SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Some members of New York’s congressional delegation aren’t happy with Syracuse’s decision to spend pandemic relief money on a mural celebrating local basketball legends.
Republican Reps. John Katko and Claudia Tenney said the money should instead be spent on those in need, Syracuse.com reported.
Katko said he supports the mural but not with taxpayer money, calling it “irresponsible and misguided.” Tenney said the $75,000 being spent “is not targeted Covid relief.”
Syracuse’s Common Council approved the measure last week as one of the first projects to arise from the city's $123 million in federal pandemic relief aid from the coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress in March. Both Katko and Tenney voted against the relief bill.
The mural would include Earl Lloyd Jr., the first Black player in the NBA; Manny Breland, the first Black recipient of a basketball scholarship to Syracuse University; WNBA star Breanna Stewart, a child sexual abuse survivor who fights for gender equity, and NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, considered one of the greatest Jewish basketball players of all time.
Mayor Ben Walsh said he planned to approve the money for the mural, though he added he had reservations about potentially sending a message to other arts organizations that the mural project is being handled differently than other projects, Syracuse.com reported.