Forum on the Future
FOCUS begins 2020 with a Forum on the Future on Friday Jan. 31
Attendance at FOCUS Forums roughly doubled year-over-year in 2019 driven by topics of vital interest to the community, coordination with like-minded organizations, and introductions to new leadership in city and county government, police, and broadcasting. Thank you to Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and Thursday Morning Roundtable, WCNY, Leadership Greater Syracuse and National Grid, Onondaga Community College, Onondaga County, and the City of Syracuse for support and collaboration in these efforts.
FOCUS builds on this momentum and energy from the Citizens Academy Class of 2019 with a Forum on the Future 8 a.m. Jan. 31, 2020, in the atrium of City Hall Commons, 201 East Washington St., Syracuse.
FOCUS, which is the independent not-for-profit Forging Our Community’s United Strength, invites anyone with an interest in improving the quality of life in the Greater Syracuse area to bring ideas and questions that need answers to this launch for the new decade of FOCUS and Forums. Forums are free and open to the public. We even provide the coffee.
There are so many opportunities open here and now that the challenge for Greater Syracuse will be setting priorities and continued devotion to the work at hand. Come tell us where you want this community’s energy to go as the STEAM School and Syracuse Surge, I-81, the Southside Campus for the New Economy, Blueprint 15, and regional mega-warehouses and a statewide canal trail and lake loop are on the verge of becoming a reality. Building a more attractive welcoming, sustainable community and environmentally sound economy requires your focus.
Renewable Energy Here and Now
The Sept. 12 FOCUS Forum with Thursday Morning Roundtable featured renewable energy projects going on in Central New York right now. An audio version airs 8 p.m. Sunday Sept. 15 on WCNY-FM and will be on the web at wcny.org
Chris Carrick of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and Lindsay Speer with the Heatsmart Central New York project covered a lot of ground on energy projects and policy in New York State. The forum is always free and open to the public.
One component of energy efforts mentioned in the forum is electric vehicles. That includes a show and drive event with 10 electric vehicles also on Sunday Sept. 15 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the parking lot at West Washington and South Clinton Streets in Syracuse. Learn more at www.cnyenergychallenge.org
Syracuse University Vice President for Community Engagement Bea Gonzalez also announced at the forum the new SU community events calendar that can be found at calendar.syracuse.edu
The Syracuse Surge
The Syracuse Surge was the topic of the July 19, 2019, FOCUS Forum.
Sam Edelstein, Chief Data Officer for Syracuse, spoke about the technology aspects of the Syracuse Surge and what it means to be New York’s Flagship Smart City. Inclusive Growth is the theme of the proposal that made Syracuse one of five out of 250 cities to win the JP Morgan Chase Advancing Cities Challenge award in 2019.
Juhanna Rogers, Director of Community Engagement and Empowerment for Centerstate CEO, discussed the human side of the Syracuse Surge and the role of the JP Morgan Chase Advancing Cities Challenge grant in the city’s strategy for inclusive growth.
This year Syracuse punches above its weight in the competition with 250 other municipalities. The four other Advancing Cities communities for 2019 are Chicago, Louisville, Miami, and San Diego. You can learn more about the Surge and the award at this LINK.
FOCUS Forums are free and open to all.
ReZone Syracuse Forum: June 21
The June FOCUS Forum featured the ReZone Syracuse project on Friday morning June 21. That included the final draft map and information about the illustrated zoning guidance text before it goes up for consideration by the Planning Commission and Syracuse Common Council. You can find the documents and maps at the
Owen Kerney, Deputy Director of Planning & Sustainability for Syracuse, answered questions and explained the effort undertaken to update a system for a city ready to surge.
The April 25, 2019, Forum featured the new CEO of WCNY Mitch Gelman
Mitch Gelman was named CEO of the region’s biggest public broadcasting station in January. He and WCNY are in the midst of a project to gain community input on what viewers and listeners want from their information sources.
Gelman comes to Central New York from Washington, D.C., where he led digital operations for the Newseum. His previous work includes leadership of online operations for CNN and Gannett. Before that he was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning news team at Newsday.
FOCUS Forums will continue through the summer and Thursday Morning Roundtable will resume in the fall. These events have a tradition of being free and open to all.
April 4 Forum: Housing the Homeless
The April 4 Forum with Thursday Morning Roundtable drew a crowd to learn more about the Rescue Mission Alliance and Housing and Homeless Coalition. Dan Sieberg of the Rescue Mission and Megan Stuart of the coalition spoke.
Dan Sieberg, chief executive of the Rescue Mission Alliance, and Megan Stuart, executive director of the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Central New York explained the efforts being made toward a providing a sheltering community. You can hear this and other TMR presentations on WCNY-FM Sundays at 8 p.m. Past roundtables are archived on the WCNY web site.
March 14 Forum: Citizens Review Board
Citizens Review Board Chair Peter McCarthy and Administrator Ranette Releford explained the history, structure and work of the board that reviews citizen concerns about police conduct in Syracuse. About 60 people attended.
February Forum: Meet the Police Chief
FOCUS FORUM and THURSDAY MORNING ROUND TABLE
Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner
Syracuse’s new police chief adroitly addressed questions for a standing-room-only crowd at the Syracuse University Community Engagement Offices.
He offered a fresh point of view and covered the bases on this community and police strategies. Among the topics he addressed were adding officers, recruiting officers from all parts of the community, and assuring that those officers earn the respect of the community. But his message went much deeper than that. FOCUS and TMR have begun work toward more in-depth community follow-through on topics raised.
You can see the a short Spectrum News summary, or listen to the entire event on WCNY-FM radio 91.3 at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. You also can hear this and broadcasts of the joint FOCUS Forum/TMR economic development presentations archived at WCNY-FM.
January 2019 Forum: Syracuse Mayor and Onondaga County Executive
The Special Evening Forum Thursday, Jan. 31., with Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon II drew a warm reception on a very cold day.
You can read coverage of the event HERE.
FOCUS and Leadership Greater Syracuse arranged the forum with support from National Grid.
J. Ryan McMahon II (left) and Ben Walsh
December 2018 Program: Veterans Services
FOCUS FORUM on VETERANS SERVICES
7:30 a.m. Dec. 7, 2018
FOCUS Greater Syracuse was back at the atrium of City Hall Commons at 7:30 a.m. on Friday Dec. 7, 2018, for a free public forum with veterans service groups. Participants in the free forum learned about services provided and volunteer opportunities and shared their knowledge and networks over morning coffee.
Jeff Bastable, a board member and Director of Philanthropy for Honor Flight Syracuse.
Jennifer Mennard, Outreach Coordinator for Veterans Administration Medical Center in Syracuse
Lynn Fox, Community Outreach Director for Clear Path for Veterans
You can find a list of contacts for these organizations and many more and some of the presentations HERE.
You can hear the WCNY-FM broadcast of the three community economic development forums at www.wcny.org/radio/shows/tmr/
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
A Community Engagement & Outreach Project on the Challenges, Realities and Opportunities of Economic Development and Community Wealth Generation
SESSION 3: Nov. 1-2
For the third and final Forum of the series FOCUS invites four local leaders actively involved in our economic development plans and practices at the grassroots and community level.
Mark Olson, Village of Fayetteville Mayor; Carolyn Evans-Dean, South Avenue Business Corridor Revitalization Project Manager; Mark Venesky, Cicero Town Supervisor; Mike LaFlair, Housing Visions Director of Marketing and Community Relations
The second Forum of the series covered the challenges in maintaining and growing businesses and community wealth and the tools they can use to compete in the marketplace. The session will tackle “self-inflicted” obstacles to success.
PROGRAM SPEAKERS WERE…
Andrew Fish, Senior VP for Business Development at CenterState CEO
Nora Spillane, Syracuse Deputy Commissioner Dept. of Business Development
Laura Miller, General Manager, Darco Manufacturing, Inc.
Joe Russo, Economic Development Program Manager, National Grid
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SESSION 1: Sept. 27
The series began Thursday Sept. 27 with three forums featuring national site-selection experts Chris Steele and Jim Damicis at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, the NEW! New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center; and at the South Side Innovation Center.
COMMUNITY BUILDING WITH THE PEACEMAKERS
The first FOCUS Forum of the month was Sept. 13 at La Casita Cultural Center, with Westside residents talking about the community-building efforts of Take Back The Streets and the Peacemaking Project.
The August FOCUS Forum was on Onondaga Lake
Onondaga County Director of Environmental Protection Travis Glazier and Honeywell Project Director John McAuliffe offered an update on the lake and surrounding projects. FOCUS presented some highlights from the 2017 community survey about Onondaga Lake waters. This Forum included great views of the lake from the Skydeck at Destiny USA.
The July Forum featured Onondaga Citizens League report on Community Engagement.
The June Forum brought a national speaker to Syracuse.
The June 15, 2018, FOCUS Forum featured Dr. Joe Selby, Executive Director of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute in Washington, D.C., with Dr. Sharon Brangman of SUNY Upstate Medical University.
Dr. Selby’s visit is the result of years of work by the CNY-CAN collaboration of FOCUS Greater Syracuse, SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Division of Geriatrics – now Department of Geriatrics, Southwest Community Center, and HealtheConnections. CNY-CAN has been bringing together patients and caregivers with health professionals to share their experiences and identify the kinds of research needed to meet patient needs.
To learn more about CNY-CAN CLICK HERE. Note that Dr. Selby also was the featured speaker at the Grand Rounds at SUNY Upstate Medical University Thursday June 14 at Weiskotten Hall. You can hear an interview with the doctors at HEALTHLINK.
We thank PCORI, Loretto and the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York and SUNY Upstate Medical University for helping to make this visit possible.
Kim Parker – Founder & CEO of Parkerpower Corporation – Accounting & Finance Professional Talent Search, MATCH & Placement Specialists
Martin McDermott – Senior Vice President of JF Real Estate – Commercial Real Estate specializing in downtown office buildings and suburban retail properties
Nancy Watt – Real Estate Agent with Hunt Real Estate ERA – Residential Real Estate specializing in promoting Central New York to potential homebuyers as new hires or prospects for top employers
It was standing room only for the April 20 FOCUS Forum with Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens, and Director of Administration Christie Elliot.