A blog dedicated to the local government, development, and future prospects of the town of Geddes and the Fairmount area.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An "attractive" idea

Here is a positive idea that took shape out of a tragedy.

In an attempt to boost its stalled economy, the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans is starting the nation's first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city.

Mayor Ray Nagin made the announcement at a late morning news conference.

Similar projects elsewhere have been stalled by stiff opposition from telephone and cable television companies aimed at discouraging competition from public agencies.

I believe that the same tactic could be used to attract new residents to an area that needs development and new life.

I continue to believe that this would be a great idea to attract people to live downtown in Syracuse and within the city limits. This story and the launching of this blog, made me remember that Solvay Electric was testing out broadband over power lines. Perhaps this could be a way to instantly give a boost to property values, and attract young residents and small business start ups to relocate into Solvay/Geddes.

(geddes power lines)

Imagine that in the future real estate listings:
2 bedroom apartment. Free broadband internet (over powerlines). Walkable neighborhood. $650.
1930's 2 story house, great starter home. Optional store front/office in first level. Off street parking. Free broadband internet for as long as you own your home. $90,000
It would certainly attract a different demographic of residents. Landlords would be more invested in their rental properties, as better apartments would attract more money. College students would find it a great place to live while they attended SU, Upstate, OCC, or LeMoyne. Business start ups could subtract hundreds of dollars from their expenses and would have incentive to locate in the Geddes area.

Higher home values, business receipts and workers living in the area would generate more tax revenue for the town. Everyone wins.

What do you think?


Anonymous NYCO said...

An attractive idea, but I wonder how much it would really boost property values. Easy access to shopping is still considered the greatest "amenity" in any residential area, and the western burbs are still hurting badly in this department. Also, while I like what is being done to make Fairmount walkable, there still isn't much of any place to walk TO; the W. Genesee corridor is still underdeveloped.

I digress... I really like this idea though. Has anyone brought it up at Geddes town meetings?

10:49 PM

Blogger baloghblog said...

I think that "demand" must be a drivers of property value as well. Right now, I don't think that Solvay homes are flying off the market everyday, and the values remain low despite incredibly cheap utilities.

Giving someone a $600/yr value on their rental property would allow them to raise rates on rents, and therefore raise the value of the home. Having a growth in demand by college students (who would tend to care about free high speed - that they've gotten used to in the dorms) would help to improve return on investments from property owners.

If small businesses could be coaxed with free broadband, then storefronts would reopen, and buildings and blight that have sat there for years would begin to be fixed up. That I would think would raise the values of the homes.

As far as bringing it up at a Geddes Town meeting, I looked for info on the website for the next meeting, and there is no listing, so I emailed the supervisor and a councilor that had their email addresses listed to find out when the next one is. I may just have to do that...


I agree on the chicken and the egg theory of Fairmount. Do you make it walkable first, and then attract business? Or the opposite? I believe in this case you'd have to go with the former. Try to revamp Fairmount's image as a regular mall, then a strip mall zone, then a Walmart area. Build the infrastructure - a few new sidewalks, a central parking lot (free), and then try to attract small businesses that people like walking to: Small shops, restaurants and bars, art galleries, coffee shop/internet cafe, and a bookstore. If you have that in Fairmount, you'll find me there.

8:11 AM

Blogger baloghblog said...

Brought over from comments at baloghblog:

LuceLu said...

I think it will gather more steam when pc's and laptops become as ubiquitous as television sets. Otherwise it will be seen as a benny for the middle to upper middle class and affluent. One can argue the benefit for local/region/state/fed agencies, schools, not for profits, and business and hope that would be enough to appeal to the majority population.

For Syracuse, I think they need to concentrate more on infrastructure projects like replacing and modernizing the water mains, rerouting Rt. 81, and shoring up their police force (we need more officers on the city streets).

Crime is a big deterrent to living in the city and is the main reason we left 6 years ago from the very area you talk about (West End--Herkimer St.). Even with free wireless, I wouldn't move back until the crime is cut back enough. Things have changed quite a bit from the city I grew up in (I lived in Strathmore for about 5 years as a kid, later Eastwood for 2 years in H.S.--had lots of friends on the Northside which has deteriorated dramatically, and in Bellevue area for 4 years as a young adult. Later we lived on the West End for about 4 years when my son was about 2 through kindergarden.)

We are in the suburbs now (Liverpool) and while I prefer a more "walkable village" environment, I would't go back to the city sidewalks-being unable to walk to the store by myself at night because of the crime or worrying about my son riding his bike around the corner cuz he might get bullied and robbed at knife or gunpoint.

Westvale and Solvay are probably a bit better crime wise and I would vote Solvay first because they have a local energy supplier. We looked there when we were buying and frankly, there are too many rentals (transient inhabitants) and the prices of homes that fit our criteria (driveway, garage, 3 bedrooms, yard, decent appearance) did not reflect this drawback.

I realize I sound really negative but I am just being honest and realistic.

7:58 AM

baloghblog said...

No I agree with you whole-heartedly that crime and safety are the number one issue facing our city.

It is all a vicious circle though.

There is little opportunity for work within an area, so the population remains poor, which means that there is less revenue in tax dollars to the city, meaning less money to be spend improving development and protection of city residents.

There need to be "pioneers" that have reason to re-inhabit an area deemed "undesirable" by some. We need local companies to move back into the city, instead of inhabiting steel framed "work barns" in the distant suburbs. We need small businesses to provide jobs and services to the area. This was just a (albeit) small way I believe to attract some of those people.

The local governments need to realize that the safety of its citizens is number one. Crime is a huge deterrent from people moving into an area.

We need to increase both the carrot (incentives) and stick (policing) in an area for it to grow strong again.

9:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apartments do not bring idenity to an area. THey detract from an area. Low rent, cheap power, lower taxes are all an incentive for the slum lords to move into an area and add nothing to the community. People don't mind paying a reasonable rate in taxes or so, to keep the slum lords from their community. Remember its the commercial properties pay the way (taxes). We don't need more people walking to the retail places . We need more retail places.

9:30 AM

Blogger baloghblog said...

We don't need more people walking to the retail places . We need more retail places.

I am in favor of more retail places, but I think that building another strip mall in geddes is a step in the wrong direction for the community. Increasing the walkability of the neighborhood could increase foot traffic and the need for smaller locally owned businesses to support the community.

I don't believe that raising taxes is a good way to attract people into Geddes either. I understand your comments about slum lords, but wonder, other than gentrifying an area, how do you get rid of them and encourage local ownership? We do need affordable housing, and if a younger generation, with more disposable income could be brought in (I think that it is beginning to happen already) that would be a boost to the area.

My (borrowed) idea about free broadband would help to attract start up technology businesses that would boost tax ledgers, and provide employment.

9:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but smaller locally owned buisness are becoming things of the past..The days of the local hardware or grocery store are gone. talk to some of the current small buisness owners they can't survive in NY... None of the local residents want commercial/ retail in there back yards. Until the mind sets of the residents change local strip malls are the future, sorry to say. Planned unit develoments (P.U.D)are great tools for local development

3:14 PM

Blogger baloghblog said...

From wikipedia: (I have to admit this is my first exposure to a PUD)

In PUDs, the zoning of districts becomes much different than what was standard under the Standard Zoning Enabling Act. Historically, the districts were very narrow in type and large in area. Within PUDs, zoning becomes much more integrated with multiple land uses and districts being placed on adjacent land parcels.
Sidewalks and pedestrian ways of PUDs supplement and complement street systems in establishing the character of the neighborhood. Sidewalks are located on at least one side of every street to enable the walkability of the developments. Circulation systems are provided to link residential groupings, open space areas, schools, and local shopping areas.

I think that we are aiming towards the same end. However, there isn't much land left in Geddes. I don't know where this new development would be proposed. We have little natural forest left in geddes and it seems that we should keep what we have. It seems to me that zoning laws could be adapted in current areas that need redevelopment to a PUD. (or would the only way to use this concept be on virgin land? no sarcasm, I am unfamiliar with it's implementation.)

As far as the small business owners go, we'll have to agree to disagree. I believe that this country and many communities were build by entreprenuers and small business owners. I shudder at the thought of a nation of WalMart employees. That's just me though, others couldn't stand to give up their $79 19" TV from China.

I will be highlighting several local busineses that, to date, have survived "the global economy". I hope that if you are local, you'll consider dropping by there for your next purchase.

4:38 PM


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