At his State of the City address on Thursday night, Mayor Ben Walsh revealed plans to tackle gun violence, housing inequities and sustainable growth.

He focused on five key topics that he said would contribute to his theme of the night: “next level growth.”

Walsh hit on preparing youth, building thriving neighborhoods, making traveling in the city safer and more accessible, solidifying infrastructure and making city government sustainable.

The mayor gave his speech at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Corcoran High School. During the speech, he touted renovations that have happened at Corcoran and other schools in the district.

The mayor’s most heralded moment of the night came when he addressed a lawsuit that has so far stopped the teardown of Interstate 81.

The lawsuit, brought in the fall of 2021 by a group called Renew 81 for All, challenged the environmental review that cleared the way for I-81’s teardown. It has delayed on-the-ground work, though the state can still award contracts.

Renew 81 for All includes Onondaga County Legislator Charles Garland, former Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler and a group of suburban politicians.

Walsh called for the litigation to come to an end.

He drew standing applause from a good portion of the crowd in attendance.

“Let ‘em hear you,” Walsh said.

The applause and cheers stopped just a few seconds later.

“It’s only $2.25 billion and thousands of jobs on the line,” Walsh said. “Crazy.”

Check back with later today for more coverage of Walsh’s proposals.


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Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or