It only took one shoe flying towards Mayor Carolyn Peterson last spring to alert the Common Council that City Hall safety needs more careful attention.
Council members made repeated mention of taking “preventative measures” yesterday as they voted six to one in favor of hiring a security company to guard the entryways to City Hall. In a discussion that was extended into an off-the-record “executive session,” alderpersons debated the merits of contracting out security for a trial period extending until the end of March.
The 2009 Collegetown Urban Plan and Conceptual Design Guidelines, a document containing specific master planning recommendations for the neighborhood bearing its name, has, after a years-long process, earned the endorsement of the Common Council. The plan, originally created by Goody Clancy Consultants, has undergone changes and revisions as residents and student constituencies have butted heads over the future development of Collegetown.
Collegetown, encompassing the City’s most densely populated and highly valued concentration of real estate, has seen dramatic change during the past twenty years, most of it without the benefit of an overarching vision and detailed plan. Over the course of the past two-and-a-half years, however, dozens of Ithaca residents have participated in coordinated efforts toward the realization of this neighborhood as “an outstanding urban environment,” according to the Collegetown Vision Statement.
The Collegetown Vision Implementation Committee, in its final meeting before an indefinite hiatus, has begun to conclude a master plan that has been a year in the making. Since the moratorium on Collegetown construction went into effect last year to enable consultants to formulate the Collegetown Master Plan, the CVIC — under the direction of Mary Tomlan ’71 (D-3rd Ward) and Svante Myrick ’09 (D-4th Ward) — has been hard at work guiding the planning process.
The result is a master plan that will likely steer the future development of Collegetown. Residents hope that it will improve issues of pedestrian transportation, add mixed-use developments, provide for student parking and open up public spaces.
The Collegetown Vision Implementation Committee has gotten used to thinking about the future. At its meeting yesterday in the basement of St. Luke’s Church, the group went over a draft of potential ideas for the Collegetown Master Plan that consulting firm Goody Clancy had prepared.
Following their last visit to Cornell at the beginning of March, the consultants drew up specific recommendations for the neighborhood that were separated by region in order to work within the atmosphere of each.
One suggestion that spurred much discussion among those in attendance was the idea to turn the area near the corner of Dryden Ave. and Linden Ave. into primarily graduate student housing.
Last night in Ithaca City Hall, the Common Council voted to approve the sale of a 2,140-square-foot plot of city land to Long Island developer Jeffrey Rimland of Ithaca Properties, LLC. The plot on the corner of Green St. and Aurora St., in addition to adjacent land the developer already owns, will be the site of a $17 million, 102-room hotel that will be leased by a chain.
The Common Council’s vote followed that of the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency, which unanimously approved the sale on Feb. 28.[img_assist|nid=29465|title=Making requests|desc=Audrey Cooper petitioned the Common Council for uniform wages on behalf of the GIAC Board yesterday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Though some may see Collegetown as no more than a rundown neighborhood, the planning consultants who spent the last three days at Cornell have a more optimistic vision for it. This weekend, phrases like “mix-use development,” “pedestrian circulation” and “urban environment” floated around the basement of St. Luke’s Church more frequently than snowstorms in Ithaca.
Residents of Collegetown may be glad to know that a facelift for the neighborhood is in the works. Four consultants from Goody Clancy Architects have spent an intensive two days meeting with students, permanent residents of Collegetown, merchants, property owners, Cornell administrators, trustees and the City of Ithaca planning officials. Their visit — the initial phase of a process that will continue through October — was arranged to gather the community’s ideas for the neighborhood.
Last Wednesday, the Ithaca Common Council voted in favor of a resolution urging federal and state officials to support a federal tax on carbon emissions. According to Sylvester Johnson ’71, a coordinator involved in drafting the resolution, the motion was the first mark of support for the initiative from local governments across the nation.
The Council voted 9-0-1 in favor of the resolution, which supports imposing a federal tax on carbon emissions as an alternative to implementing a national cap on carbon emissions.
The Sun sat down with Gayraud Townsend ’05, whose four-year term as a member of the Ithaca Common Council (D-4th Ward) ended last December. Townsend, who was elected during his junior year at Cornell, reflected on the accomplishments of his term, his continuing hopes for Collegetown and advice for students looking to follow in his footsteps. The Sun: What accomplishment are you most proud of?