Community torn on hotel tax deal for Destiny USA

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On Friday, OCIDA held a public hearing about tax breaks for Destiny USA’s new hotel.

Destiny wants a 12-year property tax agreement once it’s finished building the $48-million hotel.

Those against the tax break feel the new hotel won’t benefit the local economy.

“They haven’t proved their case that we need another hotel,” said Aggie Lane, President of the Urban Jobs Task Force. “And if they can prove it’s just profitable for Destiny, then let them build it on their own without our tax dollars.”

“We’re already hurting and we have a big funding gap in our school district,” added Lane.

Destiny USA Executive David Atkin has told NewsChannel 9 previously that Destiny is committed to hiring half of the 70 plus long-term employees needed to run the hotel from the City of Syracuse. 

That commitment is motivating supporters who say we need more jobs and tourism in Central New York.

“We have a systemic problem of poverty in the City of Syracuse,” said Onondaga County Legislator Chris Ryan. “We can do better.”

“If there’s going to be a mechanism to hire 50 percent from the City of Syracuse I think that’s a good thing,” added Ryan, whose district includes some poverty stricken areas in the city.  

Construction is planned to begin in late May or June and would be right across from the mall on Hiawatha Boulevard, near Solar Street.

The project is scaled back from the one presented a couple years ago when Destiny wanted to build a 255 room facility.  The current plan is for a 209-room hotel and a restaurant, scaled back from the initial 225-room facility.

None of the OCIDA board members attended the meeting Friday.

Many were also upset the hearing was held at 9 a.m. on Friday, when many families work.

The public can submit comments until April 10.

If you’d like to submit your thoughts you can do it online by clicking here.
 

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