Syracuse neighbors want park they paid $800 for

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SYRACUSE -- Neighbors in Syracuse called KSL 5 News to complain that they've been charged hundreds of dollars for a city park that has never been built. They were charged the city standard of $800 in taxes to go toward city parks and other amenities, but this neighborhood has been waiting for their park for over three years.

Property owners in the Ranchettes West neighborhood don't like looking at the empty piece of city property at 2200 South and Doral Drive.

"We just feel like we have been being singled out," said property owner Dennis Johnson.

When they bought property in the area and built their homes, they were told a park would be built there and were charged about $800 to pay for it. That was years ago, and still nothing.

"We've had a few neighbors concerned about non-responsiveness of city regarding the park," Johnson said.

So, KSL 5 News went to the city and talked to the community planner. G.J. Lavonty says it's a simply that the city has run out of money to develop any more parks.

"This particular land isn't being targeted," LaVonty said. "It's basically a deficit in park's funds.

He says every Syracuse residents who buys land is charged a fee to maintain city-owned land and parks.

"That's a standard fee, and that's not just Syracuse City. That's in every city in the state," LaVonty said.

And with the down economy, no one is buying land and building homes, so there's not money coming in. The money that is in the general fund has been allocated elsewhere. Johnson and his neighbors don't like that.

"We all pay our taxes like anyone else, and we feel like the money's being distributed for fancy amenities and parks," Johnson said.

So, when will the land in Johnson's neighborhood be turned into a park as promised? It depends on the economy.

"When new housing starts to pick up again, we fully expect that that fund will be replenished and we can start a schedule of finishing these parks," LaVonty said.

Thought the city doesn't have a schedule for the park's completion, LaVonty says it will get built eventually because it's part of the city's master plan.


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