September 7, 2007

Cornell Pitches In to Improve Collegetown

Print More

The city of Ithaca contributed $75,000 to an urban design study at the Ithaca Common Council meeting Wednesday evening, the first time the city has donated funds to the Collegetown area in a number of years. Cornell collaborated with the city by agreeing to match the donation — dollar for dollar — totaling $150,000 towards the improvement of Collegetown.
The newest resolution is the latest step in what has been an ongoing process to study and recommend improvements for the future development of Collegetown as outlined by the Collegetown Vision Statement, which was presented to the Common Council in February 2006. The statement described how the community envisioned Collegetown in 20 years. The council also established a task force to help manage the project.
The Collegetown Vision Statement was composed in part by David Gelinas ’07 (D-4th Ward). According to Gelinas, the resolution for funding came before the council as a whole Wednesday night, and Cornell “generously offered” to match the city’s contribution. The funding will be used to hire an urban design consulting firm to study Collegetown, draft a plan and make recommendations.
The study will focus on zoning laws, the utilization of existing public space, traffic patterns, transportation and circulation issues as well as the area as a whole.
Gelinas explained that ultimately, the recommendations of the Urban Design Study would be incorporated into laws and garner more funding for infrastructure changes, such as widening sidewalks or lessening the number of parking meters.
“These are simple things that when added all together really create and define Collegetown,” Gelinas said.
Simeon Moss, director of the Cornell Press Relations Office, confirmed Cornell’s financial commitment to the project.
“I think Cornell certainly realizes they have vested interest in Collegetown and have expressed desire to improve town-gown relations,” Gelinas said.
He attested to previous efforts of Common Council members to request similar funding, noting that only recently has there been success. He attributed the success to a renewed attempt to make a financial commitment to improving Collegetown.
“This is really the first step in a very long project — it will require further funding and collaboration with Cornell,” Gelinas said. “I think the fact that counsel and the mayor have already financially supported the start of this process is a strong indication that they will continue to support this project.”