About the Updowntowners

The UpdownTowners of Syracuse, Inc. is an organization comprised of individuals concerned with promoting the social and cultural growth of downtown Syracuse. While many Updowntowners are downtown business people, this is not a requirement for membership.

The common bond between all Updowntowners is their desire to make downtown Syracuse a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and shop as well as conducive for entertainment, educational, and cultural activities.

In 1980, members of Syracuse’s Downtown Committee visited Cincinnati, Ohio and were introduced to the Cincinnati Updowntowners. They found them to be an exciting group of volunteers actively involved in the enrichment of their downtown. The Syracusans brought the concept of volunteer participation back home and presented it to a group of young professionals already interested in community involvement.

The UpdownTowners of Syracuse, of about 20 strong, held their first meeting in May of 1980, appointed an executive board and continued to meet in different downtown locations. By January 1981, membership had more than doubled and the group had already participated in several community events. Formal By-laws were drafted and approved that month. The first election of officers was held the following month and the University Club was set as the regular meeting place.

Two years later membership was up to 200 and the huge University Club meeting room was beginning to look small. By mid 1984, the group was nearing 300 and the University Club became impossible. In January 1985, the Updowntowners moved the regular meeting place to the concourse at the Landmark Theater. In January 1990, the meeting place moved to the old Knights of Columbus building at 321 North Clinton Street. The meetings were well attended but did not offer the glamour of the Landmark. The Updowntowners were now close to 400 members. The meetings were returned to the Landmark Theater in October 1990.

Several new and important changes have taken place within the UpdownTowners. The UpdownTowners were incorporated in 1984 as UpdownTowners of Syracuse, Inc. A formal Funds Distribution Policy was enacted in 1986 and the UDT became tax exempt as a 501(C)4 in 1989.

During the ’90s, the UpdownTowners have been instrumental in helping several new and existing ventures get a start, including: Armory Square, Arts-N-Crafts Barbeque, Candlelight Theater, Festival of Trees, Hanover Square, Jazzfest, Jingle Bell Run, Mountain Goat Run, Sammy’s, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Winterfest and the Walk of Stars. Because of all these successful events, we began to establish sponsorship programs. Please see our sponsorship information here. In 2000, several events expanded throughout Syracuse. Winterfest expanded, and June Jam and Swinging in the Square were added. The extensive list of events and impact of lifestyle by the UpdownTowners in Syracuse has enabled us to establish sponsorships for our events.

We formally distribute income from UpdownTowner events to other local non-profit and charity organizations to promote events & activities in Syracuse. Our Funds are distributed yearly in a “lottery” format and go toward helping individuals, groups and organizations in the Syracuse Community.

SOME OF THE FUNDS DISTRIBUTION RECIPIENTS

 

  • American Red Cross
  • Chadwick Residence Inc
  • Downtown Consortium @ Everson Museum
  • Exploring Your World (Presbyterian Church)
  • Friends of Israel Scouts
  • Jenna Foundation
  • Kidney Foundation
  • MOST- Museum of Science and Technology
  • NYS Rhythm & Blues Festival
  • Sierra Club – Iroquois Group
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • Syracuse Winterfest
  • Teddy Bear Care Center
  • United Way of CNY – Hamilton White House
  • Vera House Foundation Inc.
  • YMCA of Greater Syracuse
  • 1980 D. Jeffrey Gosch (appointed pro-term March to December)
  • 1981-82 D. Jeffrey Gosch
  • 1983-84 Margo Deland
  • 1985-86 William A. Cooper
  • 1987-88 D. Jeffrey Gosch
  • 1989-90 William A. Cooper
  • 1991-92 John M. Hyde, III
  • 1993-94 Paula Deckman
  • 1995-96 William A. Cooper
  • 1997-98 Sherry Sunday
  • 1999-00 Kip Hunter
  • 2001-02 William A. Cooper
  • 2003-04 William A. Cooper
  • 2005-06 David Lepinske
  • 2007 David Lepinske
  • 2008 Don Goulet
  • 2009-10 William A. Cooper
  • 2011-12 William A. Cooper
  • 2013-14 William A. Cooper