County Executive’s Aquarium Plan Faces Backlash In CNY County Executive's Aquarium Plan Faces Backlash In Central New York

I’m reporting live from the Syracuse Harbor.
The place where County Executive Ryan McMahon initiated a plan for a new aquarium last year.
The Onondaga County legislators voted on Tuesday, and the plan was approved with a 9-8 vote.
The plan has been met with criticism by residents as well as state officials.
Democratic Legislator Mary Kuhn believes the aquarium will only benefit few of Central New York’s residents.

“In 2021, it was projected to be $22 for an adult, $16 for a child. By the time this opens, I’m sure it’ll be higher.”

Kuhn goes on to say that Syracuse is a poverty-stricken community.
Most people will not be able to afford these prices.
Democratic Legislator Peggy Chase agreed with this statement.
She also says that there seems to be no cohesive plan for the aquarium.

” It sounds like we don’t have a designer, or a contractor, or anything… We just have $85 million to spend.”

County Executive Ryan McMahon estimates the aquarium to start being built closer to 2023.

In Syracuse Harbor, Isabel Flores, N-C-C News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. County Executive Ryan McMahon’s Syracuse Harbor Aquarium plan is now a reality.

The Onondaga County Legislators voted Tuesday afternoon, approving the plan with a narrow margin of 9-8.

The County Executive is convinced that the plans for the aquarium will go swimmingly.

However, many residents and officials have voiced their disdain for the estimated $85 million plan.

On the topic of  funding, the $85 million for the aquarium was budgeted last year before inflation.

Onondaga County Legislator Mary Kuhn says that construction costs have gone up between 20 and 25 percent this year.

Therefore, it is very likely that the plan will cost more.

One of the biggest concerns regarding the aquarium is the amount of money it will make.

Aquarium tickets are currently marked at $16 for children and $22 for adults.

Kuhn says only middle and upper class citizens would be able to afford visiting.

Onondaga County Legislator Peggy Chase agrees.

“I don’t see people actually coming to Syracuse to see an aquarium” says Chase.

Still, McMahon seems unfazed.

“This was never a government revenue play. That’s one of the upsides to this” said McMahon.

Another issue many individuals have with this plan is the allocation of funds.

Citizens believe the money used towards the aquarium would be better used for other matters.

“The public health budget is ridiculously low, and there’s no more mental health department in the County of Onondaga” said Kuhn.

Chase believes existing programs for children such as the YMCA are effective, but need more funding.

“We are nationally known as one of the poorest communities in the country” says Chase.

“We could be much more generous in our programs to kids that would keep them off the streets at night and on weekends.”




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