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Money from Destiny USA could be used for Inner Harbor upgrades

via Flickr

Some of the money collected through the tax break agreement between the Destiny USA mega-mall and Syracuse will be used to try and win federal funding for Inner Harbor improvements.

The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA) has approved the use of $500,000 from Destiny payments to be part of a match for a federal grant the city is applying for.

The grant from the Economic Development Administration is worth $2 million, if the city can match it. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, was in Syracuse last month to stump for the grant. The city will have to come up with the other $1.5 million elsewhere.

The $4 million would go to upgrades around the Inner Harbor to entice the development, according to SIDA Executive Director Ben Walsh.

Those upgrades would include the installation of better lighting and sidewalks as well as putting in sewer and water lines.

"As much potential as there is for development in the Inner Harbor, it does lack significant infrastructure," Walsh says. "So by making these investments, we really think we’re going to fast-track a number of investments around the area."

The Inner Harbor is a 28 acre former industrial site from when the Erie Canal ran through Syracuse. It later became known as "Oil City" for all the fuel and waste stored on the site.

Most of the industrial elements are gone, but short of walking paths and benches, the site remains relatively under-developed.

Syracuse has recently renewed its efforts to redevelop the site.

The city this summer approved a $350 million dollar development project for the Inner Harbor, but Walsh says there's potential for more development.

"There will certainly be a benefit to all the surrounding property owners and extend what we put in there," he says.

In its controversial 2007 tax break deal, money received from Destiny USA (then known as Carousel Center) must be used for improvements along Syracuse's lakefront.

The city will be formally submitting its bid later this month, according to SIDA Executive Director Walsh.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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