commons playground

The Commons Playground, still closed during a dreary afternoon last week.

ITHACA -- After almost three full years, the playground on the Commons is finally reopening as the construction on the adjacent Harold’s Square project nears its end.

“Our understanding, assuming everything continues going the way it’s been going, is the Harold’s Square project will be opening within the next 30 days,” Downtown Ithaca Alliance Executive Director Gary Ferguson said. “They still have some interior work, but the building will be ready for occupancy.”

The fences around the playground are expected to come down within the next week or two, Ferguson said, after which the benches in that area will be repaired. From there, the playground will be open for kids to enjoy once again.

When Ithaca moved into Phase 4 of reopening at the end of June, city playgrounds reopened with daily sanitizing procedures in place. 

The construction on Harold’s Square began in 2017 and has continued with some inconsistency over the past three years. At the beginning of 2019 work came to a halt for a month due to a contract dispute between developers L Enterprises and construction firm Taylor, the Builders. 

Local firm LeChase took over and construction picked back up, but was slowed again early this year after the pandemic hit. Work was forced to stop for another month, and then could only return in late April with a limited crew. 

The completed building has more than 47,000 sq. ft. of subdividable office and retail space, and 78 housing units. The apartments will range from 350 sq. ft. studios to 1,100 sq. ft. two bedroom/two bathroom units.

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