Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that this was a public meeting in which the The Albany Street Homeowners Association and members of the Fall Creek Neighborhood Association spoke. In fact, they were only mentioned by Chairman Lane, and it was not an official public meeting.

Ithaca, N.Y. — A Tompkins County committee held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss plans for a new development at the old Tompkins County Library site at 310-314 N. Cayuga Street.

Six separate proposals are being considered for the site.

One of six proposals for the old library site. A public meeting was held to discuss the proposals Wednesday night.

Related: 5 questions that answers the main questions about development at Tompkins County’s Old Library; see all six proposals

Marcia Lynch, the county’s public information officer, released the following information about the meeting:

The special legislative committee charged with reviewing expressions of interest to redevelop the site of the Old Tompkins County Library is continuing to listen to the interests of those concerned about the future of the site at the corner of Cayuga and Court Streets, within the DeWitt Park Historic District. The committee will recommend to the Legislature which of the six submissions received should advance to the next stage and be invited to respond to a formal Request for Proposals.

At Wednesday’s meeting Chair Mike Lane shared with the committee a letter received from the Board of Directors of Historic Ithaca, suggesting elements that should be incorporated to make a project compatible with the historic district.  Mr. Lane said he has also heard from the Albany Street Homeowners Association, members of the Fall Creek Neighborhood Association, and also from those concerned about the need for housing for individuals with mental health disabilities.  

Mr. Lane said he would like the committee to hear from those with concerns and suggestions about the project, and as discussion progressed, there was talk of scheduling a public input session next month.  

Those speaking to the committee today included owners of the DeWitt Park Inn, next door to the Old Library property—Tom Seaney saying he hoped a project would be chosen based on how it affects the community and not for the maximum impact on the tax base, expressing some concern about statements made by City officials before the committee last month.  North Geneva Street resident Mark Lawrence, expressed concern about parking and traffic, and potential effects on neighborhood character, and the desire neighbors have to be engaged in conversations about these issues.

 Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne noted that the County is being careful and deliberate in its process, and wants to be as involved as possible in determining the types of proposals that will be considered in the next phase.

County Office for the Aging Director Lisa Holmes also presented the committee with copies of the Senior Housing Preferences Survey recently conducted by her department.  Chair Lane said he especially noted the proportion of respondents who anticipated moving into senior housing.

The special committee will recommend to the Tompkins County Legislature which of the six submissions should advance to the next stage of the review process.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.