5 Wishes For Liverpool NY In 2017
Back in February I wrote my almost annual 5 Wishes For Central New York post. For the first time some of those things were actually accomplished; yay! I wish I could claim credit for some of them but I know I had absolutely nothing to do with it; sigh… lol
This year I’m doing something a little different. Instead of 5 wishes for central New York I’ve decided to concentrate on my own area, which is Liverpool NY. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Liverpool is a northern suburb of Syracuse and has a long and rich history. It’s also an area in great transition. It’s one of the fastest growing communities in the area, yet most of what’s taking place is on the Route 31 corridor. Liverpool is definitely more than Route 31, so I’ve decided to highlight other areas in this post… except for my last wish… one that seems to be disappearing slowly.
1. More development on Route 57
I mentioned above that there’s a lot of work that’s being done on Route 31. New stores are cropping up all the time, along with apartment buildings and even restaurants. I don’t mind the new stuff; what I mind is that no one’s looking at Route 57.
Many years ago the road was widened to help alleviate the higher traffic that was becoming a major problem. It had previously been straightened out from the curvy road it used to be. At that time I thought that a lot of the empty space and closed up structures would start having more tenants and make it look like the good part of Erie Boulevard.
Instead, a lot of it still looks like a ghost town. Actually, there is some new construction occurring but I’m more concerned with what already exists.
For instance, Seneca Mall looks like a shell of its former self. The layout is boring and it’s probably not even at 50% capacity. It’s no wonder that Kmart is struggling, because other than Big Lots and a pretty well hidden furniture outlet there’s really no reason to pull in there (sorry Aspen; you don’t count right now).
The same is happening with the mall next to Speedway where the Red Cross is along with Aldi’s, the Dollar Tree and a couple of banks. There’s a lot of open space there as well, but the entire building could use an overhaul. Someone needs to do some updates like what recently took place at Bayberry Mall to make it more attractive to other small businesses. I wouldn’t be depressed if another restaurant went in there to compliment and possibly save the Asian and Thai restaurants that already exist there.
I’m not sure what can be done about those malls or other spaces that are either empty or look like they’re crumbling but it would be nice if there was some kind of plan to help fill up the spaces and make those areas look more attractive.
2. More development on Old Liverpool Road
While we’re at it, we could use the same type of thing on Old Liverpool Road. Talk about bad planning of businesses… I know it’s an older section of the area but someone needs to think about revamping a lot of the area to make it more attractive to both businesses and consumers.
First, the little strip mall where the Liverpool Drive-In used to be was built stupidly. Unless you know it’s there, only traffic coming from one direction even sees any part of it, and only the businesses near the front. If I were the owner I’d expand the entire building by turning it into a large U-shaped structure so that businesses would be on 3 sides, making sure more people saw it, because even with the expansion there would be plenty of parking.
Second, the mall next to Vicki’s ice cream needs to be updated and cleaned up because it looks like an eyesore, even with the one newer business there on the corner. There’s also a lot of empty space that could be modified to add new businesses to (by the way, I don’t know the names of most of these areas, and I’ve been here for decades; that’s how bad the branding is).
Frankly, if it wasn’t for Ichiban, Heid’s and the Lakeview Bowling Center most people would probably skip the entire thing… once again, unless you live in the area. However, since Old Liverpool Road is also getting a lot more traffic, it’s worth doing something with the businesses in that area.
3. More development of major buildings off 7th North Street
This area is a major waste. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, all of those buildings close to the Thruway were filled with multiple businesses, including some city services. Now none of them are full and some of them are totally empty. It can’t help the tax base any having all that empty space without lots of tax paying tenants.
Of course it’s not up to me, but if it were I’d take all of those buildings except for the old one, the white one closest to CNY Hospice, and I’d renovate them and turn them into luxury condos, similar to what’s going on downtown. It’s close to both Route 81 and the Thruway and would help to support some of the smaller businesses in the area, including a couple of the restaurants that already exist over there. Condos would also be easier to sell than trying to use it as office space, which is probably what the owners have been trying to do unsuccessfully for all these years.
4. Better merge of roads off Onondaga Lake Parkway leading towards Destiny USA Mall
One of the most surprising things to me is that we hardly ever hear of any accidents at the place where, from one direction, you’re coming off Onondaga Lake Parkway heading to Destiny while traffic coming off Old Liverpool Road is doing the same. Both roads merge together but neither side has a yield sign and visibility isn’t the best.
Frankly, this type of design is a bit beyond my scope of expertise, but I’m sure someone could figure out a better design for this. Part of the problem for me is that the road coming off the Parkway is much lower than the road coming off the other side, so looking back is a hit or miss type of thing. That there’s been more misses than hits is a lucky thing to this point, but I’m betting there’s been more hits than I know about.
5. Let’s get Great Northern Mall Up To Snuff!
This one is quite troubling to me because I wrote about it in 2015 and gave some tips and ideas on what they could possibly do to get Great Northern back to some kind of prominence in the area. This used to be the driver of traffic to the area and now it’s being forgotten and dismissed as other lands are being scooped up, trees town down and new edifices erected.
The thing is, the Fairmount and Camillus areas have started renovating their mall areas and are seeing pretty good growth from them. They’ve done it by diversifying their offerings to the extent that it’s something different than what Destiny offers. Great Northern could do the same, even if they didn’t adopt any of my ideas. They need to do something before they lose more stores (we’ve got to protect Sears) to other spaces elsewhere on Route 31.
That’s all I have, my wish for Liverpool NY in 2017. Unfortunately, unlike my wishes in February, where I got at least 2 of them to come true, I don’t think any of these will even be addressed. One can hope, right?