October 7, 2014

EDITORIAL: End the Commons Construction Delays

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Last week, the City of Ithaca announced that the construction on the Ithaca Commons was delayed again and is now slated to be completed in 2015, almost a year-and-a-half behind its original schedule. Although the 200 block of E. State St. and Bank Alley will be paved by the years end, the 100 block on the west end of the Commons will remain unpaved and incomplete. We at The Sun believe that construction has gone on for too long, and it is time for the city to finish up the Common’s construction so that patrons can enjoy the area without obstruction, and so that business owners — who claim they have been negatively affected by the delays — and the local economy can recover.

In May 2013, the city marked the beginning of the Commons redesign project, which required five years of planning and multiple sources of funding before it could begin. However, last semester, the city announced that amid budgetary restrictions, the project for the Commons was pushed back to and was to be slated to be completed this fall. In May, the city underwent general cost-cutting for the project in order to try and complete it. Another setback came this fall, when the project’s end date was pushed back again to spring 2015. In addition to the disadvantages of the delay on residents who enjoy the Commons recreationally, The Sun previously reported that that local downtown businesses have been seeing negative effects from the construction on the Common.

Originally, the construction’s purpose was to restore and upgrade the downtown area.  Restoration included creating even and safe surfaces to walk on, fixing the leaky water main to support an automatic sprinkler system, establishing a refurbished telecommunication system and creating a more efficient TCAT bus loop, The Sun previously reported. Overall, the changes to the Commons seemed like positive changes for the city, but have become a nuisance in the last 17 months.

We at The Sun believe that it is time for the city to step up and finish this over-budget and lingering project so that the Commons can be completed, helping both residents and local businesses.