April 14, 2009

Tomlan Will Not Seek New Term

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After a six-year tenure on the City of Ithaca Common Council, Mary Tomlan ’71 (D-3rd Ward) announced Saturday that she will not seek another term this fall.
Tomlan noted in a press release that city planning, the implementation of housing fund initiatives between Tompkins County and the University, collaboration with other municipalities and private entities and dealing with budgetary concerns in the current economy are some of the most pressing issues facing her successor.
According to her press release, Tomlan holds “great appreciation” for her constituents’ commitment to civic issues and their “participation in community dialogue.”
“We are surely elected to serve our immediate constituents — those who vote in our wards, but we must always be mindful of the greater interests of the city as a whole,” Tomlan stated in a press release.
During her time on the Ithaca Common Council, Tomlan chaired the Planning & Economic Development Committee during her first five years and then continued to serve on that committee for the duration of her tenure. She also worked on the Collegetown Vision Task Force and the Collegetown Vision Implementation Committee, among others.
Though the future of Collegetown development is as of yet undetermined, Tomlan believes change is on the horizon.
“I think that there will be new development[s] in Collegetown both of student housing and perhaps of some other types of buildings,” Tomlan said.
According to Tomlan, the Collegetown Vision Task Force wants to see a “diversity of uses and functions” in future development.
Tomlan also cited that Collegetown’s “steady base of users” was important to the economic sustainability of housing development and retail in the area.
Those who worked alongside Tomlan attested to the hard work and dedication that she put forth as a member of the council.
“I think she’s one of thehardest working Common Council members that I’ve ever known,” said John Schroeder ’74, chair of the Planning and Development Board and The Sun’s Production Manager. “She’s worked tirelessly for the city of Ithaca and for her own ward.”
Svante Myrick ’09 agreed.
“She works very hard. She’s probably one of the hardest working members of the council,” Myrick said.
“She’s been a fantastic council person,” Myrick said. “She personally taught me a lot. She was very open to sitting down with me and showing me the ropes.”
According to Myrick, Tomlan will be missed. “I have been on [the] council for six years and it does take a good deal of time,” Tomlan said. “I had been very active in neighborhood matters [as a civic volunteer] for 11 years. I guess I’d like to take a little bit of a break from city life at this point.”
Tomlan plans to return to work as an architectural and urban historian, engaging in consulting work and devoting time to the completion of her manuscript on Ithaca architect William H. Miller, who was Cornell University’s first architecture student. Neither Tomlan nor Myrick know of any solid contenders for Tomlan’s seat.
According to Tomlan, part of the reason for the press release was to alert interested community members of the vacant council seat.
“I think it’s important to have a functionality in terms of how the city works and how the various boards and committees fit together,” Tomlan said. “I feel very strongly about having candidates who have some experience in the city.”
Tomlan expressed interest in endorsing a candidate when election campaigns develop further.
“If I can [make an endorsement] I certainly will,” she said. “It’s still my ward and I still live here, and I would like representation that will be fair and reasonable.”