“We’re trying to achieve a cohesive identity between the university and downtown,” said Eric Persons, director of economic development and Engagement Initiatives, the office responsible for carrying out SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s vision for the Connective Corridor. “We’re not suggesting the corridor has to become a pathway where it looks the same on either side of the entire route because we want every nook and cranny to have its own flavor conducive to its environment. The thing with the corridor is that it’s not like we’re building a new Walmart where we’ll open the doors one day and customers will come in. It’ll just develop into itself over time.”
The idea for the Connective Corridor began three years ago among SU students of design, geography, engineering and architecture. They first determined cultural destinations that could help establish an identity for the city—Syracuse Stage, the Erie Canal Museum, the Landmark Theatre and the Delavan Art Gallery—and that they could bundle and promote as a single entity. The feeling was that more people would visit these places if they knew more about them, and more people would know about them if they were intertwined as opposed to standing alone.
“We see our role as creating new ideas for a vision of our community that we see is reflective of our city,” continued Persons. “All of our ideas start on the Hill then move off the Hill into the hands of the experts. We work closely with the city, the county and all of the venues on the Connective Corridor and put a lot of energy into what we think will ultimately revitalize Syracuse.”
More than $20 million in federal and state money has been awarded for the Connective Corridor to improve transportation and traffic flow along the route as well as for public art proposals. “We really want to get a strategy behind this before jumping in,” said Persons. “We’re looking for specific project ideas on how to activate, manage and maintain public spaces along the route.”
While many of the venues along the route have already begun giving their input, Persons mentioned that they are also looking for more of an “outsider” representation in the planning process, which he believes will provide more of a well-rounded perspective. Anything from dadaist abstracts to realist statues, to live performance in any conceivable milieu can be proposed. And as long as it’s logically thought-out, your idea has a strong possibility of integrating its way into the Connective Corridor’s development.
“We want the Connective Corridor to be a very dynamic place whether you’re living on it or just visiting,” Persons continued. “We want people to be walking along Armory Square and unsuspectingly come across a strolling jazz session, maybe even in the middle of winter. But how do you plan for and what will it take to put on a jazz session in the middle of winter? Those are the things we are looking forward to figuring out.”
To propose an idea or to find out where you can sit in on a discussion, call 443-8052. For more information about the Connective Corridor in general, or to fill out a proposal form online, visit connectivecorridor.syr.edu.