Save the Ida Benderson Center

“[It] would suggest too clearly that the government of Syracuse is hampered by a deplorable sense of apathy”

–Bruce Benderson, son of Ida Benderson, on closing the senior center that bears his mother’s name.

The Ida Benderson Senior Center (205 S. Salina) for 36 years has been a popular gathering place for low-income seniors. Participants frequent the Center for meals, recreation and socializing. Some participants volunteer to help out around the Center. Several are employed there as well. At a gift shop at the Center, participants sell handicrafts and art they have made.

One day a few weeks ago, the City’s Parks and Recreation Commissioner walked into the Center and announced that it was going to be closed. Center users were not consulted. The Common Council was not consulted. Syracuse residents were not consulted.

Now we’re fighting back. To get involved, watch our blog for the latest news, or e-mail solidaritycny@yahoo.com for more information.

About 50 users of the Ida Benderson Center attended a Tuesday, September 6 hearing of the Syracuse Common Council Parks and Recreation Committee and spoke passionately against the plan to close the Center put forward by Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration.

They delivered a petition with 247 signatures urging Mayor Miner to keep the Center open. The petition was ignored.

Council members expressed outrage at the Miner administration’s lack of consultation, needs assessment, or consideration of alternate locations for the Center.

Parks & Rec Commissioner Muhammed argued, unpersuasively, that the seniors who use Ida Benderson will be better served at the Salvation Army’s adult day program. However, when asked, Commissioner Muhammed admitted that his Department had not assessed the needs or desires of Ida Benderson users.

The Ida Benderson Center is slated to be closed October 1.

Let Mayor Miner know you care about the Ida Benderson Center by calling her office, 315.448.8005, and e-mailing her Mayor@ci.syracuse.ny.us.

  • Friends of the Ida Benderson Center, a group launched by the Benderson family to solicit community skills and resources in support of the Center: www.idabenderson.org.
  • Hand-written Statement from Concerned Citizen Found on Bench in front of Ida Benderson
  • Article about Press Conference in Support of Ida Benderson; and Another
  • Statement in Post-Standard from Ten Common Council Members in Support of the Center
  • Press Release about Mayor Miner’s Visit to Ida Benderson
  • Songs to Save the Ida Benderson Center (lyrics; audio)
  • Syracuse Common Council Supports Ida Benderson Center
  • Open Letter from Councilman Patrick Hogan about lack of transparency
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the Closure
  • Article about Community Life at Ida Benderson Center
  • Extended Obituary of Ida Benderson from Post-Standard
  • Open Letter to Mayor Miner from Bruce Benderson
  • Letter to the Editor by Bruce Benderson
  • Post-Standard coverage of 9/7 Council Meeting
  • Channel 9 coverage of 9/6 Parks & Rec Committee Meeting
  • Letters to the Editor in Support of Ida Benderson Center
  • Initial Post-Standard article about closure, from 8/19
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