Editor’s Note: The following was written by Ithaca resident Lynne Jackier in response to an Ithaca Voice article published last week, “Alderperson criticizes new Commons: ‘There’s very little to do there.’”

Submit guest columns to jstein@ithacavoice.com.

[do_widget id= text-55 ]

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Commons – its name describes its value and purpose to our city. It is a central gathering place, not just an economic center. It is where we meet for entertainment dining and shopping, but it is much more. This weekend’s #blacklivesmatter march and teach-in began there.

Groups and organizations have historically brought displays there to share information or do a bake sale. Young people go with their friends when they are finally old enough for a bit of autonomy and perhaps looking to find something new for their wardrobe at the recycled clothing store Trader K (much better and more affordable than going to the mall).

Meetings take place in Autumn Leaves or, when the weather is nice, in the open air. Food is available for most tastes a d budgets. And art, yoga, music…my optometrist has his office there. The list goes on.

I’ve never understood the lack of understanding about how central the Commons is to our city’s identity and character.

A second response

Editor’s Note: The following — a separate response to the same story — was written by local resident Russell Maines and republished here with his permission.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cynthia has a point, to some extent. I would have supported doing the Commons differently — one lane of traffic that can be closed to vehicles at night or on weekends, like Church Street in Burlington or Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz. And some things are downright annoying, like the misplaced, unnecessary and expensive signs at the east and west ends.

But hey, I think they mostly did a satisfactory job. I think her criticisms aren’t helpful: it’s a gathering place. Revenue production isn’t its reason for existing.

[do_widget id= text-61 ]

Jeff Stein

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