New York City’s 1,700 parks have placards with the classic circled leaf. The 180 New York State parks have rustic brown signs with yellow lettering. What design represents the City of Ithaca’s 22 parks? Right now, there isn’t one.
But the city is one step closer to establishing a parks logo of its own with the help of its city forester, the chair of the Parks Commission and a couple of Ithaca College students.
The Board of Public Works on Monday afternoon approved a proposed logo for the City of Ithaca Parks, sending the design to Common Council for final approval on Oct. 4.
The logo, which was jointly designed by Emily Delnicki ’18 and Brett Levine ’19, two Ithaca College students, shows the leaf of a bur oak, which is a tree that is native to the Ithaca area and “is also tolerant of a wide range of conditions, even urban environments,” said Ellen Leventry ’95, the chair of the Parks Commission.
Three bur oak trees provide shade for picnic tables outside of City Hall, next to the Green Street parking garage, and City Forester Jeanne Grace ’10 is hoping a unified logo will let people know that some of Ithaca’s more obscure parks are open to the public.
“A logo is something I’d wanted for a long time,” Grace said, noting that she was inspired by the New York City parks department’s iconic leaf. She hopes signs in every park will make people aware of the city’s work preserving and maintaining its parks.
When people see the logo, Grace said, they will know “it’s a public space and that you can be there and you can enjoy it for no cost.”
Grace said she looks forward to printing the logo on shirts, apparel and other items for employees of the Parks Department and displaying it with pride.
Leventry said the city works with and appreciates several groups, such as the Friends of Stewart Park, that help maintain the parks, but that the various groups can create confusion about who owns the parks. Leventry and others want to remind people, with the new logo, that the parks are city-owned, paid for by taxpayers and open to all.
“Right now, every park looks slightly different in terms of signage,” Leventry, who is also director of marketing and communication for the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, told The Sun.
Some visitors do not realize when they are in a city park, Leventry said, and so she asked Prof. Mike Mooney at Ithaca College to solicit logo ideas from a marketing class he teaches.
The Parks Commission combined Delnicki and Levine’s submissions — using one student’s text design and the other’s leaf design — to create the final product.
The bur oak leaf, Leventry said, is “the right leaf to represent Ithaca.”