FROM EIRE TO ERIE: CELEBRATING THE CANAL’S BICENTENNIAL
The 2017 Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade celebrates the history of the Erie Canal.
When construction began on the Erie Canal in July 1817, it sparked the arrival of Irish workers who soon became a major part of the workforce. They settled in communities along the canal, raising their families and permanently altering the landscape of upstate New York – physically, economically and culturally. This year, in our 35 th annual parade, we will once again stage the event at the site of the Erie Canal with scores of marching units lining up along Erie Boulevard. We will march in recognition of our forebears’ accomplishments and the contributions they made to connecting us to each other and linking our community with the world at large.
Artwork by Casey Landerkin of Marcellus, NY.
GRAND MARSHAL: MAYOR STEPHANIE MINER
Stephanie A. Miner is the 53rd Mayor of the City of Syracuse. Born on April 30, 1970, she became involved in politics at an early age, stuffing envelopes for local candidates at her Grandmother Cooney’s kitchen table in the Eastwood neighborhood. Mayor Miner was first elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 with 68% of the vote. Mayor Miner is the first woman elected Mayor of Syracuse and the first woman to lead one of New York’s “Big 5” cities.
Even prior to taking office, Mayor Miner saw the precarious financial situation the City of Syracuse held. With this understanding, Mayor Miner began the difficult task of right-sizing City government and consolidating various services. Through inter-municipal agreements, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County consolidated their purchasing and planning departments into a single entity. Mayor Miner has taken a leading role in the discussion of municipal finance across New York State. In 2013, she was named a trailblazing woman in public finance by the Northeast Women in Public Finance.
With hundreds of miles of water mains and roads maintained by her administration, Mayor Miner has made infrastructure a major priority of her administration. The Mayor attended the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference in both 2014 and 2015 to discuss infrastructure for cities and states. The Mayor has met with members of Congress and submitted testimony before the United States Senate and New York State legislature detailing the infrastructure needs of the City of Syracuse. The Mayor is a member of Rebuild New York Now, a coalition of construction trades, business owners, and elected officials.
The Mayor has recognized that the challenges facing the City of Syracuse will only be solved through substantive and innovative thinking. As part of her effort to recruit top talent, in 2015 the Mayor established the first-ever Mayor’s Office of Innovation using a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The first task of this office will be to examine infrastructure financing.
Mayor Miner worked to create the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation, one of the first Land Banks in New York State, to expedite the sale and redevelopment of vacant and tax delinquent properties. In its short existence, the Land Bank has already received property, rehabilitated property, and sold it back to owners who have put it back on the tax rolls. The Land Bank was developed with the assistance of IBM, who named Syracuse one of 100 Smarter Cities. That distinction came with a $400,000 grant in 2011 and institutional support to develop solutions to fixing blighted housing.
Mayor Miner spearheaded the effort to develop the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority to create greater efficiency at the Hancock International Airport, attracting new airlines and working with local businesses to make the airport a successful tool for the local economy. The Mayor also opened a $60 million renovation of the airport.
The Mayor has also revamped the Joint Schools Construction Board which is overseeing a multi-million dollar effort to rebuild and remodel Syracuse City School District buildings. Currently, four schools have been totally renovated and the project is now in the beginning stages of its second phase, which is authorized to include $300 million of individual projects at up to 15 schools. Mayor Miner serves as Chair of the board.
Stephanie Miner became a Syracuse Common Councilor-at- Large after winning city-wide election in 2001 when she was 31 years old. Re-elected to the Council in 2005, Mayor Miner received the most votes of any candidate on the ballot, including the incumbent Mayor. As a Common Councilor, she championed and helped pass legislation that gave $1 million in initial funding to Say Yes to Education, a program that provides necessary support services for Syracuse City School District students and promises free or reduced college tuition to students who graduate from City high schools.
She attended Syracuse University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism in 1992. After college, she worked as the Assistant Upstate Coordinator for the Geraldine Ferraro for U.S. Senate campaign and then served as Central New York Regional Representative for Governor Mario Cuomo. In 1999, Miner earned her J.D. from SUNY Buffalo and began working at Blitman & King, LLP as a labor lawyer, representing unions and employees.
GAEL OF THE YEAR: MICHELE JORDAN
Jordan is executive director of the Interreligious Food Consortium (IFC), an umbrella agency for more than 70 food pantries and meal sites throughout Onondaga County. She has led the IFC since 2002.
She previously worked for five years with Contact, an organization that supports social, emotional, behavioral and mental health of children youth and adults. Jordan served the organization as a trainer, during a period while Contact was initiating programs for schools on anger management, problem solving and communication skills.
Jordan has also worked with the Department of Social Services, rectifying benefits and coordinating the Food Stamp Outreach Program and the Home Energy Assistance Program.