The Center of Collegetown

If you are a matriculating university student that’s interested in getting to know your town before donning the graduation gown, the Collegetown Neighborhood Council is a body that exists for students, faculty, and residents to talk over the issues that arise when students and townspeople live side by side. 

The Collegetown Neighborhood Council, or CNC for short, “is an informal setting” where topics like “landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities, the city’s noise ordinance, the BEAR walk, Collegetown development plans, parking, and Slope Day and Senior Week plans” have been discussed recently, according to CNC co-chair Jim Hedlund, a resident of the Belle Sherman neighborhood on the south slope of East Hill. 

The new student might find such topics to be important, particularly after moving out of the dormitories into private housing. In recent months, the city has passed a more stringent noise ordinance and dealt with landlord complaints about ticketing for trash left out at the wrong hours—tickets that often get passed onto the tenant: that's you. 

Parking pricing and policies are changing, generally for the more restrictive, as the city tries to encourage more students to choose to leave their parents' Audi wagons and Land Rovers at home, and walk, bike, or take the TCAT buses. 

The second BEAR Walk—that is, “Being Engaged and Responsible” Walk—will happen on Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the 400 block of College Avenue, with free ice cream provided. Students and officials will stroll the neighborhood and knock on some doors to say hello. So go say hello, or if your door is knocked on by a police officer during those hours, don't be too alarmed. 

If you have strong opinions about urban architecture and planning, Collegetown—and city meetings—are a fine place to give and take some opinions. The Collegetown you see now, with Collegetown Terrace and the other towering buildings and the construction, is not very much like the Collegetown of a few years ago. Developers are seeing the potential of new student housing and retail space near ever-expanding Cornell; a GreenStar market is slated to open in Collegetown next year in the ground floor of a student housing development; a new business building is under construction on Dryden Road; and it's likely more projects will come before the city soon. Ithaca is a place where, if you have a passionate and committed opinion and actually show up to meetings, of the CNC or the city, officials will take your expressed concerns seriously. 

CNC has been together for more than a quarter-century, and includes everyone from students to landlords, Collegetown businesses to Cornell and Ithaca police, along with city officials. You might catch 28-year-old Mayor Svante Myrick (Cornell '09 and East Hill resident) at a CNC meeting when he's in town. 

The first CNC meeting of the fall will be on Sept. 29, from 4:30 to 5:30 pm, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, right next to the Collegetown Bagels at 109 Oak Avenue. (Students can also find quiet study time in a wi-fi capable space at St. Luke's at the end of each semester – watch the Times Table for a schedule). Attendees of this year's first CNC meeting will hear about Collegetown development plans from JoAnn Cornish, the city's director of planning, and Cornell university planner Leslie Schill will talk about the university's intentions for enrollment and development. Meetings are held monthly each semester. Contact Susan Riley, Deputy Director of Cornell Community Relations at sfr4@cornell.eduto get announcements via the CNC email listserv.  §

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