New CEO of Blueprint 15 pledges to transform community that suffered in the shadow of I-81
Big changes are coming to Syracuse as the state prepares to replace the elevated portion of Interstate 81. At the same time, the community that was shattered by construction of that highway will be reborn. The non-profit Blueprint 15, which will be in charge of that transformation, has found a leader to turn plans into reality.
Vincent B. Love grew up in Pioneer Homes, a public housing project that lives in the shadow of I-81. He remembers the community that was known as the 15th ward, before the highway was built.
"When I grew up in this neighborhood, I remember it as a vibrant neighborhood," said Love. "People knew each other. Neighbors knew each other."
Love, who has been named CEO of Blueprint 15, wants to get that feeling back. He’ll be in charge of making the transformation of a predominantly black community that has fallen on hard times to the vibrant neighborhood he remembers.
Love, who has instant credibility in the community as a former leader of the Syracuse Chapter of 100 Black Men, will see to it everyone is involved in the process.
"We want the residents to tell us, how do you envision this community looking like, what type of facilities, what type of resources do you envision being a part of this community."
Blueprint expects the failing public housing projects like Pioneer Homes, that comprise a 118 square acre area, will be replaced with mixed income apartments, a vibrant academic system and health and wellness facilities. Love said this holistic plan will reclaim those positive aspects of the 15th ward, and doing it during the reconstruction of Interstate 81 is perfect timing.
"Of course it will be tied together, and so we will be closely monitoring what goes on with 81, what decisions will be made and that will help us moving forward," he said.