Building Healthy Communities | Near Westside, Syracuse
The Near Westside neighborhood of Syracuse once directly connected to the downtown of Syracuse. A series of transportation projects—the expansion of West Street, the interruption of the street grid, and the loss of manufacturing jobs—contributed to the isolation of the community and erosion of resources. These processes led to the deterioration of the neighborhood and loss of a significant number of housing units, employment that pays a living wage, and other amenities. NYSHealth grantees, residents, and other local partners are working together to turn this neighborhood around.
Near Westside, Syracuse
Grantee Name: Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion
Project Title: Near Westside Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative
Grant Amount: $249,471
Grantee Name: Center for Court Innovation
Project Title: Near Westside Healthy Neighborhoods Fund Phase 2
Grant Amount: $375,00
Community Fast Facts
- 49% of children in Syracuse live in poverty.
- The obesity rate for Onondaga County (of which Syracuse is the county seat) is 27.9%.
- The smoking rate for Onondaga County (of which Syracuse is the county seat) is 16%.
- The diabetes rate for Onondaga County (of which Syracuse is the county seat) is 9%.
- The high-school graduation rate for Syracuse public schools ranges from 41–57%.
- Increase residents’ knowledge of, access to, and purchase of healthier foods;
- Improve the built environment and activate public spaces to make them safer; and
- Strengthen community cohesion and peacemaking efforts.
What We’ve Achieved to Date
- Launched in collaboration with Nojaim Bros. Supermarket the NuVal nutritional scoring program, a food-indexing system that educates customers about better choices while shopping in the grocery store. NuVal was paired with the Healthy Shopper Reward program and nutrition education both at the store and at neighboring St. Joseph’s Primary Care Center–West. Purchases of healthy items at the supermarket increased by 5%.
Built Environment & Physical Activity:
- Renovated an underused, dilapidated tennis court into a box soccer court at Skiddy Park, the neighborhood’s only public park;
- Organized the Summer Fun at Skiddy Park program (which hires local youth to organize opportunities for physical activity, including a soccer clinic), a partnership with Syracuse Housing Authority for a summer softball league, a partnership with a local church and the Boys and Girls Club for a teen baseball clinic, and a movie night series;
- Completed the Skiddy Park field house, which includes community space and a neighborhood police outpost for improved safety;
- Held physical activity programs at a family center in collaboration with the YMCA for seniors, adults, and teens; and
- Worked with a local church to provide indoor organized physical activity opportunities for youth in the winter months.
- Launched “50 Events in 50 Weeks” campaign to connect neighbors and activate public outdoor and indoor spaces, with a total of 55 events; and
- Conducted a comprehensive street light inventory, which led to a total of 75 street lights repaired by the City of Syracuse and National Grid.
- Nojaim Bros. Supermarket
- St. Joseph’s Primary Care Center-West
- Syracuse University
- Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Syracuse Housing Authority
- City of Syracuse Parks Department
- City of Syracuse Police Department
- Peacemaking Project