2016 Annual Meeting
Presented by Pathfinder Bank
More than 350 members of the Downtown community convened in the Oncenter ballroom (map) for the 2016 Annual Meeting Luncheon of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc, presented by Pathfinder Bank.
From the creative vision of property owners and developers, to the determined spirit of the longtime business, restaurant and cultural institution leaders, to the passion of the entrepreneurial individuals who want to get involved and make a difference, the Downtown Committee’s Annual Meeting was a celebration of the announcements, people and places that are driving Downtown’s resurgence.
The Downtown Committee and Pathfinder Bank were honored to welcome the Global Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Land Institute, Patrick L. Phillips as the Keynote Speaker. Phillips has been at the helm of the Urban Land Institute since 2009, but his career in the economic analysis of real estate and land use spans more than 20 years. In fact, it started in Syracuse.
Phillips, who graduated from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in 1981, fondly remembers studying under his professor – and Armory Square pioneer – George Curry. He went on to receive his graduate degree in public management and finance from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
In his Keynote Address, Mr. Phillips discussed factors that have contributed to our Downtown’s renaissance, and how those factors compare to the resurgence similar-sized Downtowns across the country are experiencing. He discussed the role public services play – such as the Downtown Committee’s Environmental Maintenance and Security programs - in the recovery of America’s Downtowns, as Downtown organizations adapt to serve their community’s needs. He also talked about the importance of building for flexibility and innovation, and how being adaptable to change is critical for success. Finally, Mr. Phillips discussed how Downtown Syracuse can position itself for continued success by attracting talents and investments.
“The revival of America's Downtowns is a great, and relatively unheralded, success story,” said Mr. Phillips. “Changing demographics, public policy, and public service delivery improvements have all come together to create new vitality and great opportunity for downtown areas. Downtowns are now neighborhoods of choice, places to live, work, and play.”
State of Downtown Report:
The Keynote address was followed by a State of Downtown Report, presented by Executive Director of the Downtown Committee, Merike Treier. Ms. Treier outlined Downtown’s greatest accomplishments of the last year, praising the people and the projects that have contributed to Downtown Syracuse’s story, transforming it from what was a predominantly 9 to 5 office center, to a thriving residential center supporting 24/7 life. She also previewed what the Downtown Syracuse community can look forward to in the next year, and how we can work together to continue to position ourselves for a stronger future.
“In the 12 years I’ve lived here, I can’t remember a time that we’ve had this much construction, interest, investment and new job announcements,” said Ms. Treier. “Downtown’s renaissance is now. We hope those in attendance will walk away from our Annual Meeting thinking about what fuels their passion for our Downtown community, and do something tangible so that the next chapters in our story are those of continued growth and progress.”
Downtown Awards of Excellence:
At our Annual Meeting, it's become tradition to recognize the accomplishments of our Downtown Syracuse All-Stars - the businesses, organizations and individuals who have contributed to Downtown's growth, diversity and vitality.
- The Urban Innovation Award, awarded for a successful, trail-blazing activity in a previously underdeveloped facet of Downtown Syracuse, was presented to the Wednesday Walk Series for promoting the healthy benefits of walking through guided tours highlighting various themes throughout Downtown Syracuse, during lunchtime or early in the evening. The innovative program is a collaborative effort among health-conscious organizations in our community.
- The Heart of Downtown Award, awarded for efforts that positively impact how people feel about Downtown Syracuse, was presented to Mary Beth Roach, Deputy Commissioner, of the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Syracuse. As a true community leader, Mary Beth works tirelessly to provide a vibrant setting and high quality of life. She is instrumental behind the scenes of many of Downtown’s major events, but also very visible throughout the events as well, making sure all runs smoothly.
- The Perfect Partner Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations for advocacy efforts that positively impacts Downtown Syracuse, was presented to the Rescue Mission’s Gary Mann and Jim Hawley, as well as In My Father’s Kitchen’s John and Leigh-Ann Timuno, who embody the mission of their organizations to improve people’s lives through their commitment to changing the way outreach services are delivered to those living with mental illness, substance abuse issues, or homelessness.