DestiNY in Syracuse
I heard about this in a bar back home. That's right, not on the wonderful internet but in a bar littered with peanut shells. DestiNY USA is an ambitious project looking to revitalize the central New York region. DestiNY USA claims that their project will create over 100,000 new jobs, mostly in the tourism and entertainment industries, but also in clean energy and research.

If you come from central New York then you can't help but feel a tinge of hope for the region. It's a region that has been economically decimated since the 90's. At one point the Utica-Rome area was ranked by some study as the second worst metro area in the nation (behind Yuba City, California I believe). Some would blame the closure of Griffis Air Force Base in the early 90's. Others, like my dad, would blame the devil, aka Mario Cuomo, for high taxes, worker's compensation laws and environmental regulation.

The website is big on optimistic projections and flash animation, but doesn't go into much detail about the how. For instance, the flash animation describing how power will be delivered and used at the facility has a lot of points where things could fail to add up.

It's easy to hope for the best for my home region. It would also be easy to get suckered in to believing this will work. It's a very ambitious project and I don't think that many of the features that are advertised are going to end up happening, or will be delayed considerably. That doesn't mean that I don't think it's a worthy project. I think, whatever happens it will bring positive economic activity to the region. But it could also turn into a giant boondoggle (Big Dig anyone) and a further embarassment to the region.

It's hard to determine if their ambitious alternative/green energy scheme is viable. This, I heard from my "source", is the reason they are getting a lot of government funds for the project.

The upside could be tremendous though. It could reverse the brain drain from the region by bringing real growth opportunities for graduates. I never really considered the central New York region for college (besides Cornell) even with Syracuse, Hamilton and other very good schools in the region. There aren't many jobs in the area that are in high tech or fast growing fields either. So with the research and clean energy jobs that this project is projected (by the project leaders) to bring it could be the ticket to revitalization of the area as a viable economic zone (did I just say that?).

The bottom line is that the central New York region needs something. This is "something". It has the chance to be tremendous success or a horrible failure. I think cautious optimism tempered with a constructive and critical eye should be everyone's outlook towards this project and it's progress.

Here's an article on the status of the DestiNY project. The leaders of the project, Pyramid, have a lot of experience in the mall business. This project is aimed at emulating the Mall of America in Minnesota as a business area as well as a tourist attraction. So there's more to be optimistic about.
 
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