Zipping Along the Connective Corridor
Construction is about to start for the Connective Corridor passing under Route 81 into downtown Syracuse, and the next phase will be launched with a “Zip Fest” Street Fair. The event will feature downtown’s first mobile zip line, along with a Food Truck Rodeo in partnership with 40Below, and live entertainment and performances in Forman Park.
Produced by the Connective Corridor in collaboration with campus and community partners, the “Zip Fest” Street Fair and Food Truck Rodeo are scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 3, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. as part of SU’s Family Weekend. The joint event is open to SU students, faculty and staff, alumni and their families, as well as the Central New York community.
The events will be held in Forman Park and along a portion of East Genesee Street from Almond Street to Forman Avenue, which will be closed during the event to accommodate the free 200-foot zip line. Free Connective Corridor bus service will be available to the event, with close stops nearby at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Syracuse Stage.
The mobile zip line will be free to riders on a first-come, first-served basis, supporting the corridor goals to “connect and activate” a vibrant street scene and public spaces for community members and visitors to enjoy the urban experience.
The Food Truck Rodeo will showcase local cuisine, building on the growing popularity of Syracuse’s burgeoning food truck scene. It is being organized in partnership with 40 Below Syracuse and Save the Rain. A number of unique mobile eateries have already signed up, with an open round-up call out to vendors to “circle their wagons” around the park.
The festival includes multicultural activities, including performances and interactive drumming and dance sessions with Wacheva Cultural Arts, Central New York’s premiere multicultural dance and drum organization. Wacheva will be at the festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., sponsored by The Summit Federal Credit Union, which is located directly adjacent to Forman Park.
Entertainment and activities in Forman Park are being organized with assistance from SU Recreation Services and SU Arts Engage, along with other SU program areas. Also in the park will be live music and other entertainment, along with student clubs, such as jugglers, drummers, cultural groups, ethnic dancers and musicians, and other student performers. Among the featured performers will be Orange Bhangra, a SU South Asian folk dancing and music troupe that performs energizing presentations, such as seasonal harvest dances as a form of cultural expression.
“Zip Fest is a fun way to celebrate the completion of phase one and literally launch into the next stage,” says Linda Hartsock, who directs the corridor initiative for SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development. “It also engages our neighbors and enhances campus, community, student and alumni connections. We wanted to do something very innovative and fun to launch the next phase of the project—and this is a festive and visual way to do that.”
Phase two/three construction is scheduled to start Monday, Nov. 4—the day after “Zip Fest.” Corridor construction will “zip under” Route 81, connecting the streetscape, green bike lanes and cultural district from University Hill to downtown Syracuse, across the central business district to The Warehouse. Construction of the next phases is scheduled to be complete by year-end 2015. The first phase, along University Avenue and East Genesee Street up to Forman Park, was completed this summer.
Connective Corridor phase two construction will extend from Forman Park along East Genesee Street to Townsend Street. Phase three construction will pick up at Fayette Street and continues across downtown to the Warehouse in Armory Square.
While phase two/three construction is expected to last 24 months, the mobile zip line is only here for one day, and is an opportunity to “zip over” for a memorable experience with a little adrenaline—eye to eye with Route 81.
Zip-line rides will be free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission to the festival and festival entertainment is free. Food trucks will be selling food as part of the Festival Rodeo during that time.
“40 Below is pleased to partner with the Connective Corridor and Syracuse University to produce the Food Truck Festival,” says Ben Sio, who directs 40 Below as part of his role with CenterState CEO. “Our community has such interesting cuisine, and we are excited to feature the emerging food truck scene during this event. By locating this event along the Connective Corridor we’re looking to support and celebrate the next phase of construction for this unique urban revitalization project.”
“The Syracuse University Department of Recreation Services is happy to partner with the Connective Corridor and the other partners involved in this exciting event,” says Scott Catucci, associate director, Syracuse University Outdoor Education in the Department of Recreation. “This is a great opportunity to bring our community together and celebrate the connections that exist between Syracuse University and the City of Syracuse. The partnerships are a great example of how together we can highlight all that Syracuse has to offer and engage each other in fun and creative ways. Zipping alongside Forman Park will certainly be an exciting way to see what Syracuse has to offer.”
Sustainability is a theme of the event, along with local cuisine and culture. Save the Rain will be on hand with info highlighting green infrastructure as integral to urban redesign projects along the corridor. For example, Forman Park’s green infrastructure elements included more than 4,000 shrubs and perennials, which capture about 121,000 gallons of storm water each year. Connective Corridor combined green infrastructure projects will harvest and manage 5.9 million gallons of stormwater each year. The corridor’s green infrastructure is funded through Onondaga County/Save the Rain.
Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County were recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with its Global Leadership Award at its 2012 international Greenbuild Conference, honoring such collaborative projects as the Connective Corridor as a model for integrated planning around sustainability, urban design and green building.
Forman Park’s oval design lends itself to a food truck rodeo—particularly as the Connective Corridor gets ready to “circle the park” as it continues its route to downtown. The park was renovated by the Connective Corridor to expand public use. One of the oldest parks in the city, it dates back to 1839, and is named in honor of the founder of Syracuse.
The park features a gracious historic reproduction fountain, large grassy areas, and seating areas and plantings designed by local landscape architects with the renowned Olin group. It also includes a police memorial, and the Syracuse and Central New York Police Retirees Association have partnered with the corridor to help maintain and beautify the park.
“The park also houses a modern sculpture titled, ‘Swoosh,’ which seems appropriate for an event featuring a mobile zip line that will ‘swoosh’ participants along the corridor—and launch the next exciting phase of construction,” says Hartsock.
Student groups interested in performing as part of “Zip Fest” should contact the SU Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development at email@example.com.