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Reflecting on Accomplishments, Celebrating Progress, Envisioning the Future

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Syracuse, NY - In less than two weeks, 350 members of the downtown community are expected to convene for the Annual Meeting of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. at 12pm, Wednesday, June 24, in the ballroom of the Oncenter. 2015 marks a milestone year for the Downtown Committee, which became the first special assessment district in the state when it was established in 1975. Community leaders set the pace for the forward thinking that continues to influence Downtown Syracuse today. In recognizing the importance of creating a vibrant urban center and the need to establish an organization to support revitalization plans, leaders laid groundwork for progress in Downtown Syracuse, and built a foundation for more than 160 similar districts across the state to follow suit.

The Downtown Committee’s Annual Meeting will highlight several exciting endeavors that have changed the landscape of Downtown Syracuse in the last 40 years, as well as celebrate the $340 million in redevelopment projects currently underway in the center city.

The Downtown Committee is pleased to welcome the President and CEO of the Congress for New Urbanism, Lynn Richards, as the keynote speaker. Richards, a Rochester native, has held many leadership roles including Acting Director and Policy Director in the Office of Sustainable Communities, for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She has worked with dozens of state and local governments to implement place-making approaches by developing policies, urban design strategies, and environmental solutions for vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods. At the Annual Meeting, Richards will speak to the national demographic trends as the tipping point for cities and neighborhoods, the benefits of investing in places, and the importance of collaboration as Downtown Syracuse plans ahead for its exciting future.

“We are delighted to welcome Lynn Richards and learn of her experience with other downtown communities,” said Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. “With strong ties to Upstate New York, Ms. Richards knows what this community has already achieved and understands what is needed to maintain that momentum. We look forward to hearing more about her strategies, and how we can apply those to our ever-evolving city center.”

In the last 40 years, the transformation in Downtown Syracuse has helped stir new energy across the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County as a whole. From luxury housing birthed from what once were department stores and factories, to the entrepreneurial spirit that has transformed historic buildings into modern office spaces, to public art projects, streetscape improvements and everything in between, the momentum in Downtown Syracuse has helped bring 18 new retail businesses downtown in the last year. There are plans for four more to open by the end of this summer.

In her State of Downtown Report, executive director Merike Treier will share how the vision and efforts of longtime 

Downtown champions have helped shape Downtown Syracuse. Accomplishments of the last year will also be recognized. Three individuals or organizations who have contributed to downtown’s growth, diversity and revitalization will be honored with Downtown Awards of Excellence.

Tickets for the Annual Meeting are currently on sale. You may purchase an individual seat for $40, or a table of eight for $320, through the Downtown Committee’s website. Tickets purchased on or before Tuesday, June 16 will be mailed. Tickets purchased after may be picked up at the registration table, located in the lobby of the Oncenter, just outside of the ballroom.

The Downtown Committee will continue to spotlight various monthly themes related to Downtown’s accomplishments and continued growth as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration all year long. Look for a focus on Downtown festivals this June, across the website and social media platforms.  The public is invited to join the conversation by following the Downtown Committee on Facebook (Downtown Syracuse), Twitter (@downtownSYR) and Instagram (downtownsyracuse), using the hashtag #CelebrateDowntownSYR.

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