Updated 09/04/2012 03:59 PM
Stop's move paves the way for downtown development
Business owners along Salina Street in Syracuse say the buses that stopped near the intersection with Fayette Street brought congestion, limited parking and drove some customers away. But they say they also brought a lot of regulars right to their store fronts. The opening of the new Centro Transit Hub has eliminated those stops. Our Sarah Blazonis talked to some in the neighborhood about what they think of the move and has more on what's ahead for the area.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Gary Rich keeps an old photograph in his business that shows many things have changed in downtown Syracuse. Still the same is how folks travel downtown.
"A lot of customers were bus line people and mine's a convenience store. You get off the bus, come in, get back on the bus and go. I'm going to miss those people," said Rich, owner of Central Variety Bargain Center, a convenience store on Salina Street.
But there are others Rich and some customers won't miss.
"People milling around, you had people selling drugs on the street, selling cigarettes on the street and it was just not a good element to be around," said Douglas Shannon, a Central Variety customer who says he plans on making more trips to the store now that the buses are gone.
Less congestion and more parking aren't the only changes expected in this neighborhood with the bus stop's departure.
The Downtown Committee says it's looking at the possibility of developing a public space in a plaza near the intersection.
"We have talked about the idea of a design competition," said Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee. "Could we do something that would involve public art for that location and do some landscaping and changing of the land uses around there, in just that plaza?"
Businesses also say they're excited about other projects going on downtown, including the ongoing construction on the Pike Block Project.
The $28 million project involves the renovation of four buildings into apartments and retail space and officials predict current projects are just the beginning.
"I think you're going to see a lot of development activity," said Treier. "Right now, the developers were waiting to see what was going to happen with the bus transfer station."
"Thank the Downtown Committee and the Pike Block to invest the money that they're doing to bring back the center of downtown, the 300 block, because it hasn't been touched in 60 or 70 years," Rich said.
And while Rich doesn't think downtown will return to its past self, he says he is looking forward to a bright future ahead.