ITHACA, N.Y. — The fences, the noises, the machinery; if you’ve walked through the Ithaca Commons anytime since the beginning of September, you’ve probably had flashbacks to Ithaca’s dark days of years-long construction.
But fear not! The $466,000 granite fountain going in is the last of the Ithaca Commons construction, said JoAnn Cornish, Director of Planning and Economic Development.
“Actually, we’re really happy that we were able to build the fountain,” she said.
Since the fountain was delayed last year, the dirt surface by the Bernie Milton Pavilion has been occupied by tables, chairs and the occasional small mobile bookshelf.
During that time, the fate of the fountain was not always certain.
Cornish said the $15 million Commons construction was a huge project that saw many delays and people coming and going into different roles. So as the construction wrapped up, it was unclear exactly how much money was left for the originally planned nearly $700,000 fountain.
“We had to basically take it on and balance the books, so to speak,” she said.
Working with the Commons design firm Sasaki Associates and the updated budget for the piece, a new fountain was planned to fit in the space.
“It’s a smaller version of what was originally proposed by Sasaki,” Cornish said, though some features, such as lighting and a large planter, were cut from the design. Using less granite for the fountain, which the planter was supposed to be made out of, was the key to cutting costs.
She said the construction is scheduled to be done by the end of the year.
“And then we really will be done and we can sort of settle into the Commons…It’s really a great feeling,” she said. “It’s sort of the crown jewel of the Commons and we’re committed.”
Featured image by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice