Progress to Oswego’s 2020 Vision Plan

Oswego-  The city of Oswego’s 2020 Comprehensive Vision plan was adopted by the city of in 2003. Now, 10 years later, the plan is passed the halfway point. In 2010 the plan was revised with the economy taken into consideration. Within the city, the plan still leaves reason for high hopes.

“I think it’s great. I think what Oswego is trying to going to stimulate the economy here locally and it’s going to be good for the city but it’s going to be good for the infrastructure,” said Saad Bennani a community development intern. “I feel like what they are doing with 104 is going to reduce traffic and definitely help the flow of traffic move better and keeping the harbor and the port itself maintain with the water ways. I think that will be good for boaters and the fisherman especially because it’s such a high traffic area.”

Bennani explained some successful points for the new 2020 vision plan which includes the city going for a new and improved look.

“The city of Oswego is going through  like a revamping of their community development. They are doing which a new logo and a new website and their trying to revamp their image,” said Bennani.  “And kind of going off on the 2020 plan, they are trying to make Oswego look like more like nice place to live and a nicer place to come and spend time and not only for us just events like Harborfest and that kind or college things but for a city in itself.”

Within the 38-point action plan is the encouragement of young adults to stay in Oswego.  City mayor Tom Gillen expressed his feelings having seeing it first hand.

“I raised three kids here, went to school, left, because there’s no jobs. They want to come back but what are they supposed to do,” said Gillen.  “So if we can create that environment that simulates growth and the economy that bring people back here for the quality of life that only you can get in Upstate New York, particularly in the city of Oswego which is my favorite perspective is that we offer so much in terms of natural beauty and resources, in terms of location and quality of a community.”

Outside of City Hall doors, locals don’t share all the same ideas as city officials, like Atom Avery the owner of the Beacon Hotel and lifelong Oswego resident.

“The 2020 plan I think like any plan you plan something, this part of the plan works, this part of the plan does not work,” said Avery.  “I would say that honestly the biggest impact of the 2020 plan that has actually worked as far as revitalizing historical, small downtown, is residential living above them.”

Avery was referring to the new apartments above store fronts in downtown Oswego.  Bennani also agreed that this housing is great for the city.

“I think the more residents you have directly living in Oswego, the more it helps local business out,” said Bennani.  “An example is Canal Commons, more people are going to be using the supermarkets in the area, dining at the restaurants around here versus the people that work in Oswego whether it be the professors or employees of the industrial plants, they commute, but now that there is going to be better housing available for them in Oswego I feel like it is going to be a plus”

Get well rubbing

“I think its about getting the right businesses here, but its also about getting the right residents here too,” said Avery.

Avery has his own ideas of what he would do to help the city, called replacement housing.

“Not new housing replacement housing,” said Avery.  “What I mean by that is this, the city sits down, says they are going to take this house asses it at $40,000, tear it down and build a $150,000 house, or two houses right next to each other  tear those down and build a $150,000 house.  They will still only for the next 10 years tax you at $40,000, so the city is not losing any money, not losing any revenue, but they are raising the whole value of the city if they do that.  Now if that happens I would love to see all the crappy houses on Bridge Street be torn down and basically like brownstone coming in put $150,000 houses put in, because that is the entrance to the city.  Basically the city is losing spenders or money makers to other communities, because the city does not have good housing right now.”

Although there are still some unresolved solutions it is safe to say the 2020 plan is moving slowly but surely.

“Since 2003 they have put their foot in the door, and they have defiantly made the plan progress from the early stages,” said Bennani.  “They do still have a lot of work to do, I look forward to coming back here, after I graduate, and get a job to see how the 2020 plan has affected the city of Oswego.”

There are still some adjustments being made to the plan due to the economy.  The most recent project is the hotel, and conference center Hampton Inn being built right off the Utica St. Bridge.