Back in 2010, not long after Ben started working for the City, I ran into some codes issues with The Gear Factory which resulted in the City shutting us down. Just like that, all my income was gone and I didn't know where to turn. Ben immediately stepped up to serve as an intermediary and help me work through the process. Ben had my back because he believed in what we were doing with arts, music and entrepreneurship to help build up our community. Fast forward to today and it’s amazing to see how far the Gear Factory has come.
Another example of Ben's creative leadership came this past winter when he declared in a video he made with his daughters that, as Mayor, he would make sledding legal and safe in the City of Syracuse. It may seem silly, but to me it represents Ben’s capacity to break away from stubborn norms that have held Syracuse back. We are the snowiest big city in the country and we should embrace it. We're constantly reminded of the decades of population and job loss we've experienced for decades, yet seldom have we been open to the real change needed to help revive our great city.
For too long, we’ve held on to the mindsets and policies that keep us down. I know Ben will change that by creating opportunity for all and by bringing about the change necessary to create a city that is lively, successful and - perhaps most importantly - happy.
Rick Destito is the owner of the Gear Factory. He lives on Otisco Street, on the Westside of Syracuse. Rick’s alma mater, SUNY Canton, labeled him “Syracuse’s Renaissance Man” in an alumni spotlight article.