One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
-Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man”
Nothing like a little Wallace Stevens to kick off your January. We have some new faces on Common Council. On New Year’s Eve we held our “changing of the guard” meeting, where we welcome in new members of Common Council and say goodbye to departing ones.
It was a fun evening, but also a little bittersweet. The Ithaca Journal has some nice coverage. Yes, the Red Solo cup was declared the official drinking vessel of Ithaca in honor of Ellen McCollister, and yes, JR Clairborne did receive no less than 2 shot glasses as parting gifts (totally unplanned by the way, whatever the Ithaca Journal article might imply).
We also swore in the Mayor, as well as returning Alderpersons George McGonigal (1st ward), Steve Smith (4th ward), and Josephine Martell (5th ward). After saying goodbye to outgoing Council members JR Clairborne (2nd ward) and Ellen McCollister (3rd ward) we welcomed new Council members Ducson Nguyen (2nd ward) and Rob Gaerhart (3rd ward).
And we have a new 2nd ward rep! Ducson Nguyen has already hit the ground running. We’re looking forward to working together in 2016.
RECEPTION FOR JR CLAIRBORNE
My departing Council colleague, JR Clairborne, will be honored at an upcoming reception. JR has represented the 2nd ward, including the Northside and Southside neighborhoods, on Common Council for 10 years. Please stop by the GIAC second floor teen lounge on Monday, January 25th between 5 and 7pm to say a collective “thank you” to JR for his many years of service. Light refreshments will be served. Sponsored by the Community Leaders of Color (CLOC).
NEW 2ND WARD WEBSITE
Our new 2nd ward rep, Ducson Nguyen, hasn’t wasted any time getting to work. We now have a brand new 2nd ward website. Duc and I will be posting things on the website from time to time. If you’re so inclined, you can also follow us on Facebook (Ducson, me) or Twitter (Ducson, me). We post updates there too pretty regularly.
210 HANCOCK MEETING
Want to get the latest on the 210 Hancock project? Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services is hosting a community meeting to discuss the redevelopment of the former Neighborhood Pride site. They’ll be available to answer questions and discuss the construction schedule. The meeting will be held on Monday, February 1st at 6:30pm in the Quaker Meeting House, 120 Third Street. Hope to see you there!
CASCADILLA CREEKWAY PROJECT
You know the little avenue that runs between North Aurora and North Cayuga streets along Cascadilla Creek? It’s a popular spot for pedestrians, and it’s in need of an upgrade. Here’s a great overview written by Ducson. The plan is to replace the footbridge and railings, preserve the creek wall, and put in some pedestrian enhancements. There are a few different options for design. Please look over the options and send comments to Addisu Gebre, our city bridge engineer, by January 31st at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHANGES TO EXTERIOR PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ORDINANCE
At our Planning committee last Wednesday, we voted to send some changes to our External Property Maintenance Ordinance on to Common Council. You can learn more about that effort here (look, I’m using the website!). And if you haven’t done so yet, please do sign up for the city’s email notification system.
COMMUNITY INCENTIVE INVESTMENT TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM (CIITAP)
For some time now, we’ve been working on a reform of the city’s tax abatement policy. Ducson has the latest, on the website.
STATE STREET TRIANGLE PROJECT
It’s back. The State Street Triangle Project, which caused a lot of controversy when it was introduced last summer, will be heading back to the Planning Board for review. But this time, a shorter, more-scaled back version.
OLD LIBRARY PROJECT
Another project in the 2nd ward up for review: the redevelopment of the Old Library. Next Tuesday, January 26th at 5:30pm in Council Chambers, the Planning Board and the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a joint meeting to discuss the project. (The reason the ILPC is involved is because the project is located in the Dewitt Park Historic District). The Ithaca Journal has the latest. This year, I’m Common Council liaison to the ILPC so I’m sure I’ll have more to report on this in the months ahead!
HOTEL ITHACA CONSTRUCTION
Just a heads up if you are someone who uses the Hotel Ithaca parking lot as a pedestrian shortcut. This is the parking lot that runs between Hotel Ithaca and McGraw House. Very soon, the parking lot will be closed to the public when Hotel Ithaca begins construction on its planned expansion, for at least a year and most likely longer, like 18 months. So basically for the next 18 months or so, the neighborhood will need to walk around the block and will not be able to cut through to downtown using this walkway.
That’s about it for January folks. Until next month,