SYRACUSE — Neighbors of the Syracuse Family Fun Center want to know who is protecting their interests.
Their concern follows a recent vote by the city’s Redevelopment Agency to lend money to allow the facility to expand to include an indoor pool and other recreation amenities.
Robert Gardner said it appears city leaders weren’t open to taking input on the issue in voting to extend the funding to the local company. He said neighbors weren’t even allowed input on the project until a planning commission meeting last week.
“It was like we were talking to a brick wall. Anything we said didn’t really matter. All this effort for the city to do this expansion, and the first time we got to say anything was last week,” Gardner said.
Gardner cited concerns about noise and pollution related to the recreational center project. He aired those concerns during the public comment portion of the city council meeting Tuesday.
Laura Streeter also mentioned noise and pollution concerns related to the project. She said there are 12 or 13 children who live adjacent to the project, and noted the possibility the firm will offer go-karts, which will mean heavy exposure to exhaust for children in the neighborhood as well as noise.
“How many of you would want to buy a house with a back to a wall with exhaust 12 to 13 hours a day?” Streeter said.
She asked city officials to consider raising the size of the fence between the business and adjacent homes more than the existing 6 feet.
“We need to be heard. There are too many negative impacts on our family. We feel very poorly and are very anxious about what is about to happen,” Streeter added.
Mayor Jamie Nagle asked to talk to Streeter and Gardner after the meeting, but it came on the heels of the project clearing another key step.
The city council voted 5-0 to approve a new joint development agreement with the company, after the same action was approved in an RDA meeting earlier in the evening.
The RDA is expected to lend $300,000 to allow the project to get started. Work on the expansion is expected to begin later this year. The center is located in an RDA zone.
The center is owned by Ed Gertge, who claims the project will give residents a chance to stay at home and spend their money rather than going to neighboring communities.
He outlined a plan of the RDA potentially providing a yearly subsidy from $30,000 to $168,000 over the next 19 years.
Besides the indoor pool, the amenities are expected to include go-karts to complement the existing bowling alley, mini-golf and laser tag options, among other recreational pursuits.