Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainable Development

Construction on Phase II Green Infrastructure Projects Completed at Onondaga Commons

December 01, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Phase II of the comprehensive green infrastructure projects spearheaded by Short Enterprises now complete at the Onondaga Commons Urban Revitalization Initiatives.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK -- Construction was completed in early November on phase two of the “Save the Rain” green infrastructure installations at the Onondaga Commons health and human services campus in Syracuse, New York. 

Phase two consisted of replacing the large impervious parking lots servicing the Dr. William A. Harris Health Clinic and Rural/Metro Ambulance in the City’s Near Westside. The parking areas were replaced with a porous asphalt surface and underlying stone infiltration basin.

Phase one, completed in early September, involved replacing adjacent parking lots servicing Onondaga County’s Office of Family Planning Services and the Lean On Me Daycare. Together, phases one and two were completed at a cost of roughly $400,000 and will manage approximately 1.5 million gallons of storm water annually.

The innovative green infrastructure installations at Onondaga Commons incorporate a number of sustainable technologies and have recently attracted both regional and international attention.

The projects at Onondaga Commons also represent the largest privately pursued storm water management installations in the city of Syracuse and under Onondaga County’s award winning “Save the Rain” Program which seeks to reduce the pollution from storm water runoff in an effort to clean Onondaga Lake.

The green infrastructure initiatives are a component of the comprehensive community revitalization efforts now underway at the Onondaga Commons and will address impervious surfaces across the 5.5 acre campus, which in total will manage between 5 and 10 million gallons of storm water runoff. Subsequent project phases will address contiguous properties at 416, 488, & 506 W. Onondaga Street.

These efforts are spearheaded by W. Michael Short of Short Enterprises in collaboration with Natural Systems Engineering. Daly Company of Sackets Harbor, a minority and women-owned business enterprise (MWBE), managed construction on phase one and two projects. Local subcontractors were utilized for construction and included Syracuse-based Ruston Paving.

Short credits the City of Syracuse Neighborhood & Business Development, Engineering, and Permitting Offices with assisting with the necessary approval involved with the projects.

“The assistance of the City and County and all of our many collaborators and partners made it possible to achieve the ambitious timeline of trying to complete the first two phases of these projects during the 2013 construction season before the weather became prohibitive,” says Short. “These projects also highlight the mutually beneficial outcomes associated with successful public/private partnerships in community revitalization.”

Short also explained that the timing on these comprehensive green infrastructure projects is of particular note. The projects amount to over a million dollars in fully-funded property improvements and investment just as the Commons is gearing up to attract additional tenants to replace relocating anchor tenant Rural/Metro Ambulance.

“These projects also allow us to highlight the key asset of abundant onsite surface parking at the Commons, which can accommodate over 300 vehicles within blocks and walking distance of downtown Syracuse,” says Short. “Abundant surface parking is a major draw for prospective tenants interested in locating at the Commons and in downtown Syracuse.”

The green infrastructure efforts at Onondaga Commons also incorporate tree plantings provided through the Save the Rain Tree Planting Program. The Program is a robust tree planting strategy for neighborhoods throughout the City of Syracuse and is operated by Onondaga County Save the Rain, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County and the Syracuse Parks Department. This Program will support the planting of 8,500 trees by 2018. After the trees are planted, the City of Syracuse will oversee watering and maintenance of the trees. Six new street trees were installed at the Onondaga Commons through this program at no cost to the property owner.


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