Lincoln Hill Revives Sense of Place
November 25, 2004
By Margarita Raycheva, Contributing writer
By About 100 people gathered at James and Vine streets last Friday for the unveiling of two stone monuments designating the gateway to Syracuse's Lincoln Hill neighborhood.
The monuments will alert passersby and motorists to one of the city's least known residential communities, said Vincent Nicotra, president of the Lincoln Hill Neighborhood Association.
"We wanted to give it a sense of place," Nicotra said. "We call it Lincoln Hill, but not many people know what Lincoln Hill is."
The monuments are the latest project aimed at reviving Lincoln Hill, a neighborhood nestled in the rectangle between Burnet and Teall avenues and Elm and James streets.
Since 2000, the neighborhood has received more than $1.8 million from the city and the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative, a public-private initiative created in 1999 by Rep. James Walsh, R-Onondaga, to improve housing in city neighborhoods.
In the last six years, Walsh has secured more than $46 million from the federal government to demolish dilapidated houses, build new ones, renovate community centers and offer home improvement grants to homeowners.
In Lincoln Hill, the money was used to demolish several buildings, including a store and bar on Shuart Avenue, where residents often complain about fights, drugs and other criminal activities.
The money also was used to fix sidewalks, give homeowners grants to repair the exterior of their homes and put a gazebo, swing set and install a skateboarding area in Lincoln Hill Park.
There are plans to build three single-family homes and create green space in the neighborhood.
The first home will be built on the 200 block of Shuart Avenue.
The home will be ready by summer 2005, said Kerry Quaglia, director of Home HeadQuarters, the non-profit housing agency overseeing the new project.
The two-story home, which will be valued at $140,000, will include two bedrooms, a master suite on the first floor, a bathroom on the second floor, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Residents and city officials hope the new homes will encourage investment in a neighborhood where there's a high number of rental properties. Residents complain about landlords who don't care about their properties.
Rina Shea, 81, who has lived in the Lincoln Hill neighborhood for 75 years, said the new homes will be good for young families.
"This is a nice neighborhood," Shea said. "It's a good place to raise children."
The Lincoln Hill Neighborhood Association was created in response to residents' concerns about crime, trash, noise and landlords who don't fix their properties.
Donna Kassman became involved about seven years ago after a car bomb blew up across the street from her home at 212 Shuart Ave.
"You didn't even want to drive down the street, let alone walk," Kassman said. "Now there has been a whole change of personality."
Lincoln Hill has a potential to be a stable neighborhood, Kassman said. The neighborhood has three churches - Reformed Church, St. Vincent de Paul Church and Transfiguration Church. The are also three schools - Henninger High School, Lincoln Middle School and Dr. Weeks School.
Lincoln Hill mostly is a middle-class neighborhood bordering Sedgwick and Eastwood. The neighborhood became known as Lincoln Hill in the mid-1980s. Before then, it was known as the "Vineyard." The grapevine logo on the monument was inspired by Lincoln Hill's former name, Nicotra said.
The monument is made from naturally rounded river stone, which matches the wall at Lincoln Park nearby. The association plans to install seven more monuments in the neighborhood by the end of next spring.
© 2004 The Post-Standard.