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October 23, 2019
Contact: Mary Lupien
5854064709

Lupien calls for more transparency, public input in FLREDC

City Council Candidate Mary Lupien calls for more transparency, public input in Finger Lakes Regional Council’s Economic Development program

Candidate argues activist groups have been ignored in Parcel 5 discussion; incentives for developers require more transparency.

City Council candidate Mary Lupien has expressed concern related to the Finger Lakes Regional Council’s Economic Development Council 2019 Progress Report. According to the FLREDC report, efforts are being made to “prioritize projects adding green space, as they have been shown to aid economic development, improve mental and physical health of residents and support climate resiliency” (p.30). In addition, the report notes the FLREDC aims to, “generate metrics for evaluating project applications that include…feasibility…and public support.” Lupien argues that the report, at times, contradicts these statements.

“Activist groups and everyday people have long pushed for urban green space at Parcel 5, making the exact arguments for green space outlined in the report,” said Lupien. “The area has proved its feasibility through programming during Fringe Fest and Jazz Fest and Parcel 5 is even listed as part of the report’s Environmental Justice Strategy on page 50.  Yet this same report calls for $23.5 million to develop an entertainment venue at Parcel 5 similar to the KC Live complex in Kansas City, which is a covered, concrete venue. We don't need $23.5 million on top of $4 million to make Parcel 5 an urban green space for all to enjoy. Instead, we need to focus on a robust, inclusive and creative process to engage the community in bottom-up solutions.”

Lupien is calling on FLREDC to further clarify a number of suggested action items in the report, requesting the FLREDC:

-define measures that will be taken to engage the public and community activist groups, that go beyond five general meetings that offer limited opportunity for public input.

-define metrics for measuring feasibility and public support, as well as for how green space will be prioritized.

-provide more transparency in the reporting process. For example, $3 million is reportedly being awarded to a Xerox Tower project the public knows little about.

“We have to move our focus away from corporate welfare,” Lupien explained. “The best solutions come from the bottom up, and I fear we are missing important opportunities via a process that purports to engage the community but falls short in supporting community-driven solutions.”

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