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who we serve

Our Community – the New 15th Ward

The community we serve is located in the heart of Syracuse. It’s home to _____ (describe the people), many small businesses, schools, community centers, and more. A couple things we’re especially proud of:


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Map of the area served by Blueprint 15

The neighborhood boundary

The community we serve is located in the heart of Syracuse. Sometimes referred to as the East Adams neighborhood or the 15th Ward, its bounded by 81 to the east, East Colvin St. to the south, and South Salina St. to the west, and East Adams St. to the north.

The neighborhood sits at the
crossroads of business and residential developments in the downtown area and large institutions such as Syracuse University, Upstate Medical University, and
various hospitals.

Past, present, and future

History of the neighborhood

As Syracuse’s African-American population increased during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, widespread discrimination led to an almost exclusive concentration of African-Americans in the areas immediately east and south of downtown. By 1950, almost 90% of African-Americans in Syracuse lived in the 15th Ward.

After the completion of an elevated highway running through the heart of the neighborhood, three-quarters of its residents were displaced. Over the past 20 years, the 15th Ward has seen a wave of immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa.

Current challenges

Today, the neighborhood faces challenges resulting from a combination of urban renewal mistakes, environmental justice violations, and adverse public policy. A significant portion of the 15th Ward’s housing stock is public housing — some of the oldest in the country —
where most of the neighborhood’s approximately 3,000 residents live in poverty.

How Blueprint 15 began

In 2018, City of Syracuse leaders focused on economic and community development were in search of strategies to accelerate progress. They wanted to systematically replicate smaller, promising efforts and, ultimately, to disrupt poverty at scale.

After learning about the Purpose Built model, community leaders invited Purpose Built leadership to visit and assess several Syracuse neighborhoods. The following year,
Blueprint 15 officially joined the Purpose Built Network to quarterback a focused revitalization of the East Adams/15th Ward neighborhood.