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From: Harold Garman
To: commoncouncil@syrcity.accucom.net
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2000 3:38 PM
Subject: Proposed Mall Expansion

Rev. Harold and Janet Garman
310 Hurlburt Rd.
Syracuse, N.Y. 13224
 
To Members of the Syracuse Common Council:
 
We add our voices to those who are opposed to the Mall expansion for reasons which include the following:
 
Inclusion of the agreement on the present Mall in the proposed pilot denies the city, and the school district, in particular, the promised property tax revenue at the end of the fifteen year term.
 
Thirty years is too long a time for an agreement of this magnitude -- no one knows what the climate will be in three decades -- big malls with entertainment, etc. may not draw people the way the present proposal assumes.  This is too long for an expanded mall to be off the  property tax rolls. 
 
If the sales tax were removed from clothing, the projected sales tax income for the expanded mall would be much less.
 
The 30% agreement on sales tax with the county is only good for five years  and most of that time would be taken up by construction and there is no assurance that the city would get as much as 30% in future years.
 
The city does not have a long range economic development plan by which to evaluate whether such a mall expansion would fit into a larger context designed to help the city become vaible for all its residents and a vibrant core for the metropolitan area.  Nearly half of the residents of the city are people of color (African American, Latino American, Asian American, Native American) -- where is the plan to assist in developing their neighborhoods, businesses, jobs, schools, neighborhood centers, etc.  Soon people of color will be in the majority.  For example, we don't hear talk about extending the creek walk all the way down to Seneca Turnpike.  We don't hear commitments of funds to work with south side youth in an effort to curb gun violence -- funds to keep schools, community centers, churches open and constructively staffed in afternoons and evenings, for example.  We haven't heard opposition to the Midland Ave. Treatment Plant from the Common Council since last March -- the city did not join the south side group at the County Legislature a week or so ago to speak in opposition.  The Midland Ave. area is in the middle of 150 affordable single family homes that have been built and sold over the last 15 years --  a plan supported and financially aided by city Community Development.
 
It does not make sense to say this mall proposal is the best and perhaps the only option for stimulating economic growth.  This view reflects a negative view of assets of this community which are underdeveloped.
 
As we understand it, there is no commitment to build phases two and three, and there is no clear assurance from outside consultants (D & T) that the second and third phases would be successful. 
 
There is too much risk in the present pilot agreement for the city.  The county takes no risk and has only to gain from increased sales tax revenue.
 
We are grateful to the members of the Common Council who have indicated they are prepared to vote against the mall pilot, Kate O'Connell, Steve DeRegis, Jim Mahaney and Bill Simmons.
 
Matthew Driscoll, Van Robinson, Johseph O'Hara, Joanne Mahoney, Miles Bottrill, and Michael Atkins, we urge you to continue reflecting on the issues involved and to consider voting "NO" on Monday.
 
Thank you for looking at all sides of this issue and for speaking your conscience.
 
Rev. Harold and Janet Garman
310 Hurlburt Rd.
Syracuse, N.Y. 13224
446-4688