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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Syracuse.com Explores the Rooms at Saint Clare Gardens

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 27, 2017


Earlier this month, Assumptions Church announced that they were in the process of selling several buildings on their campus to local developers Troy Evans and Steve Case. Included in that sale are the Saint Clare Garden apartments and the Parish Hall, the subjects of a recent article from Syracuse.com that explores the buildings’ rooms, their history, and their potential.

“Peek inside the former Saint Clare Gardens apartments on Syracuse’s Northside neighborhood and you’ll be forgiven if you can’t tell whether you are in an apartment building, a school or a convent.

During the building’s 92-year history, it’s been all three.

It opened in 1891 at 1109 N. Townsend Street as the Assumption Church sisters convent. In 1925, an addition was built to house Assumption Academy, a high school for the children of the parish. In 1981, with student enrollment declining, the Franciscan Friars, the building’s owner, closed the school and sold the building to a developer who turned it into apartments.

The friars later reacquired the building and operated it as apartments for low-income tenants. But without the money required to make needed repairs, the religious order closed the apartments early last year and relocated its tenants to other housing.

‘We have no more savings,’ said Friar Rick Riccioli, pastor of Assumption Church. ‘If the roof goes or the boiler goes, we have no money.’

Now, two developers, Troy Evans and Steve Case, have agreed to buy the building, as well as Assumption Church’s parish hall and three other nearby buildings, from the friars. Case said he and Evans plans to spend about $1 million to renovate the building’s 29 apartments and reopen them as affordable alternatives to the pricey downtown apartments that people with average incomes cannot afford.

Case said rents will be in the $700 to $1,000 a month range, compared with the $1,000 to $1,500 (or higher) rents charged at many of the apartments that have come onto the market in downtown Syracuse in recent years.

The renovations will include a new roof and heating system. Case said carpeting will be ripped up to expose the building’s original hardwood floors. The apartments’ layouts will not be changed, but kitchens will get new cabinets, appliances and counters.

The building contains many reminders of its past uses, and Case said they will remain in place. The Assumption School’s blackboards are still there, hanging in hallways and living rooms. So is the fine wood paneling in an apartment that once served as the entrance to the convent. 

‘They’ve still got the charm of old apartments,’ Case said.” 

To read the entire article and explore all of the photos, click here.

Photo Friday: Blooms at the Ready

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 24, 2017


Syracuse.com Publishes Findings from New American Economy Study

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 22, 2017

New American Economy Study

Image credit: Syracuse.com and New American Economy


Yesterday Syracuse.com’s article, “Immigrants boosting the economies of Syracuse and Buffalo: study,” highlights the contributions of New Americans to the economy of Central New York. Our Vice President of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO, Dominic Robinson, met with Syracuse.com’s editorial board to discuss the study and highlight some of the findings.

“Robinson said immigrants help reduce housing vacancies created by Syracuse’s and Buffalo’s declining population bases and provide labor for jobs, such as low-wage, assembly-type manufacturing, that otherwise might go unfilled.

‘Refugees and immigrant populations are economically important to Central New York as they contribute to the local labor force and to the tax base as the region battles population loss,’ he said.

Although refugees often require social services and other government assistance when they first arrive, the federal government pays most of that cost and it is offset within a few years as they obtain jobs and pay taxes, he said. Key findings about Syracuse from the report, titled ‘New Americans in Buffalo and Syracuse’:

– In 2014, foreign-born residents in Syracuse contributed $1.7 billion to the metro area’s gross domestic product

– 5,658 refugees resettled in Syracuse between 2009 and 2014.

– 26.2 percent of Syracuse’s foreign-born residents, or 10,707 people, were refugees in 2014.

– Foreign-born residents tend to have higher levels of education than U.S.-born citizens in the Syracuse area. Approximately 30 percent of foreign-born residents and 22 percent of U.S.-born residents in the area have college degrees.

– The top six countries of origin of the foreign-born population in the Syracuse area are China (8.2 percent), Canada (7.8 percent), Cuba (5.1 percent), India (4.3 percent), Ukraine (4.2 percent) and Italy (3.7 percent).

– The foreign-born population in the Syracuse area contributed $140.4 million in federal taxes and $93.9 million in state and local taxes in 2014. 

– Foreign-born residents in Syracuse contributed $89.2 million to Social Security and $22.4 million to Medicare in 2014.

– Between 2000 and 2014, immigrants and refugees helped offset decades of population decline in the Syracuse area. During this period, the native-born population declined from 620,928 to 620,631, while the foreign-born population grew 42.5 percent from 28,644 to 40,815.

– Between 2000 and 2014, the increase in the foreign-born population raised the total housing value in the Syracuse area by $406.5 million.

– The Syracuse area’s 1,681 foreign-born entrepreneurs generated $22.3 million in business income in 2014.

– By 2014, the 40,815 foreign-born residents in the Syracuse area had helped create or preserve 1,877 local manufacturing jobs that otherwise may have left the area.”

To read the entire article, click here. To view the report from the New American Economy, click here.

Photo Friday: Leave Your Mark

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 17, 2017


I-81 Redesign: Next Steps for the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 15, 2017


Thank you to everyone who advocated for the Northside and asked the DOT to reexamine the negative impacts the I-81 redesign would have on our neighborhood! Your support gave weight to the discussions our neighborhood stakeholders group held with members of DOT and public officials. With the project put in a holding pattern to allow for an outside review of options, we are expecting DOT will develop more sensitive solutions for the highway north of I-690.

This project is still ongoing and we expect there may be times when we’ll need to inform the community and ask for your help. If you’re interested in these updates, join our “Save the Northside: I-81 Impacts” email list so that we can easily get back in touch with you!

For more information about our efforts during the I-81 redesign, click here.

InterFaith Works Honors Individuals Dedicated to Ending Racism

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 13, 2017

InterFaith Racial Justice Awards

WHAT: InterFaith Works’ 2017 Racial Justice Awards

WHEN: Wednesday, March 1 at 5:30 PM

WHERE: Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genessee Street, Syracuse

TICKETS:  Please reserve your tickets by Friday, February 17th. The suggested ticket donation is between $30 and $150. Any gift above $30 is tax-deductible. Purchase your tickets securely online. Or, print a ticket reservation form. Questions?  Contact Gwen Sanders at 315-449-3552, ext. 119, or email her at gsanders@interfaithworkscny.org.

Racial Justice Awards is InterFaith Works‘ annual event to recognize and honor individuals and organizations who work towards ending racism and promoting social equity. This year’s honorees include,

Zau Jat N-Hkum will receive the Youth Award for the different ways he has stood up against homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism in Syracuse schools.

Judge Jawwaad Rasheed will receive the Catalyst Award for his work in the community, including his role as the co-director of the Junior Frontiers of Mohawk Valley, an African-American civic organization with the goal of providing support to minority children.

Laurel Ullyette will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to supporting international and transracial adoption.

The Brady Faith Center will receive the Organizational Award for their work as an “Oasis for Peace, Hope, and Justice” on Syracuse’s South Side.

To learn more about the nominees and see all the event details, visit InterFaithWorksCNY.org. The ceremony and reception will be followed by Syracuse Stage’s production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ at 7:30 p.m.

Photo Friday: View From Rose Hill Cemetery

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 10, 2017

Rose Hill 1 _ 2017_edited

Friars of Assumption Church Campus Sell Properties to Local Developers

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 9, 2017

Syracuse Assumption article

Photo credit: syracuse.com

In 2016, the Franciscans made the decision to sell a portion of the Church of the Assumption campus. A focal point for the Northside neighborhood for 150 years, the work of the Franciscans has been and will continue to be a defining element of the Northside community. The decision to sell these properties was not made in haste, and the process was full of checks and balances as well as community support. Northside UP was part of a team of neighborhood stakeholders who supported the Friars’ efforts to approach the sale of the properties in a way that would reinforce the Franciscan presence in our community as well as breathe fresh life into the campus.

The Friars worked diligently to find a buyer that would support the organization’s commitment to the neighborhood and bring new life to this block of the Northside. This week, the Friars announced that they found two community-minded buyers,  Troy Evans and Steve Case, local developers with diverse portfolios. The decision was announced on Syracuse.com exploring the plans for the Church’s continued presence and for the future developments of some of the properties.

Friars to sell parish hall, 7 other properties in Syracuse to ease financial burden

“The Franciscan Friars have agreed to sell eight North Side properties, including its parish hall and the vacant Saint Clare Gardens apartments, to two local developers.

The properties, a mix of residential and commercial buildings and park land, are being sold to Troy Evans and Steve Case, who have formed 800 Block LLC to acquire the properties. The sale, the financial terms of which have not been disclosed, is expected to close in early March.

Evans and Case plan to renovate the Saint Clare Gardens apartment building at 1109-27 N. Townsend St. They expect to cater to residents priced out of the downtown’s apartment market, they said.

The sale does not include Assumption Church, which is owned by the friars, or the adjacent St. Francis Friary building, where nine friars live and the order maintains its offices. The friars will also retain ownership of the large parking lot on the northern most section of the property where the friary building is located.

Friar Rick Riccioli, pastor of Assumption Church, said the friars will continue to operate the Assumption Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, which provides food to needy families. It operates out of the parish hall, adjacent to the friary building, and will continue to operate from there after the sale until a new home for it, possible the friary building, is found, he said.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Inspiring Words with Sarah Robin

Written by Rachel Nolte  • February 8, 2017


Editor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.


Sarah Collage


Sarah is the current “Chef in residence” for the With Love Restaurant. She is from Pakistan and is quite excited to bring a taste of her culture to Syracuse.


Q: How did you come to the Northside?

A: I came here as a refugee, 4 years ago, in 2012. When we came here, I was really happy because I feel so blessed here […] People are doing really, really great jobs. I feel so happy—like when I was here as a refugee, CYO Catholic Charities helped us a lot in many different ways. It’s not just the refugee programs, there are different kind of trainings, programs. So if you are new in this country, they will guide you. Even if I am in my own country, I can never learn so many things right away. So here, people help you a lot in many different ways. Even in this program, I know this is my cuisine, my recipes, so students are working on that. But for my job, I’m learning the management skills here. So just learning, learning, and giving more.


Q: How did you get involved in With Love?

A: Actually, I found Adam from CYO Catholic Charities. I went to CYO because when we came as refugees, they had different programs, every single day, every single week . . . So I just went over there one day and I saw that there was a card that says ‘My Lucky Tummy- if you know how to cook your country’s food, just give me a call back.’ So I just saw the card, it looked so interesting to me, and I just took that card, I came home, and I called that number and there was Adam. I said ‘I am from Pakistan,’ and he said, ‘Oh really?’ and he said, ‘What are the foods you can cook?’ The foods he asked me—I never cooked that before! Because there are some particular kinds of foods in my country, there are some special chefs. They cook that. We don’t cook that at home. They are specially prepared on weddings, on special occasions. But I said, ‘I don’t know.  I didn’t cook that before, but I can cook that. So…is that ok?’ There are a few things that I never knew before, that I didn’t cook before, but I did cook that for him. And he really liked that. And me myself, I really liked that.


Q: At the ribbon cutting, you indicated that you were surprised and even a little jealous about how well other chefs are able to make your cuisine. What other surprises have you encountered since opening?

A: The surprising part is that people aren’t familiar with my food but they really like it. That’s the best thing. They are not afraid to try new cuisine, new flavors, new spices. They came, they like it, they enjoy it, and they said they want more. And they want to come again and again. This is a really good and surprising thing for me.


Q: Is there anything that you feel can’t be captured about the culture of your food within the current format of a typical Western restaurant?

A: Yeah, definitely, because cuisine is a totally different thing. Because I only get few customers from Pakistan. And it’s totally different with them because the way they order, the way they like the food, it’s different. We don’t have a lot of things on our menu that are the typical Pakistani food. So they came here, the food they have right now, it’s good, but I know what they wanted, you know? What their main things are and we don’t have much time to cook all things here, we just have few students, like 4 students who are working here.

But the way I think, if people are coming from my country, it would be totally different […] When I open my own restaurant, I’m planning to have different cultured pictures from my country, and the clothing […] Like when we serve a food in my country, we have some special kind of cloth where we put our bread in it. It’s very interesting, so here it’s not the same. And in my country, it’s very important to see these things over there. And even when we serve a bread, it has to be in special kind of cloth and there’s a special plate we serve with them.


Q: If you could open a restaurant anywhere, where would it be and why?

A: Dubai, because I really love Dubai. It would be Pakistani, and I would try to do remix kind of things. Mixing my spices and mixing the American food with the Pakistani food. We are actually planning, me and Chris, the chef, we are planning to do some of these kinds of things in the future for this restaurant.


Q: Can you tell us your plans for after With Love?

A: I am really planning to [open a restaurant immediately after this] because I really want to take that spur with me. I want to continue that, I just don’t want to break it. But it just depends how far I get this space, how far I am prepared. I’m really ready, I really want to do that. I thought maybe it’s gonna be good on the Northside, but I’m not sure about that. There are many people from OCC, from the business management plan, that are going to help me, where will be the perfect place to do this business […]

My mother, she is a cosmetologist. I worked with her in my own country. So, I have so many different things I can do at the same time. Once my mom will be here, and if by God’s willing I will be successful in the restaurant business, then definitely I will do something in my hairstyling, in cosmetology.


Q: Anything else that you’d like to share with readers?

A: I just want to say, being a woman, being a refugee in this country, no matter whatever struggles you face, if you just focus on your dream, if you believe in yourself, just follow them, and do it. If you have faith in yourself, then I think people will believe you.


Collage 1


To experience With Love, Pakistan for yourself, visit the restaurant during lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (12:00 – 2:00 PM) or dinner on Thursdays and Fridays (5:00 – 8:00 PM). For updates on With Love, check out their website and follow them on Facebook.

DISHES Tickets On Sale Now!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 6, 2017


Sunday, February 19th, Salt City DISHES invites the community to “break bread” and “create positive change” in our city. The 8th annual dinner event at the Bishop Harrison Diocesan Center (All Saints Parish), features a home-cooked, locally-sourced meal and a ballot to vote on project proposals. Proposals are voted on during the dinner as select community members present their ideas. The winner is awarded money collected from ticket fees to help realize their project.


Tickets are $20 and include dinner, dessert, beverages, and live music. Purchase them in advance here.

For those who want to help sustain DISHES, $40 tickets are also available. The extra money is donated to the DISHES team to help with the cost of the event, run by volunteers and funded by donations and ticket sales only.


DISHES is still looking for volunteers to help the day of the event. If you’re interested in helping out in exchange for a free ticket, contact saltcitydishes@gmail.com and include “Volunteer Inquiry” in the subject line.

To learn more about this year’s 8th Annual DISHES Dinner, join the Facebook invite.

Salt City DISHES (Dine in. Support Happenings. Enliven Syracuse!) is a recurring community dinner, which funds creative public projects that enliven the city of Syracuse. For more information, visit the DISHES blogspot.