Ithaca, N.Y. — As the weather warms, construction crews are preparing to go back to work on the still unfinished Ithaca Commons.

The 21st Century Library Campaign – Tompkins County Public Library

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They plan to continue setting the foundations for gateway arches on either end of the Commons six days from now, Monday, March 16.

The foundation for the eastern gateway arch was set this fall; now, crews will move to set the foundation for the western arch. (The steel for the arches isn’t expected to be ready until early May.)

Crews are optimistic that by April they’ll be able to return to the paving work that was cut short by an unusually cold November and December.

“I’m just really excited,” says Michael Kuo, the project manager. “There’s going to be appreciable change pretty rapidly throughout the spring.”

Construction delays on the Commons have turned into something of a joke for Ithaca residents.

Local officials have blamed the Simeon’s crash, complications from NYSEG, overly optimistic deadlines and poor weather as contributing factors in pushing back the completion date from its original summer 2014 estimate.

The project also comes in several million dollars over initial budget estimates.

Kuo said he is hoping to have the Commons in a much better state in time for both Ithaca Festival and the graduation ceremonies at the colleges.

“We’ll be trying our best to get as much done as possible,” he said.

Kuo added that he believes by August 2015 there will just be “some finishing touches” left.

“By the time the kids come back to school, hopefully I won’t be here any more,” he said.

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Jeff Stein

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