By Paola Figueroa SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — The Syracuse Common Council Monday unanimously passed a segment of governor Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Airport Revitalization Initiative that would renovate the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. According to the Council agenda, the total cost will not exceed $48.8 million with most of the funding coming from the state.
Onondaga county will be responsible for $1 million for the renovation and has residents such as Cindy Buell, from Syracuse questioning the necessity of the renovation. She says, “What they just recently did within the last 3 or 4 years to me was nice and it works for me. I don’t see the point of dumping more money into it.”
Cindy flies often out of the Syracuse airport to visit family and friends in Florida and loves the ease the Central New York airport brings. “Unlike the big airports such as Orlando and Chicago you can get in and out of here really quickly and easy which I like,” she says.
While the project would generate close to 850 new jobs, Buell believes this money should be spent on jobs that would be permanent while these renovation jobs would only be temporary. The money should be dispersed in her eyes to bigger issues such as improving the roads.
She feels the money has a different underlying motive. She says, “If Governor Cuomo is dumping all this money I feel like he’s just trying to buy votes.”
Delta Airlines employee Stephen Elsenbeck has been working at the airport for 3 years and believes that there are areas that could use improvement. “The elevator is rarely working, the bag valve is always broken, he says. He also acknowledges the lack of visual appeal, even comparing it to a hospital. He suggests, “You could put some more stuff up there it looks like plain. There’s no plants no pictures. It just looks very gloomy and dull and boring.”
But he doesn’t see it as a $49 million job. He says, “Why not put money into making the airport safer instead of just making it look nice?” A concern he feels strong is important in today’s age. “What’s more important? Making sure someone doesn’t shoot up down here and go crazy or make sure the railing look nice and the walls look nice?,” he says.
The airport’s renovations in 2013 created a brand new Terminal Security Checkpoint which the new proposed renovations aims to bring full circle. The project aims to create a completely new interior and exterior of the airport.
Components of the project include the repaving of Colonel Eileen Collins Boulevard; removal of the existing canopy and the installation of a new eco-friendly canopy; renovated terminal façade that will be opened with a glass wall, allowing natural light to flood the interior; a new Grand Hall, which will provide a central space for arriving and departing passengers, renovated restrooms and the installation of new ticket counters at both Terminal A and B.
With the approval of the Syracuse Common Council the Revitalization Initiative will now pass onto Mayor Stephanie Minor who will decide if the airport will get the renovation some tax payer’s don’t think it needs.