Thank you, President Simpson, for your generous introduction and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your warm welcome.
President Robert Simpson. Assembly Members Bill Magnarelli, Joan Christensen and Al Stirpe. Senator David Valesky. Deputy Mayor John Cowin. Fellow Partners in the Rebuilding and Revitalization of the Great City of Syracuse.
Let me say right at the beginning of my remarks that the credit for the Assembly's involvement and investment in the rebuilding and revitalization of Downtown Syracuse truly belongs to your assembly delegation - my friends and colleagues, Bill Magnarelli, Joan Christensen and Al Stirpe.
With their leadership, their love of this city and this region, and their relentless advocacy, the Assembly has invested substantially in making Syracuse a more modern and vibrant 21st Century city.
That said, I am delighted to be here this afternoon. I know you will be excited by the details of the Pike Block project that David Nutting will be sharing with you in a few minutes.
Being a lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan and as the assemblyman who represents the fourth largest central business district in the nation, I appreciate the importance of our urban centers.
The future prosperity of our state - our ability to create jobs, to retain and attract talented workers and businesses, to translate innovation into opportunity and wealth - goes hand in hand with the revitalization of our great cities, Syracuse being a prime example.
All of the ingredients needed for economic expansion: a skilled workforce, mass transit, office, retail and manufacturing space (to name but a few), are concentrated in our cities.
Any strategy for job creation and economic development must be focused on rebuilding and revitalizing our urban economies. This principle is central to the Assembly's successful and longstanding "jobs" plan.
Here in Syracuse, we have a sustained, multi-year effort going on; an effort that began with Irwin Davis, continued with Steve Rogers, the current MDA First Vice Chair, and is continuing with the Chair of the MDA, Susan Crossett, and with President Rob Simpson.
Clearly, the success of Armory Square was a building block.
Since 2006, we have appropriated $3.8 million from discretionary funds available to the Assembly for capital projects and invested it in the acquisition, renovation and redevelopment properties in the 300 block of South Salina Street.
That is but a small part of the tens of millions of dollars we have invested in the Connective Corridor, in SUNY Upstate's Institute for Human Performance, and in the Gateway Building at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Equally noteworthy, we forged a partnership with Syracuse University and J.P. Morgan Chase, and in October of last year, I joined Chancellor Cantor in unveiling a new curriculum in global enterprise technology that will keep New York State on the cutting edge of financial services.
As some of you know, we worked tirelessly, under the leadership of Assemblyman Al Stirpe, to convince the Reva Electric Car Company to assemble its cars in Syracuse.
We're not merely trying to recapture the glory of bygone days, we want the City of Syracuse to be better, stronger, more modern, more attractive, more competitive, more prosperous, more exciting, and abundant with the jobs and the careers of tomorrow. On top of that, we want Syracuse to be a stronger engine pumping benefits of education, innovation, and economic development throughout the entire Central New York region.
Surely, if our commitment proves anything, it is that this region is served by an outstanding and influential Assembly delegation. They all deserve recognition for what we are accomplishing in this region. They deserve our support. They are making the difference.
On that note, let me wrap up by making one additional point.
As a leader who is involved in the largest, most complex urban rebuilding and revitalization project in American history - the World Trade Center site and all of Lower Manhattan - trust me when I say that nothing is more important than dedicated leadership, true partnership, and a clear and achievable vision for the future.
I believe we have all of that and more here in Syracuse.
Speaking for the Assembly, we look forward to working in partnership with the MDA, the Governor, Senator Valesky, Mayor Stephanie Miner, and with all of the region's civic, business and academic leaders to make Syracuse and the Central Region one of the very best places to live, to work, to start a business and to raise a family.
I wish you the best of luck as the Pike Block project proceeds, and I look forward to joining you in announcing more projects in the near future.