Mayor, County Executive Urge Input On 81 Future; Destiny USA Responds

Syracuse, N.Y. - Both the mayor of Syracuse and the Onondaga County Executive are urging the public to share their thoughts on the future of Interstate 81.

The state DOT announced it supports a community grid option to replace part of the aging highway. The project calls for a stretch of road that runs through downtown Syracuse to be demolished sending the thru-traffic can be rerouted to 481.

The owners of Destiny USA, one of the nations largest mall, is expressing concern about the latest street-level boulevard option. Pyramid Management Group CEO Steve Congel expressed concern and anxiety in a statement.

Destiny USA is an international travel and tourism destination with visitors from well beyond the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County limits and all over the world. Since 1987, we have transformed the Syracuse lakefront area and Destiny USA project into one of New York State’s top tourist attractions, employing over 5,500 and serving as an important economic catalyst for all of Central New York. At the heart of it all has always been—and always will be—high-speed access to and visibility from I-81. It’s what allows us to attract hundreds of businesses and tens of millions of visitors to Destiny USA, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County from outside the region every year. We are concerned about any solution that impacts Destiny USA’s ability to remain a regional draw. We have shared this concern with the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County and New York State over many years. Like many businesses, residents, and community leaders who recognize the need for maintaining high-speed access through the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County, we are anxious to review the latest Draft Environmental Impact Statement released by the New York State Department of Transportation and participate in the determination and ultimate outcome of this transformational decision.

There will be several public hearings before any work begins.

It will be at least another year before construction starts.

Construction is expected to take about five years.

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