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CenterState CEO’s Economic Champions

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 25, 2016


Congratulations to St. Joseph’s Health, the recipient of this year’s Community Visionary Award at CenterState CEO’s Economic Champions Luncheon! Their commitment to the Northside and the Near West Side goes beyond the typical definition of a “hospital.” CenterState CEO’s President, Rob Simpson, explains,”For nearly a decade, St. Joe’s has exhibited the vision, commitment and leadership that is critical to advancing opportunities to create greater prosperity in our community.” To learn more about St. Joe’s efforts and their dedication to “our neighbors,” click on the video below.

Overall, CenterState recognized 295 companies at the luncheon and the impact they have on our region: “collective hiring of 3,163 employees, more than 1 million square feet of expansions, and over $650 million in capital investments.” In addition, 68 new businesses were recognized, in line with this year’s theme, “Celebrating Business Beginnings.” Click on the video below to learn what drives these up-and-coming business owners and see some of the original Up Start entrepreneurs: Aloha Japanese Bento Express, That’s What’s Up food truck and catering, and Salt City Coffee.

To learn more about the Economic Champions in our region, visit CenterState CEO’s website or follow them on Facebook.

Photo Friday: Climb The Walls

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 21, 2016


I-81 & The Northside: How You Can Help, Part 2

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 19, 2016

Editor’s note: To read Part 1 of “How You Can Help,” click here


To help add to our efforts in making sure that the interests of the Northside are respected, please fill out this I-81 Comment Sheet and send back to NYSDOT. In the comment section, please deliver the following message: “The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) must include an alternative for the area north of I-690 without the missing link flyovers, without the additional lanes, and that maintains the direct connection between the Northside and Armory Square.”

There is strength in numbers and we hope that our collective voices will be heard by NYSDOT and their plans for I-81 will be modified to eliminate many of the negative changes that would impact the Northside. If you aren’t familiar with these impacts, please watch the video below, “Repeating the Mistakes of the Past,” put together by Michael Stanton.



NYSDOT is also holding many different Neighborhood Meeting this fall to solicit feedback from the community. Anyone is welcome to attend one or more of these meetings to further express your concerns.


To learn more about NYSDOT’s plans for I-81, visit their website and view the revised presentation for their October 5th Open House.

I-81 & The Northside: How You Can Help, Part 1

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 17, 2016


The NY State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)’s Open House earlier this month revealed new and revised plans for the reconstruction of I-81. Although great strides were made in refining some of the plans, the fact remains that the Common Features north of I-690 will have dramatic negative impacts on the Northside and Franklin Square communities.

These impacts were presented and discussed at a Public Meeting in September and will be reiterated for those who were unable to attend tomorrow during the Northeast Hawley Development Association‘s Neighborhood Meeting: October 18th, 6:00 PM at Housing Visions (116 Hawley Avenue). All are welcome.

If you are already well acquainted with all of the impacts, attending one of NYSDOT’s open forums will assist in the effort to see that the interests of our neighborhood are respected. Over the next several weeks NYSDOT is hosting a series of neighborhood meetings to present the most current plans and gather feedback:


We’re asking the Northside community to attend one or more of these meetings and deliver the following message to NYSDOT and their consultant team: “The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) must include an alternative for the area north of I-690 without the missing link flyovers, without the additional lanes, and that maintains the direct connection between the Northside and Armory Square.”

For more information about how you can help, stay tuned to our blog and Facebook.


Photo Friday: Dressed in Yellow

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 14, 2016


Up Start Update: That’s What’s Up

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 13, 2016


Three years ago, Curtis Washington came to Up Start with a plan to revive and refine his food truck business after it failed to take off. He went through a rebranding effort, selecting a new name, designing a new logo, and creating a new menu. During that time, he continued to work as a chef and began catering events and parties. With a solid foundation of Southern cooking that stems from childhood summers spent in his Grandmother’s kitchen, Curtis was able to experiment with international flavors and techniques and gain feedback during his catering gigs and other marketplace experiences facilitated by Up Start.

In the spring of 2015, Curtis was ready to launch his food truck, taking it to the Food Truck Rodeo, parking on the St. Joseph’s Health campus during lunch time, and popping up at different events in the community. This year, he and his business were nominated for the Best Local Chef and Best Food Truck/Food Stand in the Syracuse New Times‘ “Best of Syracuse” contest.

Click the photo below to watch Curtis’ update on Vimeo!

Video by Daylight Bluye Media

Video by Daylight Bluye Media

To learn more about That’s What’s Up, follow them on Facebook and visit their website.

Stay tuned for more updates about our first Up Start entrepreneurs as we celebrate Up Start’s birthday.

Up Start is a collaborative business development program that connects entrepreneurs to the resources, tools, and networks to help their businesses thrive. 

Photo Friday: A Peak Inside the With Love Restaurant

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 7, 2016

We’re waiting with anticipation for North Salina’s new teaching restaurant and entrepreneur incubator to open this November. To learn more, visit their website and sign-up to receive updates straight to your inbox:www.withloverestaurant.com


Photo Friday: Scenes from the Northside Festival

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 30, 2016


Open Meeting on I-81′s Impact on the Northside: Recap

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 28, 2016


Over the last several months, neighborhood stakeholders have started meeting over concerns for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plans for the I-81 reconstruction. The group, made up of leaders from Northside UP, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, the Mission Landing Home Owners Association, Northside Business Partnership, Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA), ACTS Moving People Transportation Coalition, and American Institute of Architects (AIA), were especially interested in the “Common Features” of the plan that would impact Franklin Square and the Northside.

Last week, these concerns were brought to a public meeting at the Samaritan Center to get input from the community and urge DOT to explore a design that would not interrupt the revitalization of our neighborhoods. 150 residents, business owners, developers, and public officials came to the meeting to hear more about these “Common Features” that could demolish 19 buildings on the Northside and Franklin Square, including commercial, residential and historic properties.

Douglas Sutherland of  Franklin Properties, LLC presented on the features for the first half of the meeting. Comments and concerns from the audience followed, many of which emphasized the importance of preserving jobs, exploring other types of transportation, and staying involved in DOT’s process as plans move forward.

Our Director, Dominic Robinson, stressed, “We should be prioritizing quality of life over the ability to get out of the city.” He continued to explain that DOT is listening to the concerns raised and that the community should stay involved with the process.

Barry Lents, a member of the Moving People Transportation Coalition and one of DOT’s stakeholder advisory groups, urged everyone to attend DOT’s fall Open House event where many of the “Common Features” will be explored further.



Photo credit: Scott Willis / WAER News


In the days following the meeting, several news outlets interviewed stakeholders and reported on their concerns, including ”Will I-81 rebuild destroy historic Syracuse buildings, block off North Side from city?” from Syracuse.com, ”Syracuse’s Northside Stakeholders Say I-81 Project Would Significantly Impact Neighborhoods” from WAER, and “Northside Urban Partnership Director Says I-81 Proposal Would Hurt Neighborhood” from TWC News.

Yesterday, an editorial on Syracuse.com entitled “Community needs more details about I-81′s impact on Syracuse’s North Side,” further explored the concerns on the Northside and in Franklin Square: “Our own reporting has shown that the 690-to-81 ramps are likely to plow through 19 buildings, many of them historic, in the Hawley-Green, Little Italy and Franklin Square neighborhoods. That’s a whole lot more than DOT’s own estimate of two to five building acquisitions contained in its April 2015 scoping report.

This week DOT also released the details for their fall Open House event: Thursday, October 6th, 3:00 – 8:00 PM at the Oncenter (800 South State Street). At this meeting  Project Director Mark Frechette will give a brief project overview and project team members will answer questions. Attendees will also expect more information about the current status of the various alternatives under development, new traffic information showcasing travel times to various destinations, and anticipated property impacts for the different alternatives.


Concerns about the Northside were voiced three years ago when DOT first began conversations about I-81 and requested feedback from the community. At that time, representatives from the Northside drafted a letter to the editor that outlined their goals for the I-81 project, stating, “We on the North Side are proud to be a part of a resurgent Syracuse and are committed to continuing our progress – which is why the conversation about Interstate 81 is so important to us.” The public meeting was an extension of this conversation that will extend to the DOT’s Open House on October 6th.

Up Start Update: Aloha Japanese Bento Express

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 26, 2016


Last November, Zaw Nyein and his wife, Thaw, opened Aloha Japanese Bento Express, the first restaurant in Syracuse that fuses the flavors of Burma, Japan and Hawaii. Located at 217 South Salina Street, Aloha was the dream of Zaw, a geologist from Burma who left his home country to find other economic opportunities.  He moved to Japan first, and then Hawaii, where he took a series of restaurant jobs. As he learned the ins-and-outs of running a restaurant and creating traditional Japanese and Hawaiian dishes, he started to contemplate opening his own restaurant in a city where his daughter could also receive a good education. He chose Syracuse.

Click below to watch Zaw’s update on Vimeo!



Video by Daylight Blue Media

To learn more about Aloha and take a look at their menu, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Stay tuned to learn more about some of our first Up Start entrepreneurs as we celebrate Up Start’s birthday.

Up Start is a collaborative business development program that connects entrepreneurs to the resources, tools, and networks to help their businesses thrive.