April 06, 2003
By Delen Goldberg, Contributing writer
Onondaga Creek may be full of trash, but it is also full of potential.
That's what more than 50Syracuse officials, green space advocates
and residents agreed on Saturday.
The group gathered in the auditorium
of Corcoran High School to talk about ways to nurse the damaged waterway
back to health.
Canopy, an umbrella organization of
groups advocating green space, joined the city of Syracuse, the State
University College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Centers for
Nature Education in sponsoring the forum.”
We wanted to take a step back and look
at the entire creek corridor and the importance of restoring it for
ecological and human reasons," said Sam Gordon, senior planner for the
Syracuse Department of Community Development.
In poster sessions and panel
discussions, participants learned about the science and ecology of rivers
from SUNY ESF and Cornell University professors. They heard proposals for
Onondaga Creek development from city officials. And they got words of
encouragement - that the waterway is not a lost cause - from an expert.
Keynote speaker Jeff Shoemaker,
executive director of the Greenway Foundation in Denver, Colo., compared
Onondaga Creek to the South Platte River near Denver.
Thirty years ago, the South Platte was
polluted, smelly and strewn with trash, Shoemaker said. Today, it is a home
for fish, a classroom for children and a calm getaway for city dwellers.
Shoemaker said the same could be true
of Onondaga Creek.
Bea Gonzalez, Syracuse Common Council
president, attended the forum as both a community leader and a concerned
resident. She lives on South Salina Street and said the creek is practically
her back yard.”
I see the creek as an abused and
neglected member of our community, which could be very beautiful if taken
care of," she said.
Fourth District Councilor Michael
Atkins said he thinks Onondaga Creek is a diamond in the rough.© 2003 The
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