Officials in Syracuse recently came to their senses by opting not to allocate federal funds for a downtown art project.
The Syracuse Common Council voted 6-3 on May 10 to spend $75,000 on a mural depicting four legendary basketball players affiliated with Syracuse: Manny Breland, Earl Lloyd Jr., Dolph Schayes and Breanna Stewart. The city will receive $123 million through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.
The funds are supposed to be used to help Americans and municipal governments recover from the financial losses they sustained as a result of the novel coronavirus. Congress approved $1.9 trillion in the act.
A mural of these basketball legends is certainly a worthy project, and we hope organizers raise the necessary funds to complete it. But using coronavirus relief money for it would not be appropriate.
While supporting the idea for the mural, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh vetoed the measure passed by the Common Council. Members of the council did not have enough votes to override Walsh’s veto, so the $75,000 will be redirected toward a more fitting use.
We commend Walsh and other city officials who viewed this plan as an abuse of the privilege of receiving vital federal funding. Syracuse has other pressing needs, and the money should go toward helping residents get back on their feet. It’s good that some in authority recognized this and were willing to stand by their principles.