Victory

Vote against the new proposed design for the Old Library

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We, the undersigned, strongly urge the Ithaca Landmark Preservation Commission (ILPC) to reject this latest Holt/Travis proposal; the ILPC should direct the developer to devise a more workable solution. This neighborhood needs an aesthetically compatible building, green space, and adequate parking. The economic motivation of the developers must not be allowed to outweigh the neighbors’ wish to maintain the integrity of Ithaca’s oldest neighborhood and oldest historic district.

The proposed building appears institutional and generic, and does not harmonize with its nearby buildings or enhance the site; its size and scale still dwarf its surroundings. This design does not respect or reflect the essence of a historic district and does not appear residential. The dated, contemporary exterior design is more reminiscent of commercial architecture, it lacks the detailing and stateliness of what one would find in the heart of the Dewitt Park Historic District (DPHD).

We respect this historic district and many of us have been interested in its preservation, having worked hard to preserve the neighborhood’s aesthetics by our involvement during the selection process with the Tompkins County Legislature and during the ILPC design reviews. We remain vitally interested in protecting the look and feel of the DPHD. We consider our investment in time and energy to be commensurate with the importance of this decision, since this building will become a legacy we bequeath to those who come after us.

Parking: parking should not be located on N. Cayuga Street.  It is difficult to enter into the traffic stream at many times of day, and have already been near misses with pedestrians and vehicles. It is also not appropriate or compatible to have a parking lot in the view of Dewitt Park.

Ten parking spaces: completely inadequate to serve needs of the potential 90+ residents residing in the proposed building. Where will their friends, family, and caretakers park? How will residents be dropped off in inclement weather, or the mobility-impaired manage at any time? This lack of parking will result in too much competition for parking in the neighborhood which will cause hardship on the existing neighbors & businesses.

Removal of retaining wall: will damage the aesthetics of the landscaped & natural area behind the Dewitt Park Inn. The removal the ten foot-wide section from this garden that has, for half a century, graced the yard of the 1821 Dewitt Park Inn, one of Ithaca’s oldest and most significant structures, is simply unacceptable.

Parking Lot: the sloped-roof parking structure that is proposed suggests a rudimentary carport that would be inappropriate next to the historic property at 308 North Cayuga Street and in the view of the neighborhood.

Building Design: the exterior design seems dated, more reminiscent of institutional architecture, it lacks elegance, grace, and character. The window styling & placement fail at creating attractive detailing on the exterior. The large windows proposed would potentially cause disruptive light pollution in a quiet neighborhood. The aluminum parapet does not reflect the quality of materials desired in a historic neighborhood. The placement of materials on the exterior also creates a strip-like effect that is not pleasing.

Although we appreciate the improvements HOLT/Travis has made to the new design by incorporating suggestions from last ILPC meeting, we believe that the problems solved on the Court St. side have created more problems on the South side of the building. We understand that a contemporary building design can work in a historic neighborhood but, unfortunately, after three attempts by the developer, we have yet to see one. We ask that this design be rejected by the ILPC.



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