With Primary Day just a week away, the candidates for Syracuse mayor are participating in a host of debate and forums. One was fairly unique. A forum held Tuesday by group called CNY Speaks allowed participants to discuss a plan for the city's downtown, then ask questions about it to the mayoral candidates. Our Kat De Maria explains.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The people who gathered at the Hotel Syracuse Tuesday came because they care about the future of the city.
"I've always been interested in the growth of this community," said Charlotte Holstein.
"I would like to see a lot of things change," said Joshua Bryant.
A forum hosted by a group called CNY Speaks allowed people to discuss a document developed over the past year known as the Citizens' Agenda for downtown Syracuse.
"We think it provides a nice framework and we also think it opens up the dialogue on how to improve downtown," said CNY Speaks Project Manager Greg Munno.
Tables were given specific topics: economic development, crime and safety, arts and aesthetics and parking and transportation and shared their thoughts.
"You had older people and a person like myself who's younger, so you get different ideas," Bryant said.
More than just discussing the issues that affect downtown Syracuse, participants then had the chance to ask pointed questions about them to the people who would be the city's next mayor.
"We would like to ask them three specific questions, if they could tell us three ways they would govern in order to bring economic development downtown," Holstein said.
That question was the first one posed to the candidates.
"Try to get all of our economic development offices, not just citywide or countywide, or regionwide, together as one," said Democratic candidate Carmen Harlow.
"Restructure the Office of Economic Development and move it into the Mayor's office," said Joe Nicoletti, also a Democrat.
"I would hire an economic development director," said Republican candidate Otis Jennings.
"We would make sure when we start projects, we would complete them," said Alfonso Davis, a Democrat.
"There are some common things that are a difficulty to them, that, I think, as a city we could help with in terms of having an office that aids small business," said Republican candidate Steve Kimatian.
"We need to look at re-engineering the economic development process, particularly with the revolution in technology that we have had in our system," said Democratic candidate Stephanie Miner.
Participants say they hope the candidates will take their ideas from the forum to City Hall.
"I think our questions will definitely be taken into consideration in some way or other," Bryant said.
"If any mayoral candidate doesn't listen to the citizens, I don't think they deserve to be mayor," Holstein said.
Because ultimately, one of them will be responsible for leading Syracuse into the future.
People go to the polls to choose the Republican and Democratic nominees for Syracuse mayor next Tuesday.