SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Not long after the pandemic forced Syracuse City Hall to close to visitors, a flood in the mayor’s suite damaged public payment offices on the ground floor that required renovation.
Mayor Ben Walsh says the pandemic forced him to reimagine how city government serves its constituents.
Using insurance money from the floor and other resources, Syracuse City Hall used its pandemic downtime for improvements to highly-visited areas.
The main entrance is now on Market Street, the right side of the building when facing the front.
Market Street has been repaved and city workers have given up their parking spots so visitors can park instead. Parking is free for visits less than 30 minutes and meters are available up to two hours.
Steps from the sidewalk into City Hall’s Market Street door have been replaced with handicap-accessible ramps that blend into the sidewalk.
Inside the door, a Syracuse Police Officer greets visitors and city workers with pandemic-era temperature checks and a metal detector.
Mayor Walsh said, “We talked a lot about with our staff to try and understand their concerns. We did hear safety and security was a concern.”
“Mayor included,” says Walsh about who has to go through the metal detectors every day.
Down the hall, the payment offices damaged by the flood have been renovated. Lines with different purposes have been combined with windows and staff that help with any payment, whether its a tax bill, water bill or parking violation.
Mayor Walsh said, “On a big payment day, you might wait in line for 20 minutes only to get to the window and figure out you’re in the wrong line. That’s bad service, bad form. We can do better than that.”
Mayor Walsh is running for re-election this November.