SUNY Canton Graduate to Discuss Urban Renewal During Sustainability Lecture Series

SUNY Canton graduate Richard A. Destito will speak about 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. This event is free and open to the public.

Rick Destito

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 Tech: Management at SUNY Canton.

Rick Destito

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.

The Sustainability Lecture Series was designed to accelerate awareness of environmental, economic and social concerns through presentations and interactive demonstrations. The series will continue with other environmental experts throughout the spring. For additional information, visit:

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier College for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The College delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management, and public service to students in the North Country, New York State, and beyond. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as eight exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The College’s 14 athletic teams compete in state-of-the-art facilities as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.

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