August 14, 2018

Speaker Heastie Continues Annual Statewide Tour With Two Stops in Syracuse

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Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today joined Assemblymembers Pamela Hunter and Al Stirpe to visit the Syracuse region as part of an ongoing annual statewide tour. During the trip, Heastie visited a community impacted by a recent update to Syracuse's flood zone, and later toured local manufacturing facilities.

"New York faces its fair share of challenges, but those challenges are greatly overshadowed by its many strengths and by the commitment of my colleagues in the Assembly Majority to improving their communities," said Speaker Heastie. "Today gave us the opportunity to see the real impacts our work has on communities here in Syracuse, while helping us shape future legislative priorities."

"It was a privilege to host Speaker Heastie today here in Syracuse to discuss some of this community's greatest challenges," said Assemblymember Hunter. "The Speaker's continued commitment to developing a deeper understanding of the many diverse regions across the state assures my colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority that we are in the best position possible to keep moving New York forward."

"Speaker Heastie's visit today was an amazing opportunity to see firsthand the impacts of state investments in Syracuse," said Assemblymember Stirpe. "The investments made in Hancock Airpark have helped provide Central New York with good-paying manufacturing jobs that New Yorkers need."

Today's first stop included a tour of Onondaga Creek and a newly designated flood zone surrounding the creek in the South Side of Syracuse with Assemblymember Hunter. In 2016, the city of Syracuse's flood zone was updated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), adding 876 properties around Onondaga Creek and Meadowbrook. The homes in the flood zone are occupied by a community that has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the country, and now the owners of these properties are federally required to have flood insurance.

Earlier this year, Assemblymember Hunter fought to pass legislation that would create a property tax exemption for owners of one-to three-family buildings located in the flood zone that are currently required to pay expensive flood insurance premiums.

Speaker Heastie later joined Assemblymember Stirpe in North Syracuse to visit two locations in Hancock Airpark, ICM Controls and Air Innovations. ICM Controls is a leading manufacturer of electronic controls specializing in the HVAC industry, with product and process innovation that spans more than 30 years. The ICM Controls plant in North Syracuse is one of the most vertically integrated facilities in the country.

Air Innovations is a world leader in designing and building environmental control systems for applications that require specialized HVAC equipment. The company works on major projects in aerospace, military, semiconductor, pharmaceutical and life sciences, and clean rooms.

The 425-acre airpark was acquired in 1987 by Onondaga County from the federal government after the Air Force closed its base. In 2008, Assemblymember Stirpe secured an $8 million grant to help facilitate the transformation of the former Hancock Airbase into Hancock Airpark. It included the demolition of 138 vacant buildings, removal of 25,000 feet of asbestos-covered steam pipes, new road construction, and installation of sanitary and storm sewers.

Despite public perception, there are many good-paying, open manufacturing jobs in Central New York - from assembly line to engineers. However, most employers say they have trouble filling those jobs because people are not trained in the skills they need. Working with Centerstate CEO, Assemblymember Stirpe has helped secure $1.2 million in grants to address this challenge. Centerstate has administered the development of programs, including a machinist program at Onondaga Community College and the ProTrain manufacturing bootcamp at SUNY EOC. ICM employs several graduates of the bootcamp program.