Officials prepare to enter phases 2, 3 of Connective Corridor construction
As the Connective Corridor enters phases two and three of construction this summer, community members can expect to see minor projects underway within the next few weeks — including the repair of broken lights along University Avenue.
Elements of public art, green infrastructure and improved transportation will continue into the next phases, Owen Kerney, deputy director of the city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, said Wednesday morning during a public information session at The Warehouse.
“This is more than just a streetscape reconstruction and there’s a lot of additional elements that we feel are important and are recognized on a national basis as unique and worth supporting,” Kerney said.
The Connective Corridor, introduced by Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor in 2005, aims to bring the university and downtown area closer through a $42.5 million, three-phase transportation and streetscape improvement project. Phase one was completed last fall.
Wednesday’s meeting was one of two public information sessions the city of Syracuse and SU are holding for community members. The sessions serve to review work completed during phase one of construction for the Connective Corridor project, discuss plans for phases two and three and introduce key players in the project.
The second meeting will be held Jan. 31at the Central New York Philanthropy Center, 431 E. Fayette St., in the second-floor ballroom at 9 a.m. Those who cannot attend the meetings are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Connective Corridor’s website for more information.
The next phases of construction, which cost $14.5 million, will pick up along Forman Avenue in late July or early August, Kerney said. Kerney said he does not expect construction to continue past Towson Street before the end of 2013. Construction will resume from March to October of 2014. The project is slated for completion in 2015.
Within the next month, minor work will occur along the Corridor. Stainless steel protective sleeves for damaged light bollards along University Avenue have been ordered and will be in place soon, said Linda Dickerson Hartsock, who oversees the Corridor as director of SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development.
In the upcoming weeks, 95 trees currently growing along the downtown section of the Corridor will be removed, said Steve Harris, city arborist. All trees will be removed by March 1 to adhere to federal guidelines. Trees will be replaced in areas along the Corridor where there is more space for them to grow.
Construction projects for phases two and three will concentrate on downtown areas, including work on the Civic Strip and Onondaga Sewer Separation Project. The Civic Strip, the area around the Oncenter Complex, will feature improved lighting and wayfinding signs to call attention to local landmarks and make the area friendlier for pedestrians and tourists.
Project planners are also looking into a crow deterrent for Forman Park, Hartsock said. Last fall, the park was covered in bird droppings when birds roosted in the area.
Community members and business owners who attended Wednesday’s meeting expressed general approval of the project, although a handful of business owners voiced concern regarding construction affecting their businesses.
“We do understand that construction is disruptive and so through phase one we worked really hard to put together a system for local businesses to know who to talk to, who to call if they had issues,” Hartsock said.
Restaurant businesses will likely only be disrupted if the water is turned off, and project planners will inform businesses of that beforehand, Hartsock said.
Kerney also reminded business owners that, aside from facade improvements, construction is only planned for areas within the city’s right of way. Project planners will be accepting applications for the next round of facade improvement grants, with $250,000 in total available, for area business owners interested in adding red awnings, signage or outdoor seating.
One community member asked whether project planners have considered adding public bathrooms downtown, since few business owners allow people off of the street to use their bathrooms. Kerney said public bathrooms are not in line with the project’s intent and the city has concerns about public bathrooms encouraging problems such as loitering or littering.
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