Local entrepreneur helping businesses in downtown Syracuse

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For those who have been in Armory Square recently, you may have noticed the makings of a project called Parklets for the People. It’s an initiative to help local businesses expand their outdoor dining. The man who came up with the idea is a well-known entrepreneur in Syracuse and an urban activist, Michael John Heagerty.

Inspired by the trend happening in San Francisco, Heagerty worked with members of the City of Syracuse, its DPW department, and people at SWBR to build parklets in the place of parking spaces in Armory Square.

“It’s time to get creative in these times and people need to be outside, they want to eat outside, so it’s just, like, the perfect time to attack this,” Heagerty said.

Heagerty’s first customers are Kitty Hoynes, owned by his aunt and uncle, and Pastabilities, which is right across the street. The next business looking to benefit is Funk N’ Waffles, along with others in and around Armory Square. In coordination with the city, Heagerty created a permitting process for these parklets. It falls under the sidewalk cafe permit.

“DPW then has safety features, jersey barriers and protection, lifted up on a platform,” Heagerty said.

The end product was all made possible with help from the community. They’ve raised more than $3,200 through a GoFundMe page and most of the equipment to build the parklets was donated, including bleachers from West Genesee High School.

“Citizens who are interested in having these kinds of things can throw a few bucks at it and, less than you would spend on an evening out, and you can have a parklet in front of your favorite restaurant or salon,” Heagerty said.

And it’s all at no cost to business owners.

“We’re helping local business thrive, we’re helping people come back downtown, and have a space to eat, a space to enjoy the outdoors during the nice summer months,” said Matthew Lupiani, Project Manager and Syracuse Office Manager for SWBR.

The parklets will be in place until the permitting for sidewalk cafe’s closes on Oct. 31st. Next year, they hope to expand that time frame.


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