The Gift of ideas: Where do we go from here?

by Ed Griffin, Owner Fleet Feet Sports SYRACUSE

Look around our community, there is a lot of cool stuff going on. New buildings, renovated old buildings, and Elevating Erie, a design contest that sought ideas to bring life to the Erie Canal, much of which sits under 6 lanes of asphalt highway between DeWitt and Syracuse. The competition sought ideas for a 4.1 mile section of the Erie Canal that is now covered by Erie Boulevard.

Panelists Ed Griffin, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Syracuse, and Melissa K. Fierke, associate professor, SUNY ESF Forest Entomology and advisor for the ESF Bike Safety Commission,  at the Elevating Erie exhibition opening.

Panelists Ed Griffin, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Syracuse, and Melissa K. Fierke, associate professor, SUNY ESF Forest Entomology and advisor for the ESF Bike Safety Commission,  at the Elevating Erie exhibition opening.

I was fortunate to be one of many judges for this competition that looked at opportunities to bring life back to the thing that breathed life into all of Upstate New York back in 1825. Design firms, engineering students, members of our own community, and others from around the world submitted designs addressing four components of the corridor: The BRIDGE: access to the canal at Butternut in DeWitt; Widewaters (BRANCH): which is the intersection of the old Erie Canal and Erie Boulevard (right near Fleet Feet Sports); and the BLOCK: which represents the wide grassy median of Erie Boulevard in Syracuse; as well as ideas that address the whole corridor (BLVD).

As a local business and property owner located within this corridor, I found that the ideas and submissions were amazing. I encourage other property owners, neighbors, and recreational enthusiasts to take note and make sure to check out the ideas now on display at the Erie Canal Museum in Downtown Syracuse (http://eriecanalmuseum.org/). The public can also weigh in on the project through a survey platform, giving the local community a voice in how the corridor will be improved.

From my perspective as the owner of Fleet Feet Sports,  we have been given a great gift in all of the ideas that came out of the Elevating Erie competition. It is now time to determine how we utilize these ideas. In the end we will all be rewarded with increased recreational opportunities, better transportation options, increased business , higher property values and most importantly, a higher quality of life.

In Syracuse, the Canalway Trail has an entry point in DeWitt heading east and an entry point in Camillus heading west with a roughly 14-mile gap between them. Arguably the most challenging section of that gap, and the area with the most opportunity, is the segment of Erie Boulevard East. The big question being asked right now is “how can we close the gap in our community?” As a project stakeholder, I invite you to help us chart a course for the future of the corridor! Take the survey, view the exhibit, tell your friends, and let’s keep the conversation going.

#closethegap #elevatingerie #whatsyourbigidea

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Ed Griffin is co-owner of Fleet Feet Syracuse, Inc. with his wife Ellen Griffin.

Founded in DeWitt in December 1999, Fleet Feet Sports-Syracuse quickly became a leader in the specialty running industry by introducing many marketing, employee development and financial management tools and concepts to the industry.

Fleet Feet Sports has been named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America 10 years in a row by Formula Four Media and Competitor Magazine and in 2012 was recognized as the Best Running Store in America out of 1,200 stores in the industry and CenterState CEO Business of the Year.

Ed is President of the Mountain Goat Run Foundation, Inc., which operates the Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run and a partner in Upstate Events Management, which operate the Syracuse Half Marathon.

Through Fleet Feet Sports, Ed is involved in assisting many local charities and has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for community based non-profit organizations.

Prior to Fleet Feet Sports, Ed worked in management for two high growth companies in the communications industry and also spent 10 years in the radio industry as a broadcaster.