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Regional News

Westside neighborhood looks for comeback

Ellen Abbott

A neighborhood in Syracuse's Westside is trying to make a comeback. One of the first steps is constructing three new homes that are replacing burned out apartment buildings that had been owned by absentee landlords.

Park Avenue is situated a block away from West Genesee Street on the city's west side. The three new homes in the 800 block are across the street from a city park and Frazer Middle School is down the street. First time home buyer Jean Claude Ndizeye and his family of five have been dreaming of this day for a while.

"I came from overseas and I used to own my house," he said. "And so I keep the dream that I need to have my own house."

The three homes, each selling for about $90,000, were built in part with funds from the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County and New York state with non-profit Home Headquarters leading the project. It fits in with neighborhood plans for getting rid of absentee landlords that have let many properties become rundown according to Jeff Romano from Neighbor Efforts West.

"What we're trying to do is focus on the spine of the neighborhood, which we're realigning as Park Avenue instead of West Genesee Street, and really building the density and growth on Park Avenue and then Liberty Street will get love and attention and then Sackett Street will get love and attention, so we'll build a core and let it creep," he said.

The other good news is some commercial development a block away on West Genesee Street that'll include an Aldi's grocery store. Romano would love to see more development that reflects the Polish heritage of the neighborhood.

"We've been trying to find a Polish Peter Coleman to come down to the neighborhood and work with us," he said. "We haven't found him yet."