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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Eastwood Looks at Plan for the Future


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A detailed plan to enrich Eastwood's budding image as "the village within the city" will be unveiled Wednesday before city officials, business leaders and residents of the neighborhood.

The plan, designed by landscape architecture students at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), will be presented 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Blessed Sacrament Parish Center, 3127 James St.

The 13 students, who are completing ESF's five-year landscape architecture program, got involved in the design project through the city's "Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today" program.

Distinguished Teaching Professor George Curry, who teaches the class with Visiting Professor Christine Capella Peters, said Eastwood has a "classic" design: a grid of homes with a central business district on James Street, pockets of industry, and a scattering of public parks.

Their semester-long study led the students to make recommendations in several areas.

Suggestions for Eastwood's parks include enhancing the vegetation, creating stronger entrances and establishing a consistent series of signs to help create a strong sense of community image. Specific activities include developing the highest point in Sunnycrest Park as a picnic area with a pavilion, expanding the trail system at Cummings Field and using a wooded section of Huntington Park as an environmental education site for nearby Huntington School.

The students recommend highlighting the historically significant Burnet Avenue corridor as a gateway to the neighborhood, with additions including entry signs, medians at selected intersections and planters.

A primary focus of the students' attention was James Street, a major component of the neighborhood. "We are trying to maintain and enhance this village 'Main Street' idea," Curry said.

The class recommended design changes on James Street to encourage pedestrian traffic, improve the appearance of existing buildings, and coordinate an overall identity for the business district using the "Arts and Crafts" style as basis for design.

The students also suggested stricter zoning regulations and the designation of part of James Street as a business improvement district. More stringent zoning requirements would strengthen the neighborhood's character and help ensure an aesthetically pleasing design. And an improvement district could, among other things, create partnerships with existing organizations to achieve the neighborhood's goals.