Legislator Questions Onondaga County Exec's Push for $85 Million Aquarium

Onondaga County Legislator Mary Kuhn is questioning the push for an $85 million aquarium in Syracuse.

An Open Letter to the County Executive

Dear Mr. McMahon:

   I have run two campaigns for County Legislator highlighting the need

for more transparency in County government. The issue I wish to address

here is that of the proposed aquarium, details of which have not been

made available to the public.

   I know that it is your belief that using $85 million of surplus taxpayers'

funds on an aquarium will be a great economic benefit to the City as well

as to the County. I have listened to your team’s presentation and read

through the $125,000 study you commissioned. When I attend community

meetings, I have taken the opportunity to ask constituents their thoughts

on this expenditure. I know that many of my colleagues, on both sides of

the aisle, have done so as well. In my experience, an overwhelming

majority have expressed their opposition. The only positive

encouragement I have received has been from a handful of hotel,

restaurant, and construction representatives and two school


   Certainly, there must be a variety of viewpoints and I recognize that I

regularly engage with a relatively small percentage of County residents. If

such an enormously expensive project is to succeed, it should have the

support of more than those who will directly profit from it. I believe it is our

responsibility to inform the taxpayers about the aquarium and why you

believe it will benefit the County and provide them an opportunity to have

their questions answered.

   To this end, I am asking you to have your team, along with their

PowerPoint, hold town hall type meetings in the four quadrants of the

County. These meetings should be after working hours to maximize the

number of people able to attend. I will commit to attending every one of these

forums so that I, and you, can be fully informed about constituent feelings

and ideas about this project

   Mr. McMahon, I recognize this is a large ask of you, however, I hope

you’ll agree that such an effort on our part is simply one of the basic

responsibilities that we, as elected representatives, should fulfill.


Mary Kuhn

Onondaga County Legislator, District 7

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