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More on helping the Chippewa district

There is another significant way that the city can do more to help the healthy growth of the Chippewa district. I called the head of Syracuse's downtown management group Thursday, to ask how Syracuse's Armory Square evolved into the mixed-use distict that Chippewa aspires to be. I did not hear back from her until after today's column deadline, but I thought that what she said was significant.

Merike Treir, head of Downtown Syracuse (the equivalent of our Buffalo Place), told me by phone that the city took steps to limit the number of bars in Armory Square about 10 years ago.

"We had a problem with too many bars popping up, so [the city] put a moratorium on the number of alcohol establishments that could open," said Treir. "Any time a bar is looking to open, it has to go in front of the planning commission and there is a public hearing."

To my mind, it is a classic case of government using its power to shape development in a way that benefits the community. It would be nice if Byron Brown were similarly pro-active — although I'm not holding my breath. Putting up roadblocks to less-desirable businesses is, to my mind, a role that in certain cases City Hall ought to play.

—Donn Esmonde

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