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Fate of Syracuse mural in the hands of lawmakers after Walsh veto

Frank Malfitano Facebook
A rendering of the proposed mural in downtown Syracuse featuring Earl Lloyd, Dolph Schayes, Breanna Stewart and Manny Breland

The fate of a proposed mural featuring four Syracuse basketball legends is in the hands of Common Councilors, after Mayor Ben Walsh vetoed spending $75,000 in federal relief funds on the project.

Lawmakers Monday could override Walsh's veto, included as an amendment to the budget vote earlier this month. There had been criticism from several corners about spending stimulus money on the street art project, a massive mural to be painted on the side of a building on East Onondaga Street.

In his veto message, Walsh said he believes a project like this would be ineligible under recently released federal guidelines for stimulus spending.

“There wasn’t anything in the guidance that explicitly stated something like a mural would be allowed,” Walsh said. “Might be able to stretch perhaps, but I don’t know why we would, given the fact that we have yet to even complete our overall plan for funding, and given the fact there are a lot of other pressing needs out there."

Lawmakers can override a mayoral veto with six votes.  The budget and amendments passed by a veto-proof 6-3 vote earlier this month.

The city has already allocated $20 million of the federal funds to cover pandemic related budget shortfalls, and more than $1 million from the relief funding pot for housing projects.

Walsh said his administration will release plans for what to do with the rest of the $126 million in the coming weeks, and expects to work with lawmakers on that.

"The purpose of this funding is to accelerate recovery, and that’s what we’ll focus on,” he said.

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.