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