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South Side Communication Center grand opening to be celebrated Wednesday
The Southside Community Coalition and the South Side Initiative Office at Syracuse University will celebrate the grand opening of the South Side Communication Center on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at the center, 2331 S. Salina St. The public is invited to attend an open house from 3-6 p.m., during which tours of the facility will be given.
The South Side Communication Center is a key part of development of a business and cultural district along South Salina Street between East Colvin Street and Brighton Avenue that has been spearheaded by the Southside Community Coalition, SU’s South Side Initiative Office and Home HeadQuarters.
The center will serve as an open access computer cluster, providing residents with free public access to computers with Internet connectivity and on-site assistance. It will be a central base for community unification, while increasing the community’s computer resources. The center will provide a platform for several community-University projects focusing on technology, communication and the preservation of local history.
The new communications center is located on a property that was a residence, and most recently a consignment boutique that closed two years ago. The property was rehabilitated with a state grant secured by Home HeadQuarters, with SU contributing additional funding.
“The Southside Communication Center will satisfy a much needed demand for public computer and Internet accessibility,” says SCC President Joseph Bryant. “The vision is for it to become the hub for community resident development in the areas of science, technology, math and engineering. We believe there is a gap in access to information within this community and others alike. With the communications center, this gap will decrease.”
“We have been working diligently for several years towards this moment,” says Shante Harris-El, secretary of the Southside Community Coalition. “The grand opening of the Southside Communication Center represents the pinnacle of organizational collaborations at work on the South Side of Syracuse. It is an outward demonstration that we, the residents of the South Side of Syracuse, can work together to bring to fruition an idea for the betterment of our community.”
Harris-El says the communication center will further community development by providing an environment for children and adults to sharpen their computer skills, while offering the community a venue for lectures, classes and meetings. “We envision the center becoming the ‘tech hub’ of the community,” she says.
“The South Side Communication Center was made possible by a strong community-university-resident collaboration. This collaboration helped me understand that often times, in order to create meaning and beauty in an under-resourced area, many hands are needed,” says Linda Littlejohn, associate vice president for SU’s South Side Initiative. “There were dozens of hands extended to us from SU, the SCC and HHQ—many whose work went beyond the call of duty.”
Bryant hopes that the development of this property will attract more investment by other foundations, agencies and government entities along South Salina Street.