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McMahon outlines plan to tackle challenges in county address

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is looking ahead to growth in central New York in the years to come, and he’s laying out plans to get ready.

In his State of the County address at Onondaga Community College Wednesday evening, McMahon spoke about partnerships that will help get the community ready for the arrival of tech giant Micron. He called the company’s promised $100 billion investment breathtaking.

"Micron is moving forward on multiple fronts related to the environmental review at the state and the federal level,” he said. “Obviously, the CHIPs Act application is a critical component of that project."

One of the major areas McMahon said the county will be addressing is the shortage of health care workers. The county executive announced a new scholarship program to encourage people to pursue nursing degrees at area schools.

"We know we need to act and act now,” McMahon said. “Nurses serve as the front line of any medical facility, and it is our nurses that provide that calm and compassion many need during the stress of a medical visit."

Abby Connolly

Housing is also a top issue countywide. McMahon announced the first recipients of a $10 million grant program for private and non-profit developers. And the county is creating a new position to take charge of its initiatives to fight lead paint poisoning in children.

"The Onondaga County Health Department will also soon be launching 'Lead it Go,'” he said. “'Lead it Go' is a pilot program that will provide enrichment services for children with an elevated blood lead level who do not immediately qualify for other services."

McMahon also spoke about moving ahead with his plan to build an $85 million aquarium in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor, by awarding a design contract and starting construction as early as this summer. The plan narrowly passed in the legislature, where opponents argued there were better uses for the money.

But McMahon and his supporters say the aquarium will boost the local tourism industry.

“The committee that's been meeting from our environmentalists and our scientists, our educational professionals…they've given a lot of good feedback for our design team to consider. So, the project's underway.”

McMahon is up for re-election in the fall, hoping to earn a second full term as county executive. Democratic County Legislator Bill Kinne has announced his intention to run against him.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.