Central New York, Community

Greater Syracuse Land Bank paints the city

By Jacqueline Mundry SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — On a sunny Saturday afternoon, volunteers of all ages met at the South Presbyterian Church to paint.

Although on the surface that doesn’t sound like anything more than a school art project, the boards being painted were the boards used to secure vacant homes.

“If a house is going to be sitting there for a while and we have to secure it either way, I just think it looks so much better with art on it,” Land Bank Community Outreach Coordinator, Liam Kirst said.

The Land Bank is required to secure these homes but wanted to find a way to brighten up the neighborhoods, especially the neighborhoods closest to schools that kids walk by everyday.

Sarah Reckess is an attorney in town and she brought her two kids, Owen and Anya, to paint a board. Reckess wanted their board to be designed and created by her kids. She said it’s important for things like this to be “child driven” instead of something she dragged them to. She also hopes to add some personality back in the city.

“People themselves are colorful, so I think that the boards represent sort of the spirit of Syracuse in some degree,” Reckess said.

Another volunteer at the event, Brendan Eichcolzer, has been interested in the vacant home problem for sometime now but hasn’t found a way to get involved until it involved art.

“It’s just think it’s insane, there’s a lot of buildings that there’s nothing going on. Even downtown you wouldn’t guess but a lot of those buildings are just empty,” he said.

Eicholzer said he and his friends get together and finger paint often and he wanted to take his skills to recreate that style of paint.

This was the first painting event held by the land bank but 40 Below has held one in conjunction with the Delaware Elementary School. Students will take the boards they painted and help the land bank to put them up on vacant homes in their school’s neighborhood.