Greetings and thank you for joining us this morning at this wonderful new facility.

A little more than a year ago, I was pleased—and excited—to introduce you to the concept for our ”Connective Corridor,“ a thoroughfare, both in a metaphorical sense and in terms of physical space, for the exploration and celebration of the significant cultural and artistic strengths we share here in Syracuse and Central New York.

Cantor SpeechFrom the beginning, building the Connective Corridor has been a joint effort between our federal representatives; National Grid, our lead corporate partner; and Syracuse University. We are pleased to have Congressman Walsh’s enthusiastic support and are grateful to him for all of his hard work on behalf of this initiative. We are also deeply gratified that Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton enthusiastically joined in the effort and, with Congressman Walsh, have secured over nine million dollars in federal funds for this project. The region is indeed fortunate to have such visionary representation in Washington. These partnerships will foster even greater opportunities for economic development and growth.

We have taken a number of important steps in moving the Connective Corridor from concept to reality. Critical to this progress is the historic Memorandum of Understanding created between the University and the City of Syracuse. Many thanks to Mayor Matt Driscoll for his part in this collaborative venture. Signed in December, this agreement is significant in that it creates a new template for private-public partnerships. Today we also welcome our newest partner, Time Warner Cable, confidently agreeing to work with us to make the Connective Corridor truly a place of electronic interconnectedness.

We are forming a steering committee, starting with our partner, Alan Rothschild, president of the East Genesee Regent Association, to provide advice and guidance through the life of the project. It has always been our goal to get as many people involved as possible. For this reason, we held our public input sessions before launching the design competition. Hundreds of Central New Yorkers from a wide range of backgrounds and interest groups participated in these sessions, offering their thoughts and opinions. Their ideas and suggestions will be provided to the design teams to inform their work and concepts.

Our own Syracuse University students have contributed via a program called ”Imagining the Connective Corridor.“ This academic-based effort has encouraged our students to venture beyond the classroom to consider a wealth of possibilities in a range of disciplines, from design to transportation planning to engineering to advertising.

All of this input has created a firm foundation for us to move forward with the next phase of this very special project.

It therefore gives me a great deal of pleasure to announce to you today that the design competition for the Connective Corridor is officially underway!

Working with the City of Syracuse, we have placed a Request for Qualifications—or RFQ—in the New York State Contract Reporter and will be receiving submissions from design teams all over the country during the coming weeks.

Those submissions will be assessed by an eight-member selection committee, comprised of designees chosen by both Syracuse University and the City of Syracuse. The committee members have the background, expertise and knowledge necessary to decide which design teams will be invited to create a vision, a workable master plan, for the Connective Corridor.

The selection committee will narrow the field of applicants to no more than four design teams. These teams of landscape architects, urban planners, civil engineers and other design professionals will then formulate their designs over the summer, ready for exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art in August and September.

We invite the community to view these concepts with us during this time and also to participate with us in a public symposium focused on the different interpretations of the Connective Corridor.

The timetable for the design competition is here to my left (reference poster of timetable) and I want to thank National Grid for sponsoring our design competition.

We hope the community will join us in August when we build on the success of last year’s ”Welcome Weekend“ by holding an even bigger celebration of our incredible arts and cultural programming. This truly is an amazing area and we look forward to raising the profile and immersing ourselves in all that it has to offer.

I thank all of you for contributing to our vision for the future.

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