Syracuse Mayor Pumping Brakes On New Arena Talks

Nate Shron

As talks about building a new arena in Syracuse gain momentum, the city's mayor is cautioning everyone to slow down and think a bit about the project.

While it seems every New York State government employee is excited about the possibility of a $500-million sports arena being built in Syracuse's Kennedy Square, the enthusisim for the project isn't being shared by members of the local government, Syracuse.com's Tim Knauss is reporting.

The person behind the "roadblocks," is Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says Ryan McMahon, county Legislature chairman.

"It's a complex partnership for a regional project that requires state and county funds as well as working with Syracuse University and a private owner-operator,'' McMahon said. "It also would require some support from city hall. And there's been to date a lack of enthusiasm for the project from city hall.''

As McMahon is playing finger-pointer, the Syracuse mayor admits she is open to the stadium but talks about the possible project are in such early stages it is hard to support it.

"The university can be an engine of economic development or it can be an island. With something this big, we want to make sure it is economic development for the entire community,'' Miner said. "I haven't seen a schematic of where a proposed stadium would be, much less where parking would be, how the funding would happen, what the funding vehicles would be. There are just a whole load of unanswered questions.''

"A project this large deserves to have a thorough vetting done, so that we don't make a mistake,'' she said. "This is a project that is a 30-year decision, and I don't think you want to rush into those kinds of decisions, because the people who end up being victimized are the community.''

Despite Miner's uneasiness, a decision about the stadium needs to be made soon, as in the world of politics one needs to strike while the iron is hot. And the iron IS hot because Gov. Andrew Cuomo is willing to back the project.

So, here we are. The talks about a new area are very real, however, there are two sides to the argument and it looks like a decision could be a drawn-out political battle. Yippee!

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