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Progress Breakfast Celebrates Downtown’s Growth by Highlighting Onondaga County’s Role in a Vibrant Downtown

Syracuse, NY – 350 members of the Downtown Syracuse community joined the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. and Mower for the 2019 Fall Progress Breakfast to learn more about the role that Onondaga County plays in fueling a vibrant, thriving Downtown Syracuse.

Guests heard insights from three presenters, who each play an integral role in ensuring Downtown’s continued success as a thriving place to live and work, and as an attractive destination for visitors. Downtown’s arts, culture and entertainment offerings alone bring an estimated 5.1 million visitors into Downtown Syracuse each year.

Onondaga County Initiatives

The Downtown Committee and Mower were pleased to welcome Hon. J. Ryan McMahon II, Onondaga County Executive to kick-off the 2019 Fall Progress Breakfast presentation line-up. The county executive, who has consistently recognized the importance of investing in a strong city center to support a strong county core, said that Downtown Syracuse is the economic hub of Onondaga County. As a common councilor, county legislator and now as our county executive, McMahon consistently creates opportunities for our community and finds ways to connect people with those opportunities. Pointing to the county’s partnership with the City of Syracuse to establish the first regional high school with a STEAM focus, McMahon illustrated the importance of building upon Downtown’s resurgence by catalyzing new activity in adjacent areas. The STEAM school, planned for Central Tech, located just south of Downtown, will transform Downtown’s southern gateway.

Tourism in Onondaga County

Danny Liedka, President & CEO of Visit Syracuse, spoke about tourism and the draw of Downtown Syracuse. Tourism is a $54 billion industry and New York State, and Onondaga County accounts for about a third of that. To break that down even further, the economic impact of visitors in Downtown Syracuse equates to about a third of Onondaga County’s economic impact. The tourism industry in Onondaga County supports more than 17,000 jobs. Liedka spoke to attendees from the perspective of a traveler, and showed them elements of Downtown Syracuse that are attractive from the lens through which brand new visitors see our Downtown. One element that has emerged as a big draw is the lens through which Hollywood filmmakers and producers see Downtown Syracuse.

"Downtown Syracuse is booming, and Onondaga County is proud of the role we've played to help in its resurgence," said Hon. J. Ryan McMahon II, Onondaga County Executive. "Just as important, as our downtown core continues to get stronger, we are now seeing investment and growth occur in adjacent neighborhoods unleashing new opportunities for many members of our community."

The Film Industry in Onondaga County

Eric Vinal, the Vice President of Film, TV and Entertainment for Visit Syracuse, spoke specifically to the film industry and its economic impact. He discussed the appeal of Downtown Syracuse as a filming location – its proximity to New York City, tax incentives, and film-friendly locations that give off more of a “hometown” feeling to name a few draws – and how the industry pumps millions of dollars back into our community. In the last five years, 20 films have been filmed around our region, and half a dozen have given Downtown Syracuse a supporting role, filming scenes in familiar places and landmarks. Just last week, “The Binge,” Hulu’s first original film, filmed in the Hanover Square neighborhood. So far this year, the film industry has generated $17.5 million for our community. “The Binge” alone – wrapping production today - has generated $7 million.

The Progress Breakfast Series is designed to celebrate the forward-thinking that has fueled recent redevelopment in Downtown Syracuse. Unique to this event, presenters mingle with attendees in a personal network setting following the event. The event is known for providing ‘exclusive previews’ of projects and items that the community is buzzing about.

“The Progress Breakfast Series celebrates partnerships, an important driver in Downtown’s revitalization,” said Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee. “The Progress Breakfast has a history of motivating attendees and stirring new conversations to catalyze development and future growth, and county- led initiatives, tourism and the film industry have generated a buzz in Downtown Syracuse, like we’ve never heard before. A strong Downtown Syracuse helps the entire region. We are thankful for the foresight of our presenters and their commitment to supporting a strong county core.”

The Downtown Committee is proud to partner with Mower to present the Progress Breakfast Series. Mower, a professional independent marketing and public relations agency located in Jefferson Clinton Commons in Downtown Syracuse, prioritizes building connections with people to accelerate growth.

“Conversations had at the Progress Breakfast lead to new investments in our community,” said Stephanie Crockett, executive vice president and managing director at Mower. “Downtown Syracuse is a place where paths intersect, and through powerful stories, the Progress Breakfast Series shows us what happens at the places where people and ideas come together.”

The Progress Breakfast receives additional support from SWBR and the Central New York Business Journal. The event is held twice a year, in the fall and spring seasons. The Downtown Committee welcomes suggestions for future topics and presenters to be featured at future Progress Breakfasts. The community is encouraged to send suggestions via email to with “Progress Breakfast Topics” in the subject field.

About the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc.

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit, professional downtown management organization representing all property owners and tenants within the central business district. The Downtown Committee undertakes programs to improve downtown's image, strengthen its economic base, increase its attractiveness, and assure that it's clean, safe and accessible. For more information, visit

About Mower

Mower is a digitally-integrated independent marketing, advertising and public relations agency. With professionals in New York City; Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinatti; Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Syracuse N.Y.;, Mower delivers strategic insights, digital solutions, smart creative, and award-winning results to clients. Mower is part of two global agency networks – thenetworkone and IPREX – as well as the 4A’s. For more information about Mower, please visit