March 15, 2001

Cuomo Arrives for Ithaca Visit Today

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This afternoon, Andrew Cuomo — just weeks removed from his announcement that he would run for Governor of New York — becomes reacquainted with the City as the guest of honor at a waterfront development celebration hosted by Mayor Alan J. Cohen ’81 and the owners of The Boatyard Grill.

The Boatyard Grill opened with assistance from low interest loans and grants made available to cities, such as Ithaca, through Cuomo’s work as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Canal Corridor Initiative (CCI).

“[Cuomo] and his office were helpful in terms of our obtaining a portion of finances for both environmental clean up and development,” said Stephen Flash, an owner of The Boatyard Grill.

“It’s part and parcel of his plan for the whole canal initiative, [and it is] coming to life in Ithaca,” Flash said, noting that his group had been planning the opening of the new Ithaca restaurant for approximately five years.

The Boatyard Grill opened for business on Jan. 31, but the official ribbon cutting will take place today with Cuomo in attendance to see the conclusion of his planning as well. Cuomo conceived CCI as venture to bring together a coalition of local supporters for economic growth and development.

“Generally the community has been behind us, if not 100 percent than 99 percent,” Flash said.

Cuomo’s visit, his first since leaving his cabinet post in Washington, has not been widely publicized or linked to an official campaign. According to Cornell officials, the former HUD secretary has not arranged any formal meetings with the University either.

Stephen Johnson, the assistant vice president for government affairs, said that the University would welcome a request from Cuomo to discuss issues that are pertinent to Cornell and to the State, as it has for candidates seeking public office in the past.

Last summer, Cornell hosted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) while she toured the State exploring a potential candidacy for the Senate seat that she eventually won. The University also invited Rick Lazio, Clinton’s senatorial opponent, to explore its business and technology park.

Johnson said that any forum would be a constructive opportunity for local constituents to meet a visiting candidate, and like in the past, any formal event would be open to the public.

As Cuomo tours Ithaca today, officially as a private citizen, several members of the local community and representatives of the University will be on hand to greet him.

“I think Andrew Cuomo was really personally devoted to this project because of his interest and knowledge of upstate New York,” said Prof. Susan Christopherson, city and regional planning.

Archived article by Sun Staff