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President Obama visits Eastwood

No, that’s not a joke.

It’s been nearly a year since I last posted here at Walkable Eastwood. The Walgreens hullabaloo is over, the old Steak & Sundae (aka Wittigs Ice Cream) building at the corner of James and Midler has been saved and there’s a fabulous ice cream shop in it (yaay Fifi’s!). And we have yet another drug/convenience store, a Kinney’s at the same intersection. Not the ideal building, but thanks to the owner and his wise choice of Sheila Weed for the architect, the building is built up to the corner, looks about as good as a drug store can and is a heck of a lot better than the empty lot we stared at for ten years. It’s progress, and developers know that we do have a set of overlay district guidelines and the folks in Eastwood really do expect them to follow them. If Kinney’s can do it, so can any other developer.

So the big news is true: President Barak Obama really did come to Eastwood, just the other day, to give a speech about making college affordable, right here in our Henninger High School. Aside from the President, the star of the show was Corcoran High School student Emilio Ortiz, whose opening speech brought tears of joy to this university professor’s eyes.  I look forward to the day when a lot more young people like Emilio come from Syracuse City Schools. I get to see a lot of the good ones at OCC, but they deserve to be able to afford four-year schools, too. And they deserve to be better prepared – by their parents, by their community, and by their teachers – before entering any institution of higher education.

This is probably my last post at Walkable Eastwood. Much has been accomplished, other duties call, nobody has shown an interest in keeping the website up, and hey, what’s going to top a visit by the President?

We’re working to get this website hosted and cared for elsewhere so that the archived posts will be available for anyone who wants to remember how we cared about walkability and sustainable urban design in a “village within the city” that was originally designed correctly. It’s always been about how design and development affect the quality of life in a community – our community. The people come first, but it’s the way we work together and the spaces we have to work in that make for ease of communication or for barriers. The fact that there’s no transparency from inside the two new drug stores to the street is an example of barriers. I hope someone works on that and other barriers as time goes by.

In the meantime, you can catch me and Dave over at Fifi’s way too many days of the week.  And never forget: the most popular blog post by far, the one that has nearly 60 comments and climbing, is the one I didn’t write. You-all did. God bless Eastwoodians, former, current and future.

– Lonnie Chu

Lonnie Chu

One more auto-centric development for James Street

Every time a drive-thru is allowed in our James Street business district, the scales are tipped toward an auto-centric design that hurts walkability.  If you want a replay of what happened at South Salina and Ballantyne, help yourself. Do nothing, and it will happen slowly but surely on James Street. Between Walgreens’ drive-thru and the upcoming Kinneys drive-thru, we’re already headed in the wrong direction. Here’s the next one if you don’t protest it:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that a public hearing will be held Monday, July 16, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers, City Hall, Syracuse, New York to consider in full, or in part, the following applications.  Please note this is not necessarily the order in which they will be heard.
Application R-12-23 for a Resubdivision to combine two parcels totaling 0.61 acres into one new Lot on properties situated at 2649 and 2659-2667 James Street, owned by Cleardogg, Inc., zoned Business, Class A, pursuant to the City of Syracuse Subdivision Regulations, as amended.
Application SP-12-12 for a Special Permit to establish a restaurant with drive-thru service on property situated at 2649 and 2659-2667 James Street, owned by Cleardogg, Inc., zoned Business, Class A, pursuant to Part B, Section III, Article 2, Part C, Section IV, Articles 1 and 2, and Part C, Section X, Article 1 of the City of Syracuse Zoning Rules and Regulations, as amended.

Bulb Project goes city-wide

For Immediate Release

For More Information                                                 
Peter Wirth

Westcott Neighborhood Bulb Project
2012 Season

Started in 2003, the Westcott Neighborhood Bulb project, a project of the Westcott Community Center, announces its city wide beautification plans for 2012. Since we started the project over 90,000 spring blooming, perennial bulbs have been planted.

We hope by providing low cost, quality perennial bulbs neighbors will work together to beautify their neighborhood and strengthen their community. All community organizations and individuals we work with are requested to write a brief report which we post on our web site. The bulbs are to be planted where they can be seen from the street for all to enjoy.

This year we are offering 3 types of bulbs:

1. Daffodil
Narcissus Trumpet Dutch Master

2. Tulipa Darwin Hybrid “Tequila Sunrise Mixture” =

3. Tulipa Darwin Hybrid “Oxford”

All bags of 100 bulbs are $23.00. August 1 is the cutoff date for orders.

The focus of the project within the Westcott neighborhood has been to assist individuals and community organizations from the Westcott neighborhood by providing spring blooming, perennial bulbs free of charge to neighbors who are willing to plant them where they can be seen from the street for all to enjoy. The first Saturday in October (October 6, 2012) at the Westcott Community Center has been designated Bulb Give Away/Garden Extravaganza Day. In the past few years 300 people attended and picked up 5,400 bulbs.

For a brief overview of the Bulb Project see our new video produced by Deirdre Reed, Photo Editor for National Geographic. The video entitled, “An Active Life for Peace” was her project for a 5 day intensive workshop at Syracuse University hosted by the National Press Photographers Association. Go to to view this 3 minute video.

For more information go to, visit out Facebook page,  http:// or call 637-0331.