Email from INHS regarding Open Space and Playground

INHS sent the following email this morning.  Here’s a Google Map of their playground in Ithaca.

From INHS:

Thank you to all those who came out to the Planning Board meeting last Thursday. There was a very interesting idea floated by Paula Horrigan that we wanted to address regarding public open space. Paula was encouraging INHS/Claudia and the Village to have some public open space on the site.

This is a great idea and something that we have planned but may not have explained very well. Our intention is that all of the trails, sidewalks, central green, and the playground on the site are open to the public. Yes, most of these amenities will be owned and maintained by INHS in the current plan – all but the sidewalks along the public street – however, we would certainly be open to a partnership with the Village if the Village wanted to take over ownership of some of this land.

INHS has managed a playground for over 30 years on our campus at 115 West Clinton Street that is open to the public! The playground is on INHS land but anyone can enjoy it (and they do!). Most people do not know that it isn’t a public park.

We are also doing this at our new development – 210 Hancock.  INHS worked with the City of Ithaca to get the rights to develop a public pathway and playground. The pathway and playground will be on city owned land but maintained by INHS. The playground was designed by young people in the neighborhood. INHS hired a playground designer and a community organizer to meet with kids of all ages and find out what they would like in their playground. The design is a mix of organic materials, playground equipment, a half basket ball court, and lots of landscaping and benches!

This is the kind of community input that could really help shape the open space already planned at Hamilton Square. If you are interested in helping us move this idea forward please send an email to Alena Fast at and we will set up an open space/playground working group.

Letter to Ms. Brenner from Edward Errigo

By Edward Errigo

This is an opinion/letter. If you’re interested in posting one, email it to

Ms. Brenner:

As you may be aware, I am the power of attorney for the 209 Pennsylvania Avenue residence (owned by my almost 99 year old aunt) and an opponent of the original Hamilton Square housing project plan.

I attended the Thursday meeting at The Conservatory regarding the proposed Hamilton Square housing project. While, I see some positive revisions since the original proposals, I remain opposed to the overall size and design of the project. In talking with approximately 100 of my Pennsylvania Avenue, Larchmont Drive, Tamarack Lane, South Street, and Whig Street neighbors the following concerns have been raised:

  1. 47 rental units is too large of a public housing footprint for Trumansburg, especially in a high value neighborhood. Residents are concerned about public safety, especially with the documented drug addict problems, resident-to-resident confrontations, and auto break-ins at The Overlook (across from the hospital). Many residents believe that INHS will “import” residents from far beyond Tompkins County, a concern that INHS did not help allay by boasting in a recent fundraising letter of expanding services to applicants outside the county boundary. Residents believe “outsiders” may not accept Trumansburg community values or abide by village laws. Residents are also concerned that a large public housing footprint will diminish the property value of their established homes. Our current village police (no overnight patrol) and EMS services are not adequate to handle such an influx, and INHS officials did not answer the question raised at the meeting of whether they are prepared to fund additional village service needs. Clearly, 70% tax abated rental units will not meet the service needs of the proposed development. Trumansburg village and school taxes are already high; taxpayers don’t support adding to the current burden.
  2. Residents believe that 47 rentals, the proposed starter homes, and the proposed relocation of the nursery school to Hamilton Square will inundate South Street with constant traffic. With many homes close to the current pavement, widening South Street or adding a large sidewalk is not a desirable option to many affected residents. Adding a sidewalk to Pennsylvania Avenue, as was mentioned at the meeting, seems out of the question given the current drainage problems. It would require extreme expense since the first 150 feet connecting into Elm Street has the only available drainage ditches (completely full during heavy rain) on both sides of the current pavement.
  3. Residents believe that for the new development to blend with the current single family home environment surrounding the proposed development, that you should consider offering more lots (in addition to your current market sale lots) for contractor development in a style similar to Tamarack or Larchmont. One resident with some building knowledge suggested working these additional lots around the periphery of your land track, especially on the high ground facing town, and the dry areas facing Pennsylvania and bordering existing Tamarack homes. These full tax properties would contribute to the Trumansburg tax base and help pay for the additional village services that the rest of the development may require.

Not all existing resident comment is negative. Trumansburg residents are in favor of:

  1. Providing affordable housing for elderly residents, 62 and older.
  2. Providing young families with an opportunity to invest in our community through the purchase of a “starter home” or townhouse.

Here is my suggested plan to alleviate the negative concerns and incorporate the aspects that residents regard as favorable:

  1. Build and allocate 14-16 of the rental units to permanent 62+ elderly housing, similar to Juniper Manor II apartments.
  2. Reduce the unrestricted rental units to 18-20 units.
  3. Build 12 units of affordable for sale townhouses or small single homes. Blend some of the for sale townhouses into the central core of rentals. (Filling lot space around the green space that would have been occupied by the original 47 rentals)
  4. Offer at least 12 single family home lots on the site periphery to private contractors, or individuals seeking to build a custom single family residence.
  5. Rescind the offer to house the nursery school onsite; construct a smaller community center building.


  1. Building 14-16 permanently designated 62+ elderly housing units onsite would help to alleviate Trumansburg’s acute need for elderly housing and help meet INHS’s minimum 40 unit requirement. With aging baby boomers seeking smaller dwellings, the need for Trumansburg elderly housing will likely continue for the next twenty years.
  2. A smaller footprint of 18-20 unrestricted rental units will reduce public safety concerns and reduce the potential need for additional village police, EMS, snow removal personnel and vehicles. Why 18-20? When I asked surrounding residents what is the largest number of public housing rental units they would feel safe living next to, the highest number suggested was 20. (response ranged from 8-20, with most residents in the 10-16 range) Additionally, the smaller footprint would reduce traffic concerns on South Street and reduce site drainage concerns (smaller parking lot, less runoff).
  3. Building 12 units of subsidized for sale townhomes or small single family homes meets the need to provide affordable housing to young families seeking to live in Trumansburg. The 12 units would also help meet the 40 units of subsidized housing required by INHS (when combined with rentals 1&2).
  4. Offering at least 12 single family home lots for Tamarack style development would potentially add an estimated $4-4.5 million in unabated Trumansburg village tax assessment. The additional revenues could be used to fund the above mentioned services required by the Hamilton Square housing site. Occupying the periphery of your tract would create a buffer between existing homes and the proposed rental units.
  5. Rescinding the offer to house the nursery school on-site would have three benefits:
  1. Eliminate South Street traffic flow to Hamilton Square, especially during the busy morning school bus traffic time.
  2. Keep a funding source for the Presbyterian Church in these difficult times of declining members.
  3. Construct a smaller community center, saving INHS project costs.

I understand INHS will not favor the reduction in rental units; for them additional housing units equal dollars. Perhaps, the current plan can be jammed through a divided Planning Board and 75/25 village resident opposition (80/20 opposition on the affected West side of the village), but it would seem a smarter course of action is to develop a plan that has the backing of the majority of village residents and provides Trumansburg with a self-sustaining tax revenue stream for delivery of Hamilton Square services. I am certain that you would get assistance from Trumansburg community members connected to Cornell, Ithaca College, Cayuga Medical, or Ithaca law offices in marketing for sale lots to families locating to our area, if there was positive sentiment regarding the Hamilton Square project. It all depends on the legacy that you wish to leave: as the developer that worked with existing homeowners to better the future of our community or the developer who ruined the Trumansburg way of life. As a fellow Virginia Tech alumnus, I urge you to consider the former.


Edward A. Errigo

Development name possibilities

Some alternate names for Hamilton Square:

To be fair to all the paper denominations

$1- Washington Sq.  (taken), $2-  Jefferson Sq. ( maybe phony like a $3 bill), $5- Lincoln Sq. ( not the Park ), of course $10- Hamilton Sq., $20- Jackson Sq. (not the Heights ), $50- Grant Sq. ( not the Tomb), $100- Franklin Sq, ( not the town on Long Island ). Getting a bit more obscure but still valid possibilities; $500- McKinley Sq. ( portrait before assassination ), $1000- Cleveland Sq. ( not the Ave. in Ithaca ), $5000- Madison Sq. ( not the Garden), $10000- Chase Sq. ( not the bank, maybe the bank? ), $100000- Wilson Sq. ( not the volleyball in Castaway ).

Another  line of possibilities, Tony Award  Best Musical Winners

“Hamilton” Sq.   Rumor has it is that this may be the real reason for the name,   “Cabaret” Commons, “Cats” Crossings,   “The Wiz” Waysides, “Titanic” Town Houses, “Les Miz”
Meander,   “Hairspray” Homes,  “Annie” Acres,   “The Producers” Park Lands, “Spamalot” Lots for Sale,   “Kinky Boots” Bottom, (too risque? ), “Rent” Rentals.  These are just a few of the many Broadway connected offerings. Please feel free to add if you’d like.

Describing the characteristics of the terrain should also be included in the spin of the wheel .

Soggy Bottom Acres, Mudville Meadows, Village in the Village, Cat Tail Corners, South  Pennsylvania Crossroads, Brenner’s Bayou ( nothing personal, but hard to resist ), Traffic Trails, Little Venice/ Gondoliers Gardens, Boggy Brook, Runoff Run, Density Dell, Trumansburg Neighborhood Housing,  and any others you may think

These are some musings on a rainy day and are  not meant to be too caustic. You may be able to tell which position I’m leaning towards, but I think everyone should try to think of a name that can express their feelings, please keep it light..This may be too edgy for some, not edgy enough for others. I thought a lighter take on things may help ease some tensions, and remind ourselves that we’re all Bozos on this bus. If any one would like to add to this it could be a fun way to come together a little more.  Maybe a vote for a favorite or new combinations or contributions can give us a chuckle or two.

Dispatched From Dogpatch

INHS email: meetings, listening sessions, open house, and concerns

Below is an email sent today from Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, the affordable housing developer for the Hamilton Square project.


We’d like to announce several upcoming opportunities for participation. First, a big thank you to everyone who attended the July 13th community meeting – we were impressed with the turnout! For those who couldn’t attend, we compiled the questions and comments from the Q & A session into several themes, which can be found further down in this message.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, July 27:
We will attend the Planning Board meeting and provide a “sketch plan” presentation. This is merely to update the Board on where we are in our process and how we’re addressing concerns – the presentation will be roughly the same as that given at the July 13th community meeting. The Planning Board meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall.

Tuesday, August 8:
Attend a listening session! We heard requests for more listening sessions with evening time slots, so here’s your opportunity for a 30 minute small group conversation with Claudia Brenner and INHS. These sessions are for those who were unable to attend our first set of sessions in early July. Sessions will be from 4:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Village Hall. SIGN UP HERE, or email Alena Fast / call her at 607-277-4500 ext 236. Couples: please sign up as two people to avoid us inadvertently having larger groups.

Thursday, August 17:
Attend our third community meeting! This meeting will focus on traffic, with a presentation including Steve Ferranti of traffic engineering firm SRF & Associates, followed by a Q & A session. The meeting will be from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts.

Saturday, August 19:
Attend an open house at our newest development in downtown Ithaca! You will have the opportunity to tour two new for-sale townhomes located at 206 and 208 Hancock Street (part of the larger 210 Hancock development). The open house will be from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and is only being advertised to Trumansburg residents.

Thursday, August 24:
We will appear before the Planning Board to present a revised subdivision sketch plan. This is our first official step in what will be a several month-long Planning Board process with several opportunities for public comment. For more information on the process, talk with Matt Johnston, Village Planner.

What We Heard at the July 13th Community Meeting:

Traffic: Residents are concerned that Hamilton Square will increase the volume of traffic along South Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Village members were also concerned about children walking to school along South Street and questioned whether additional traffic calming measures would be needed to ensure their safety.

Taxes: Some residents believe that 46 South Street, if developed as planned, will fail to realize its full tax generating potential. Others feel they need more information before they can determine whether the project will create a tax benefit or burden.

Support: A number of residents said they would like to see the project move forward and that Hamilton Square would help families and individuals currently living in the village access healthy housing.

INHS’s Role: Residents asked questions about INHS’s role in the management and maintenance of rental properties. There were additional questions about the development timeline and the land lease agreement for the Community Housing Trust.

Project Pace: Some residents stated that the development process has progressed too quickly and that they felt blindsided at the initial community meeting.

Density: Some residents expressed concern about the number of units at Hamilton Square and believe that the development is not in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan or the character of the village.