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.

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.

Summary of 7/13 INHS/Brenner community meeting

Here’s my take on the project changes in the 7/13 presentation, compared to what was presented in May.


May: units segregated by type
7/13: units more mixed up; not completely random but more so

Market rate lots

Note: this part of the development is all assumptions. People buy a lot and build what they want to build.

May: 10 lots, 24 +/- units.  Then 10 lots, 15 units (for example, 5 single-family, 5 duplexes).
7/13: 8 lots, 15 units (for example, 1 single-family, 7 duplexes; or could be simply 8 single family houses).

Affordable for-sale townhomes

May: 7-8 lots, 15-17 units
– 7/13: 5 lots, 11 units

– 7/13: Projected maximum incomes were shown:
These (up to $105K for family of 6) are higher than in the FAQ on the website, which said typically $30,000 – $65,000 a year.

Affordable rentals

– May: 47-51. No info on split between 1/2/3 bedroom.  All buildings appeared to be 2-story, not clear whether all units would be 2-story.
7/13: 47.  1/3 of rentals are one-story patio homes, suitable for seniors.

7/13: Rent numbers have increased vs their website FAQ, and now include utility estimates. The income ranges are the same as in the FAQ on their website.

Nursery school

May: No nursery school
7/13: Includes space for nonprofit Trumansburg Community Nursery School plus parking (currently in Presbyterian chapel on Main St).  2016-17 enrollment: 36 children. Goal is to expand offerings: extended hours, additional space for more kids, expand offerings (play groups, drop-in care, parenting classes).

Wetlands and drainage

May: No wetlands identified
7/13: Wetlands marked on map and no development there (reduced number of for-sale lots).  Arrows on site plan showing direction of surface water flow, and drainage ponds.


May: No traffic information.
– 7/13: Mentioned traffic study on South St, found road could handle additional traffic. Will be doing additional traffic research.

They are now planning to submit their plan to the Planning Board mid-August. As always, let me know any questions.

Nancy Tubbs