ITHACA, N.Y. — The plaques are installed. Trolley Circle is almost finished. The pavers are complete on the 200 block.
Nobody’s hanging a “Mission Accomplished” banner just yet. But things are clearly moving in the right direction as the Ithaca Commons construction project moves toward completion, says Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
“Every day we see new progress. This is the part of the project we’ve been waiting for, where there’s change happening all the time,” Ferguson said. “And it’s really nice to see that.”
The Commons construction project has come in over-budget and was delayed months and months after it initial deadline. Many businesses saw declines in sales, leading to significant and sustained criticism of the city’s handling of the Commons reconstruction.
Ithaca officials announced in March that they were aiming for “substantial completion” of the project by August 2015 — and they say they’re on pace to meet the new, albeit delayed, deadline.
Here are 7 signs of progress on the new Ithaca Commons:
1 — The 200 block
The pavers on the 200 block of the Ithaca Commons are “100 percent complete,” according to the blog providing updates about the project.
The area is completely walkable and area residents have been sitting at the new tables and chairs during lunchtime.
2 — Gateway Structure installed
The Commons “gateway structure” is complete, though the “bases will need to be protected from the public until the final work to complete the new bump-out is done,” according to the blog site.
Trolley Circle is open for pedestrian access and the pavers on that section of the Commons have been completed.
The blog site adds that the trolley tracks will be etched in granite: “The granite pavers that create the circle are 6″ x 12″ and the granite pavers in the middle are 8″x 18” and weigh about 45 lbs each.”
4 — Bank Alley
Bank Alley is substantially done, with the pavers on the street — from Center Ithaca to Seneca Street — finished for several months and the planters now also filled and complete.
See an Ithaca Voice editorial from April about that section of the Commons.
5 — Child of Ithaca returns!
“The Child of Ithaca Sculpture,” a mainstay of the original Ithaca Commons, is back in town.
She’s taken up residence near Exscape.
Here’s a photo of her catching from sun from Ithaca Voice Advertising Director Mike Blaney:
6 — Commemorative plaques
Several commemorative plaques from the old Commons were kept for re-installation in the new Commons, the blog says.
Those include the plaques for the The Bernie Milton and Commons Dedication.
7 — The Bernie Milton Pavilion
The pavers have been done for some time underneath the new Bernie Milton Pavilion. This week, crews are expected to finish painting the exposed steel welds, according to the blog site.
The pavilion’s glass roof will then be put in place in mid-July, according to the contractors.