State of the County: Onondaga Co. Exec. unveils plans for sports complex, internet for all, and what’s next for Shoppingtown mall

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A rosy forecast as Onondaga County looks to bounce back from the pandemic with an aggressive plan for this year. In his State of the County address Wednesday night, Ryan McMahon says the county ended 2020 with a $25 million surplus, thanks to proactive cuts and spending measures. 

Going into 2021, McMahon plans on investing $15 million to expand the internet to rural parts of the county. Those areas include Tully, Elbridge, and Fabius, as well as parts of Camillus and other areas in the county.

McMahon is also planning to spend $2 million this year on the second to last leg of the Loop the Lake Trail along Onondaga Lake Park. He calls the trail bridge that went up last year around the lake one of the most impressive accomplishments from the county. 

Also in 2021, we are going to learn what is next for Shoppingtown Mall. The county purchased the property last year after a long legal battle. In May, we will know more about what is in store for that location.

As we look to get our economy restarted, there’s a sports complex plan in the works that could be a game-changer for our area. A big part of Onondaga County’s comeback could come from a plan that’s been more than a year in the making. 

Onondaga County plans to spend $25 million to create a sports complex that would bring in hundreds of teams and families every year. It would preferably have between nine and 12 outdoor turf fields and a roughly 2,500 seat stadium. This could host sports like soccer and lacrosse.

But where will it be? That answer is coming in a few weeks. 

“The hint will be that when you look at a lot of our entertainment industry, a lot of it is lake driven. Loop the Lake, the amphitheater, Destiny USA, the Inner Harbor, the ballpark. So we are going to stick with that theme,” McMahon said.

The facility would be run by an outside company and not the county government. 

McMahon says the project will create full-time and construction jobs, generate over 32,000 hotel room nights a year, and have an economic output of $33 million annually. 

This kind of plan could kick-start the hotel industry, which has been suffering during the pandemic. 

Sales tax is the largest revenue and McMahon believes the plan could score big numbers in that column. 

Within the next 60 days, a plan will be presented to the legislature for the project.

You can watch the State of the County address below:

The entire text of the speech is below:

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