Matt St. Jean SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Syracuse’s North Side neighborhood is line for some major upgrades. The Syracuse Neighborhood and Business Development department is in the process of applying for a five million dollar grant from Restore New York. If approved, they plan using the money to rehabilitate vacant and rundown buildings.
“It would be nice if the city made the North Side kind of look like Armory Square,” Debbie Camire, owner of local bakery Biscotti’s, said.
Nora Spillane, the deputy commissioner of the Neighborhood and Business Development department, said the renovated buildings will become mostly be a combination of residential and commercial properties. The first floor of buildings will be available for commercial use while the floors above will become residences.
She also said she is confident the grant will be accepted because a lot of the projects have come close to fruition, but just need a little bit of extra cash to get off the ground, which the grant would provide.
“Syracuse is a market where the cost of doing a renovation can be more than the building will be worth at the end,” Spillane said. “We have historic properties, they are older properties, they require a bit more T.L.C. and this grant money will fill some of those project gaps.”
The North Side neighborhood has a high crime rate (see graphic). Eric Ennis, development specialist on the project, said he believes once there is more foot-traffic in the areas and less vacant buildings, crime in the area with dissipate.
“By investing in those, by getting those filled storefronts on the ground floor, it increases the activity in the neighborhood without a doubt and when you do that you’re going to have more pedestrians on the street,” Ennis said. “More people walking, shopping, and driving by. With more people there you’re going to see that crime be significantly reduced or simply move.”
Business developers and non-profits interested in the North Side area will have to wait for the deliberation of Restore New York. The grant application is due on the 15th and Spillane estimated a four-month turnaround.