SUNY Canton graduate to discuss improving a poor Syracuse neighborhood on Wednesday
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 11:28 am

CANTON -- SUNY Canton graduate Richard A. Destito will discuss how he has taken his skills and used them to improve one of the poorest neighborhoods in Syracuse as part of the College's Sustainability Lecture Series.

Destito will speak at 6 p.m. April 16 in Nevaldine North, Room 102. Admission is free.

In 2005, Destito purchased an abandoned manufacturing building in the Near Westside neighborhood of Syracuse and named it The Gear Factory. His dream was to refurbish the property and rent the spaces to artists and musicians.

Through hard work, dedication and perseverance, Destito has been able to sustainably rehabilitate portions of the building, most notably adding a green roof. His free-flowing spaces encourage interaction and are leased to musicians, screen printers, painters, sculptors, and graphic designers.

Along with his success at The Gear Factory, Destito is leading the crusade to revitalize one of the poorest neighborhoods in Syracuse. He purchased a rundown house for a dollar and has completely remodeled it using the skills he learned while earning his associate degree in Construction Technology: Management at SUNY Canton.

Destito's efforts are not going unnoticed. They have caught the attention of many local legislators and the media. The New York Times ran a feature story applauding his dreams, and New York State awarded him $680,000 in grants for more improvements to The Gear Factory.

During his lecture, Destito will explain his entrepreneurial strategies and how the local economy is involved in the process. His story of never giving up, even when faced with tough challenges, is how he hopes to inspire others.

"The things we care about have to become more important than the things we're afraid of," he said.