments.

“The ability of the community grid to get people both up to the northern suburbs where we know a lot of people will be working with Micron, as well as throughout the city, is a critical component of why that development there makes sense."

Walsh’s 50-minute speech was interrupted several times by pro-Palestine protesters sprinkled throughout the audience, calling on Walsh to make a statement about the conflict, often shouting over the speech.

Walsh said the loss of life in Gaza is unacceptable, but noted he isn’t the right person to influence the end of the conflict.

“I think about it every day, and I hope the conflict ends every day,” he said. “The reality is I'm the mayor of the city of Syracuse. And when you look for voices of authority on a centuries-old conflict, I certainly wouldn't look to my position first for guidance."

Walsh also announced new public Wi-Fi and Veterans programs set for the coming year.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.