(WSYR-TV) — County Executive Ryan McMahon and County Legislator Charles Garland announced a new housing initiative this afternoon but the main focus quickly became the heavily debated aquarium. 

McMahon agreed to support the million-dollar initiative, in exchange for a “yes” vote on the proposal. 

“What we have said is growing communities don’t play the either-or game, that’s what failing communities do,” said County Executive Ryan McMahon. “What growing communities do is they identify all the challenges, all of the opportunities they build partnerships to address those.”

One of those challenges is making sure everyone in the community has access to housing and now thanks to an over 4 million dollar investment, 10 brand new homes are going to be built around the City of Syracuse.

“You very seldom see this type of investment here on the Southside, most people don’t know we have the highest percentage of vacant houses and lots,” said Onondaga County Legislator Charles Garland.  

Knowing that Legislator Garland is expected to vote on the County Executive’s aquarium proposal, many were curious if this influenced his decision.

This is politics 101, it’s about the leverage that we have and using it. He’s met every single thing that we have asked for so again, I am a man of my word, he has met those asks, so yes.

Onondaga County Legislator Charles Garland

Both Garland and McMahon were transparent, explaining that in order for the County Executive to get the vote he would have to meet Garland’s requirements in the 16th district.  

However, McMahon says the root of it is tackling the impacts of the pandemic.

“How are we going to address all the impacts of the pandemic? And to ignore the hospitality industry was not something that was going to be acceptable to me. Instead of giving one shot pieces of capital that would be weeks if not months, we want to build something that the community can have and can be proud of and will generate economic activity for years and years to come,” said McMahon. 

Legislators are expected to vote on the aquarium proposal on Tuesday, August 2. Based on what McMahon said today he seems confident it will get the support it needs. 

McMahon will need 9 of the 17 votes in order for the proposal to be approved.