A letter from adam bushey

Healthy neighborhoods make a healthier city. Blighted homes and buildings destroy neighborhoods and breed social ills such as increased crime rates, the diminution of economic opportunities, unsafe public spaces, and increased drug problems. This destabilizer could not be a more significant hex on the City of Syracuse where there are over 1,200 vacant properties. The 17th Ward, where Le Moyne is located, accounts for many of this total. The severity of the urban blight in Syracuse is deflated because these numbers do no take into account currently occupied buildings and homes which are in disrepair. Moreover, the New York Times reported that neighborhoods become “poverty traps” because they become associated with a common perception of the way people in a community act and think (Patricia Cohen, ‘Culture of Poverty’ Makes a Comeback, New York Times, Oct. 17, 2010).

In order to remedy this problem, serious attention must be given to the urban-core neighborhood which makes up a city in order to stabilize these neighborhoods, spur economic development and reduce job loss. The City of Syracuse is not financially stable enough to take on such an endeavor. The Post-Standard recently quoted Mayor Miner saying that the city is in the middle of a financial crisis, and plans to expend over ten million dollars in rainy day funds to cover operating expenditures. A financially strapped city with no tax base impairs the growth of the region, all the organizations within it, and the development of the population.

Alternative solutions to remedy these problems often come from ventures of smart entrepreneurs who have discovered ways to help their cities thrive and increase their population. According to Harvard economist Edward L. Gleaser, akin old, northern cities like Boston and Minneapolis have been successful at staving off urban decline from just such entrepreneurs. Similarly, the non-profit group Empire State Future, dedicated to the revitalization of New York’s streets, towns and urban areas, recommends focused development and growth efforts around Syracuse’s existing strengths: its educated work force and existing infrastructure and housing stock.

Upon completion of the renovations, each home will be fully insulated with energy star appliances, furnaces and windows, energy efficient light bulbs, washers and dryers. They will also have remodeled kitchens and bathrooms as well and equipped with tankless hot water heaters that will save tenants over $100 year (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=gas_tankless.pr_savings_benefits).

Similar successful city beautification projects have been completed by Oberlin College alumni for Oberlin, OH (Lisa Chamberlain, Young, Idealistic and Now Developers, New York Times, Oct. 18, 2006) and more recently by Nancy Cantor with the Syracuse University downtown satellite school.

The strong Jesuit tradition of public service was instilled in me during my time in Le Moyne and encouraged me to make Syracuse a better place for all Central New Yorkers.

Father Beirne was dedicated to making Le Moyne a better place for students through developing the City of Syracuse into a stronger, cleaner community. On September 10, 2005, the late Father Beirne wrote in the Post-Standard that we need to “look at ways we can be even more responsive to our community.” Following the words of my beloved mentor, I have looked for a way to be more responsive to the City of Syracuse and I have found a way.

Donation AmountDonation                        Level                               What Your Donation Means

$50 or less                                                  Bronze                               Construction supplies

$50-$500                                                   Silver                                 Power tools for increased productivity

$500-$5000                                              Gold                                   Insurance, labor, and EnergyStar Appliances

$5000 or $10.000                                     Platinum                            Labor for 1 months

$10,000 Plus                                            Honorary                            Accomplishing our Mission

 

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