I spent a couple hours on Tuesday night at an event at Beer Belly Deli presented by a group called Believe in Syracuse. In its own words, Believe in Syracuse is a "non-profit organization that promotes the positive features of the Greater Syracuse Area and cultivates connections and civic engagement within the Greater Syracuse community." Specifically on the agenda Tuesday was the recent improvements on and near Westcott Street.
Having been in Syracuse only a short time, I can't accurately speak to how the area has been improved and what the impact has been. But it is likely my favorite area in town, with a nice mix of shopping, restaurants, bars, cafes, and residences. It it comfortably walkable and well-lit. The Beer Belly was a real highlight - an excellent beer selection, tasty food, an a great, friendly atmosphere both inside the restaurant and outside on the back patio.
One takeaway from the event, which may have been inadvertant, was the seeming difficulty possible business owners have trying to borrow money to invest in the neighborhood. One of the owners of Beer Belly discussed trying multiple avenues before ultimately working with the local Syracuse Federal Credit Union. Restorations of the Babcock-Shattuck House on the corner of Westcott and Genesee came in fits and stops, in no small part because of financing issues. The success of both will hopefully allow more lenders to be willing to work with local investors.