Mayor Ben Walsh has unveiled a development plan that details the plans to transition Syracuse into a ‘smart city’. Part of that initiative starts with expanding The Tech Garden, located in the south end of downtown Syracuse.
The Tech Garden is a local business incubator and its goal is to support the community by helping foster startup companies. They hope these entrepreneurs will hire locally and remain located in the Central New York area.
As a part of the City’s ‘Syracuse Surge’ initiative they plan to expand the Tech Garden upward into the building they are currently in, located at 235 Harrison St.
Caitlin Moriarty, the Learning Experience Design Manager of Tech Garden said expanding The Tech Garden will allow for more resources and space to provide each company. She said it will also open the opportunity for more businesses to partner with The Tech Garden.
“Adding two more floors to The Tech Garden, you know, it just increases capacity for us to continue building these companies and hopefully keeping them locally,” Moriarty said.
Moriarty said adding new businesses will not only benefit the Tech Garden, but all of downtown.
“The more companies that we can help create, the more companies that stay, the more jobs we’re able to offer, and the more people that are downtown spending money on other local businesses.”
Moriarty said that Syracuse and Central New York have a long history of entrepreneurship.
She said Syracuse will build a technological model that surrounding cities will want to duplicate.
“We’re being looked at more and more as a potential center or hub of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Moriarty. “That’s something we have a history of as well. So, yes I do think we a the opportunity to become a smart city. Yes I do think more and more communities are to Syracuse and Central New York, particularly other rust belt cities for how to revitalize.”
Moriatry says this includes bigger markets.
“We are well positioned. You know, in terms of access to major cities… Boston, New York, Toronto, Cleveland, Chicago,” said Moriarty.
One company that The Tech Garden has partnered with is Dropcopter. Dropcopter is an automated pollination company that uses drones to pollinate orchards.
Adam fine, Co-founder of Dropcopter, said technology is becoming increasingly popular in agriculture and Dropcopter is taking advantage of that.
“Dropcopter is the first autonomous pollination service commercially available, Fine said. “We use drone aircraft to pollinate orchards when bees are not available or it’s too cold for them to operate.”
Using drones helps combat environmental factors such as wind, cold, and low bee activity.
He said while many may think flying drones in Syracuse is a challenge, he sees at it as an advantage.
“A lot of people talk about how extreme it is to fly here with the cold weather, but that’s actually a strength,” Fine said. “We can be tested and show that we are very capable operators and our equipment is capable of flying in those temperature extremes. Which I think is something you should be proud of as an operation. Because if you’re operating somewhere else in the country, you don’t get exposed to those extremes.
Fine says that drones are more time and money efficient than having a person do the job.
“So our drone aircraft can cover 40 acres an hour, where you would need to pay someone to manually do it or drive the area instead.”
He said The Tech Garden is great place to work because of the ability to collaborate and interact with people that share similar goals.
“So, The Tech Garden is great place to work because there is a large number of like-minded people entrepreneurs here that are really co-existing in a space and helping each other grow and progress as companies, ” said Fine.
The planned expansion of the Tech Garden will allow for more businesses, more resources and more space. More businesses at The Tech Garden means more people will be in-and-around the downtown area. Expanding The Tech Garden could have a positive impact on the entire community.