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Report of the Inlet Island Land Use Committee
Report of the
Inlet Island Land Use Committee
I I
1962
1991
Introduction.
EPORT BACI( in four months, said Common Council -
ut our work took somewhat longer to complete. The same
complex layering of history that gives Inlet Island its fasci-
nation presented us with a long series of questions, riddles and
mysteries requiring answers before planning could begin.
The list of questions rolled on:
How does the past explain Inlet Island's anomalies? How does
the Flood Control Channel easement restrict land use? Is this
easement line a property line? Or do property parcels extend
through the easement line and into the channel? When was part of
Taughannock Boulevard licensed for private use? What were the
provisions of this license? What regulations apply to the Barge Canal
property at Inlet Island's tip? What will the Route 96 project look
like? What stymied past attempts to alienate Island park land?
The long process of finding answers (and answering new ques-
tions raised by the initial answers) was sometimes frustrating - but
always intriguing.
We found, by referring to land surveys, that many previous
Inlet Island maps contain serious contradictions and errors. So we
produced con1pletely ne'v color maps (found between Pages 40 and
41) presenting the most accurate information we could find about
Inlet Island's present, and its past- before any "Island" yet existed.
The new maps are based on many sources: aerial photographs
from various years (including Cervin Robinson's marvelous aerials of
· 1933), tax parcel maps, Sanborn maps of August 1940 and March
1965, meticulously surveyed composite taking maps for the Flood
Control Channel project prepared by I(onski Engineers of Syracuse
in 1967, Route 96 project drawings from the 1988 Draft Environ-
mental Impact Statement, as well as other miscellaneous verbal and
visual sources. Each source was carefully compared to the others to
eliminate inconsistencies and inaccuracies.
Our land use proposal (limited to the area north of Buffalo
Street) emerged as the best of various alternatives. Rejected plans
provided more park land, or less, or omitted access to the tip of the
Island, or suggested relocating the Coast Guard Auxiliary dock.
We hope the Inlet Island Land Use Plan - and the answers we
found to all those questions, riddles and mysteries - will finally
allow Inlet Island to attain the exciting, beautiful potential so many
Ithacans have envisioned for so many years.
-].S., February 12, 1992
l
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
2
INLET Isi..AND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
( l
Acknowledgements.
T
HE COMMITTEE would like to thank members of the
public who attended one or more of our meetings, in-
cluding Joseph Ciaschi, Betsy Darlington, Peter and Steve
DeGraff, Doria Higgins and Scott Witham. Their comments and
advice were helpful and appreciated.
In the fall of 1989, Tom West and other members of the
Department of Public Works staked and chalked out the location of
the prospective Route 96 and Route 89 corridors on Inlet Island.
This greatly helped committee members visualize the impending
impact of the Route 96 project.
Doug Foster of the Department of Planning and Development
staffed our meetings and provided able research assistance.
Thanks are also due to the De Witt Historical Society of
Tompkins County, which kindly granted us permission to use all
three Page 13 photographs, and to the Lehigh VaHey House, which
graciously hosted several of our early sessions.
Most especially, the committee would like to express its
appreciation to U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 2-2, for a
brightly lit and spacious meeting area, for warmth on cold winter
afternoons and for the help offered to us by individual auxiliary
members. Special thanks to John Pitts and Russell C. Mott, who
served as the auxiliary's liaisons to the committee, and to auxiliary
members Bruce Murray and Arnold Albrecht, who attended many
of our meetings.
3
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMlTTEE
4
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE CoMl\UTTEE
Members of the Committee.
John Schroeder, Chairperson
Common Council
Barbara Blanchard
Common Council
Moncrief Cochran
Planning and Development Board
Phil Cox
Board of Public Works
Ann Diller
Inlet Island Resident
John Parmalee
Old Port Harbor Restaurant
Victoria Romanoff
Interim Parks Commission
John Wertis
Conservation Advisory Council
I<atherine Wolf
Consultant to Interim Parks Commission
Mark Zaharis
Pete)s Grocery Store
5
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
6
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
Table of Contents.
1 Introduction.
3 Acknowledgements.
5 Members of the Committee.
7 Table of Contents.
9 CHAPTER[:
Inlet IslandJs Historical Context.
19 CHAPTER II:
Inlet Island Today: Land Use & Ownership.
27 CHAPTER III:
The Route 96 ProjectJs Impact on Inlet Island.
3 3 CHAPTER IV:
Inlet Island Today: Problems & Opportunities.
39 CHAPTER V:
Proposed Land Use Plan for Inlet Island.
47 CHAPTER VI:
Implementation Mechanics.
51 CHAPTER VII:
Proposals for Substitute Park Land.
57 Bibliography.
59 Appendices.
(A Through D)
7
INLET IsLAND LAND Us12 CoMMITTEE
8
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
CHAPTER!:
Inlet Island)s Historical Context.
T
HE MAP OF THE INLET ISLAND VICINITY has
probably changed more dramatically over time than any
similarly-sized area in the City of Ithaca. This area has been
shaped and reshaped by some of the most powerful forces that have
transformed American cities over the past 150 years. The
establishment of canal systems, the coming and the dying of
railroads, the realignment of automobile highways, the water
rechannelization work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and
the inauguration of large new parks - all these layers of change
have left indelible traces on the external form and internal config-
uration of Inlet Island.
Yet another cycle of change is now imminent. In 1992, Inlet
Island awaits its latest transformation: the long-anticipated con-
struction of the Route 96 project, with its new road alignments and
two new bridges.
Many of Inlet Island's current land use problems and oppor-
tunities are the legacy of these successive urban transformations, and
they can only be understood properly and solved effectively in the
light of this complex history. So we begin with a brief summary of
Inlet Island's past.
Nineteenth Century Beginnings.
Understanding the mid-nineteenth century appearance of the
area corresponding to today's West End requires an active imag-
. ination, for one must erase much of one's image of today's Ithaca.
One must picture the area without the Route 13 highway, and
without the Flood Control Channel. And one must picture the land
now known as Inlet Island, not as an island, but as a contiguous
portion of all the land lying to the west of the Cayuga Inlet.
Figure 1 shows the western portion of Ithaca in 1866. To
orient oneself to this map, one must first realize that today's Esty
Street, Court Street and Cliff Street (Route 96) were then called
New Street, Mill Street and Geneva Road, respectively. Today's
State Street was called Owego Street (east of the Inlet) and Junction
Street (west of the Inlet). Finally, Taughannock Boulevard was then
known as West Port Street.
West Port Street was laid out parallel to the original course of
the Inlet, precisely sixty feet west of the water's course. Where the
Inlet's course angled or curved, so did West Port Street's right-of-
way. This contrasted with the perfectly straight rectilinear grid of
9
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
10
I. The portion of the Cayuga Inlet seen
flowing diagonally northeast to the
point catted "Steam Boat Landing" on
the 1866 map has since been filled in,
with the Inlet's waters following a new
straightened course not far to the west.
The Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment
Facility now sits atop part of the old
stream bed. The new Farmers' Market
building stands well northwest of the
former watercourse.
2. Carol U. Sisler, "The Inlet," in
Carol U. Sisler, Margaret Hobbie, and
Jane Marsh Dieckmann, editors,
Ithaca's Neighborhoods: The Rhine, The
Hill, and The Goose Pasture (DeWitt
Historical Society, Ithaca, N.Y.: 1988),
p. 128.
FIGURE 1. This is a portion of a map of
the then «village'' of Ithaca featured in
Spence Spetlcer's 1866 Headwaters of
Cayuga Lake. The depicted area corre-
sponds to today's West End - before
Route 13, before the Flood Control
Chameel, and before many other changes.
See the text for a list of some street names
that have changed over the past 125 years.
INLET IsLAND LAND U sE CoMMITTEE
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most early streets on Ithaca's flats. Because of this legacy, Taughan-
nock Boulevard curves irregularly to this day. A similarly curved
"East Port Street" once paralleled the Inlet between the water's east
edge and Fulton Street.
Oddly enough, the Cayuga Inlet segment originally sponsoring
these irregularities was soon straightened (as the 1866 map already
shows). The short-lived East Port Street had, by 1866, become a
straightened north-south right-of-way for the Delaware, Lacka-
wanna and Western Railroad.
The stretches of the Inlet today bounding Inlet Island on the
south and east flow in much the same stream bed in 1992 as the
course shown on the 1866 map. Elsewhere, the Inlet's course has
been greatly altered, most notably through 1960s construction of
the Flood Control Channel. I
As the place names indicate, the long segment of the Inlet
extending from the vicinity of East and West Port Streets up to
"Steam Boat Landing" was Ithaca's nineteenth century port. Here,
goods were exchanged from railroad to boat or barge, and from
water to rail.
Figure 2 is an 1882 bird's eye view delineated by L. R. Bur-
leigh. Steamboats ply the Inlet between West Port and Fulton
Streets. Paralleling the Inlet to the east are the Delaware, Lack a-
wanna & Western Railroad tracks, balanced on the Inlet's west by
those of the Geneva, Ithaca & Sayre (later the Lehigh Valley). One
steam locomotive heads south on the D, L & W, while another train
- apparently loaded with coal - heads north on the G, I & S.
Clustered in the vicinity are grain elevators, factory buildings,
railroad stations and residential areas. Up on West Hill, between
Elm and Chestnut Streets, stands the First Ward School with its four
corner towers.
In the stratified society of nineteenth century Ithaca, writes
Carol U. Sisler, the Inlet area was home to "those who were poor
and uneducated and often the victims of industrial expansion, hired
or fired seasonally, perhaps injured by factory work, unable to work,
or too sick to work."
2
Squatters' shanties sprang up in the marshy
areas to the northwest of the Cayuga Inlet, while a substantial
working class neighborhood of two-story gabled wood frame houses
developed in the vicinity of what is now Inlet Island. This neigh-
borhood, which would be almost cotnpletely demolished in the
1960s during the construction of the Flood Control Channel, was
located at the west end of Seneca Street, on Court Street Extension,
and along Taber Street and Floral Avenue.
Early Twentieth Century Changes.
By 1933, philanthropic individuals and organizations had
responded to the social and recreational needs of Inlet neighbor-
hood residents by establishing a multifaceted community center on
the block then bounded by Court Street Extension and Brindley,
Buffalo and Cliff Streets. The center included an inter-denomina-
tional chapel, a settlement house, a small formal park and an open
grassy playground (see Map # 1 and Figure 3). Note: Map # 1 through
Map #9 are reproduced in color between Pages 40 and 41.
This entire community center flourished on land donated by
members of the Williams family, sired by Ithaca b a n k e ~ Josiah Butler
Williams. The Williams family lived in "Cliff Park," a stone Gothic
Revival house up on West Hill, near a rivulet. This house, since torn
11
FIGURE 2. Shown here is one part of L.
R. Burleigh's 1882 aerial perspective of
the Village of Ithaca. The view loolls
northeast from an imaginary point above
West Hill. The forested lower portion of
West Hill is seen in the foreground.
Between the bottom of the hill and the
Cayuga Inlet is the area corresponding to
today's Inlet Islatld. Mill Street, West
Port Street, Geneva Street and Spe[n]cer
Street, as seen in the perspective, corre-
spond to today's Court Street, Taughan-
nock Boulevard, Cliff Street and Floral
Avenue. ]unction Street on the drarving
corresponds to the crdiagonal" westernmost
stretch of State Street that leads - today
- to and from the Octopus.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
12
FIGURE 3. In 1933 local photographer
Cervin Robinson took aerial photographs
of most of Ithaca, using a grid system. The
photos were annotated and assembled into
a one-of-a-kind book. Reproduced here is
part of photograph 36. The open area
with several irregular dirt paths (upper
right) is Williams Playground. Directly
above is Inlet Beebe Mission (T-shaped).
Left of the playground are the West Side
House and Brindley Park. Just below the
~ . V.R.R. ')caption is the Lehigh Valley
Railroad passenger station (today)s
Station Restaurant), with landscaped
areas sottth and east. The latter · lawn
features a trolley shelter on Buffalo Street.
Otz. Taughannock Boulevard, between
Seneca and Buffalo Streets, a trolley car
rolls down its tracks. Many frame houses
of the old Itt let neighborhood stand in the
photo's upper left. More homes are located
twrth a·nd northwest of Williams
Playground. Compare this photo 1vith
Map #1 and Map #3. The latter illus-
trates how the Flood Control Channel
ploughed th1·ough the area in tiJe 1960s.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
down, stood on a site near today's Chestnut Hill apartments.
The Inlet Beebe Mission ("A" on Map # 1) provided religious
training and charitable services for Inlet residents. A new, ample
brick chapel (Figure 4) had been built in 1932. It replaced a small
1882 wooden chapel that had stood across Buffalo Street on the
triangular lot where State and Buffalo Streets then met.
The West Side House ("B" on Map #1)) was a community
center modeled on the settlement houses then serving working class
and immigrant neighborhoods in large American cities. Built in
1918, this popular Tudor-style haven (Figure 5) was operated by
the Social Service League. According to former Inlet resident David
Drumheller, the West Side House featured "a complete woodshop,
. . . a kitchen for home economics, a weight room, a shower room
and a room with four pool tables and a pingpong table. "3 Offerings
included gymnastics and crafts, sewing and cooking classes, public
dances and programs, and community celebrations. Vaccinations
were given and free food was distributed to the poor.
East of the West Side House was Brindley Park, small but for-
mal, with paved walks meeting at a precise angle and a central pyra-
13
3. Simeon Moss, "The Past Regained :
A Neig[h]borhood's Small-Scale Re-
vival," The Ithaca Journal, May 14,
1986.
FIGURE 4 (lower left). The Inlet Beebe
Mission was named for Elizabeth W.
Beebe, who dedicated the last decades of
her life to serving the poor in the Inlet
neighborhood. Pictured is the new 1932
c h a p e ~ built on the fiftieth anniversary of
the original1882 chapel .
FIGURE 5 (upper right). The West Side
House, built in half-timbered style in
1918, was an anchor of the Inlet
neighborhood. Within its walls, the Social
Service League and local clubs offered
classes, programs, crafts, gymnastics,
dances and other activities for children
and adults. The West Side House was
demolished in 1967, because -like many
of the houses of the neighborhood it served
-it stood directly in the path of the new
Flood Control Channel.
FIGURE 6 (lower right). The photogra-
pher who recorded this view of the Lehigh ·
Valley passenger station around 1900
perched atop a building at the corner of
Buffalo Street and West Port Street
(Taughannock Boulevard), with the
camera pointed northwest. A trolley car
of the Ithaca Street Railway waits for
passengers at the trolley system )s west
terminus. In the left foreground is the
Lehigh Valley Housej in the right middle
ground is the station with its well·tended
gardens; and in the left background is a
long-vanished hotel that stood at the
corner of Buffalo and Brindley Streets.
(This section of Brindley Street was later
moved west) as shown on Map # 1). The
West Side House and the neJP Inlet Beebe
Mission did not yet exist.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
14
FIGURE 7. This illustration from the
March 7, 1949 Ithaca Journal (taken
from a N. Y.S. Department of Public
Works Report on Arterial Routes in the
Ithaca Urban Area) combines painted
simulation with photographic reality. The
(Ibridge" and light-colored trhighway'' in
the middle distance are artist)s
renderings of Route 96 improvements
envisioned in this report. The im-
provements were, of course, never built,
a'nd Ithaca still awaits construction of a
successor Route 96 project. The photo-
graph's forground shows the area corre-
sponding to the north half of today's Inlet
Island. (The painted trhighway," just
before it reaches the simulated «bridge,"
crosses what is now the northern tip of
Inlet Island.) Stretching successively
jt1rther back behind the trbridge» are
areas occupied in 1992 by the two college
crew houses, the Ithaca Farmers' Market,
the Newman Municipal Golf Course,
and Stewart Park and the Fuertes Bird
Sanctuary. East Hill reaches the horizon
in the far distance.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
midally roofed drinking fountain.
Water was available on each of
the fountain's four sides, so that
gangs of thirsty children could
quench their thrist four at a time.
Baseball, football and similar
group games were won and lost
on Williams Playground, just
north of the park.
By 1933, the area corre-
sponding to today's Inlet Island
was also a surprisingly sophisti-
cated transportation center.
To the north, thick masonry
retaining walls defined a large
harbor basin. This was the Barge
Canal Terminal, Ithaca's port
connection with the New York
State Barge Canal. (This was the
quite unsentimental new name
for the old Erie Canal.) The por-
tion of the Cayuga Inlet extend-
ing south from the Barge Canal
Terminal was an official segment
of the "Cayuga and Seneca
Canal," appropriated by New
York State in 1915. The official
canal designation apparently ex-
tended all the way up the Inlet
to the State Street bridge. East of
Taughannock Boulevard, numer-
ous boat houses lined the Inlet.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad
Company owned the land west
of Taughannock Boulevard and
east of Brindley Street, plus land
extending well north. Building
"G" on Map # 1 was the Lehigh
Valley passenger station ( today's Station Restaurant), and building
"H" was the freight depot. Arriving or departing passengers were
greeted on Buffalo Street with beautiful landscaping, including a
formal lawn with flagpole in front of the station ("D"), and a more
inforn1ally landscaped lawn at the Taughannock Boulevard corner
("F"). To the north were extensive railyards and utility buildings.
Figure 6 shows the passenger station around the turn of the century.
The Ithaca Street Railway provided yet another transportation
link. This was Ithaca's trolley system, and it maintained a stop ("E")
at the corner of Buffalo Street and Taughannock Boulevard. A
passenger arriving on a Lehigh Valley Railroad train could walk a
few steps to this sheltered stop, and ride the trolley downtown, or
up to East Hill or Cornell Heights, or all the way to Stewart Parle.
Map #2 shows that, by 1940, a few significant changes had
occurred in the area. To the north, the route of Taughannock
Boulevard had been altered, to allow construction of a large Lehigh
Valley railroad loop even further north, off the n1ap. (The former
loop area is today home of the Cass Park baseball fields.)
By 1940, three oil companies operated facilities ("I", "J" and
"I(") along the realigned portion of the boulevard. Five large and
four smaller tanks filled with petroleum products towered above
surrounding concrete "dikes," designed to capture any spills. All the
tanks are visible in Figure 7, an illustration from the March 7, 1949
Ithaca Journal. On this day, The Journal announced New York
State's first Route 96 improvement plan. The bridge in the photo's
middle ground is a painted simulation of a proposed Route 96 span.
The bridge, of course, was never built.4
By 1940, the trolley stop at the corner of Buffalo Street and
Taughannock Boulevard had permanently disappeared. The last
Ithaca trolley had n1ade its farewell run in 1935.
The 1960s: Inlet Island Is Created.
Another event of 1935 ultimately resulted in the creation of
Inlet Island.
That was the year Ithaca experienced its great flood, which
inundated most flat areas of the City. The flood resulted after a
massive downpour, \Vhen water from the City's south could not
flow rapidly enough north into Cayuga Lake. Instead, the water
flowed through the City's neighborhoods, flooding houses, yards
and streets with water up to four feet deep; The Inlet neighborhood
- which stood directly along the path the water wanted to flow -
was particularly hard hit.
After decades of discussion and lobbying, the federal govern-
ment finally placed an Inlet flood control project ip the Federal
Flood Control Act of 1960. Funding was not approved, though,
until1964, when work by the U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers began.
The Ithaca Flood Protection Project had three phases. First,
the mouth of the Inlet, north of its juncture with Cascadilla Creek,
was deepened and widened. The second phase included a number of
projects at the south end of the City, including a new bridge for the
Lehigh Valley railroad. Third, a realigned Flood Control Channel
was dug all the way from the southwest corner of today's Southwest
Park, north to Cascadilla Creek. This third phase created Inlet
Island.5
But this last portion of the channel was originally planned for a
very different route than the one built. The original route followed a
curving path well to the west of today's channel (Figure 8). It
would have resulted in a much larger, and very differently shaped
· Inlet Island. The first "nibble" of excavation for the original route,
before it was abandoned, is still visible on any Ithaca map. (It is due
east of the Cass Park ice rink.) A prime motivation for changing the
route to its current path was Cornell University's desire to use the
Flood Control Channel as a nearly straight three-lane 2000 meter
rowing course for its cre\v races.
As shown in dark blue dashes on Map #3, the final course of
the Flood Control Channel extended southwest from the New York
State Barge Canal Terminal, through a portion of the petroleum
tank area, through Lehigh Valley Railroad Company land, through a
cluster of houses on Court Street Extension, through Williams
Playground and the West Side House, and through the heart of the
Inlet neighborhood south of State Street. The swath of land to fall
under Permanent Flood Control Channel Easement restrictions was
even wider. 6
The State obtained control over land between the east and west
15
4. "State Offers Ithaca $3,896,000
Highway Plan" blared the banner
headline in this 1949 Ithaca Journal.
The "Plan" referred to was the N.Y.S.
Department of Public Works' 1949
Report on Arterial Routes in the Ithaca
Urban Area. The State intended phased
implementation of this master plan for
Route 96 and Route 13 improvements
- but also intended work to begin "at
an early date." One article in the March
7 Journal emphasized Ithaca's helpful
attitude toward the highway planning,
noting state officials' praise for "top
cooperation" from Ithaca's press and
radio. "Funds for the improvement are
said to be available," The Journal added
confidently, "so the projects if ap-
proved, could be started immediately."
5. Ithaca's Neighborhoods, p. 136.
6. To better illustrate relationships
bewteen old and new at a time of great
change, Map #3 includes information
form various years in the 1960s. For
example, the map shows railroad tracks
throughout the 1967 Cass Park
purchase from the Lehigh Valley
Railroad Company, although by that
year many tracks were already only a
memmy.
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
16
7. The original "Cass Marina Park,"
created at the suggestion of former City
Engineer Leon Cass, was a narrow city
park along the Inlet next to the old
Municipal Airport, across the Inlet from
the Municipal Golf Course.
FIGURE 8. The original route proposed
for the Flood Control Channel is depicted
in this Apri/1963 City Planning Board
map. This map presents a development
plan for the Inlet Valley, with suggested
land uses and projected road routes,
including new Route 96 and Route 13
corridors. If the Flood Control Channel
had followed this path, Inlet Island would
have had a very different shape. Actually,
in this version, it would not have been an
«Island'' at all, but an Inlet «Peninsula.»
(Other maps showing the original
chamul route do show the resulting land
mass as an «Island," rather than a
«pe'niruula. ") The 1963 planning board
fm,ored «tight industry & research" as the
jitture land t1se for most of the new
peninm/a's interior, with «private &
commercial rect·eation" along waterfront
strips.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
Permanent Flood Control Channel Easement lines in several ways.
In most cases, private properties were purchased outright (fee
simple). But in at least two instances, private landowners were
permitted to own portions of parcels that extended inside the
permanent easement lines. In these two cases, the State purchased
only permanent easement rights over the portion of the land inside
the lines. When the City owned affected land, it retained ownership
but the State acquired permanent easement rights over the land.
This procedure applied, for example, to part of Williams Play-
ground, to various street rights-of-way, and to part of the City's
new Cass Park purchase.
The City, too, bought land in conjunction with the flood
control project. Most notable was the City's purchase of 48.6 acres
of Lehigh Valley Railroad Company land for the purpose of
dramatically expanding Cass Park? According to a December 18,
1967 agreement, this $500,000 purchase included a City con-
tribution of $250,000 and an equal amount contributed by the
federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The New York State
Conservation Department acted as the agent between the City and
the federal government.
The portion of this purchase immediately relevant to today's
Inlet Island is colored dark green on Map #3. The acquired land was
extremely irregular in shape, reflecting the curves and siding
extensions of former railroad tracks. The State acquired Permanent
Flood Control Channel Easement rights over that portion of the
purchase that lay between the east and west permanent easement
lines, but- as indicated above- the City retained ownership.
As the channel was dug, the Octopus was born. New York
State built a new bridge to carry State Street traffic over the new
channel. The bridge's location was slightly northeast of the forn1er
State Street right-of-way. The State expected the City to build a
second new bridge over the channel to reconnect Taughannock
Boulevard on 'Inlet Island with Route 89 across the channel. But the
City balked at the cost, and asked the State to include construction
of the new Route 89 bridge in its long-proposed Route 96 project.
(Yes, this was the same unbuilt Route 96 project whose first design
had been announced in the 1949 Ithaca Journal!) . The State
demurred. So the City, with State acquiescence, built Park Road, a
"temporary" park road that connected Route 89 with the new State
Street bridge.
City penny-pinching had created The Octopus.
By 1970, the Flood Control Channel was complete. It bene-
fited the City by providing flood protection and a beautiful new
waterway. But it also destroyed an entire neighborhood, along with
the community center that sustained it. The West Side House and
Beebe Community Chapel (the new name of Inlet Beebe Mission)
v1ere demolished. Most of Williams Playground was excavated and
flooded. Of some 65 private homes in the old neighborhood, about
55 were destroyed to make way for the channel. Over thirty of these
were torched in fire department training exercises.
17
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
18
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
CHAPTER II:
Inlet Island Today: Land Use & Ownership.
T
HE STORY OF LAND USE AND PROPERTY ownership
on Inlet Island is not simple. Special government regula-
tions and unusual situations abound.
The complexity derives from the area's historical role as the
nexus of interrelated highway, railroad, water transport, water
management and park systems. Over time, dramatically different city
forms were superimposed over old ones. The curvilinear tracks and
property lines of railroads were superimposed over the rectilinear
street grid of early nineteenth century Ithaca. A Barge Canal
Terminal was carved out and defined by masonry retaining walls. A
diagonal Flood Control Channel was superimposed over previous
superimpositions.
Today, Ithaca anticipates yet another layer of change: the final
arrival of the Route 96 project, with its own separate internal logic
of curving highway connections.
Maps #4 and #5 are meant to be used together. The former
illustrates 1992 Inlet Island land use, while the latter depicts 1992
property ownership.
As the maps show, the nature of land use and the nature of
ownership are not necessarily the same. There are instances where
publicly-owned land is used for private purposes, and other in-
stances where privately-owned land is used for public purposes.
Maps #4 and #5 are mostly self-explanatory. But certain
elements require further explanation:
Permanent Flood Control Channel Easement.
There has been much confusion in the past about who owns,
and ultimately controls, Inlet Island land subject to the Permanent
Flood Control Channel Easement.
The confusion is not surprising. Comparison with official land
surveys proves that Inlet Island planning and tax maps prepared
after 1970 present inaccurate or misleading information about prop-
erty lines on the Island's west side. The erroneous maps show the
Permanent Flood Control Channel Easement line as a property line,
serving as a boundary for various parcels.8 On most of Inlet Island,
this simply is not true. For the part of the Island treated in this
report, the only place where the permanent easement line follows a
parcel boundary line is along Brindley Park's west side. Elsewhere,
19
8. Maps with this incorrect notation
include those in the 1982 Final Report:
Cayuga Inlet and Island Project and
those in the 1988 N.Y.S. Route 96
project Draft Environmental Impact
Statement. Current and past maps at
the Tompkins County Assessment
Office also incorrectly depict the
easement line as a property line. Correct
information is supplied by property
deeds and by the composite taking
maps for the Ithaca Hood Protection
Project (i.e., the Flood Control
Channel project) dated February 28,
1967, surveyed by Konski Engineers of
Syracuse, N.Y.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
20
9. Mr. Carroll states the D.E.C.
position on docks upstream from the
Coast Guard Auxiliary dock in an
August 1988 letter to Mayor John
Gutenberger. Carroll writes that the
D.E.C. intends to "deny any new
applications for the placement of docks
in the relocated section of the Cayuga
Inlet [Flood Control Channel]
upstream of the Coast Guard
Auxiliary." He confirmed this opinion
recently in a phone conversation with
Doug Foster of the City's planning
department. The other information in
this paragraph comes from Foster's
conversion with Carroll.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
the easen1ent line passes thro'ttgh individual parcels (see Map #5 ).
As indicated in the previous chapter, New York State acquired
rights for the channel through three different methods:
Method One: Outright Fee Simple Purchase From Private
Landowners. On Map #5, the areas so purchased are labeled "State
of New York, D.E.C. Administration." ("D.E.C." stands for the
"Departn1ent ofEnvironmental Conservation.")
Method Two: Purchase of Permanent Easement Rights
From Private Landowners, With the Landowners Retaining
Property Ownership and Any Property Rights Not Covered by
the Easement. This procedure has led to an odd circumstance: In
places, the water of the Flood Control Channel passes over private
property. This occurs on part of one Ciaschi parcel and part of one
DeGraff parcel, as shown on Map #5.
Method Three: Acquisition of Permanent Easement Rights
From the City, With the City Retaining Property Ownership
and Any Property Rights Not Covered by the Easement.
Because of this procedure, many City-owned parcels existing prior
to the Flood Control Channel legally continue to exist "under" the
superimposed pern1anent easement lines and "under" the waters of
the channel itself.
Suppose one wished to walk along the west edge of Inlet
Island, fully within the permanent easement line, with the walk
beginning just north of the State Street bridge (at the first colored
parcel on Map #5 ). As one walked the water's edge towards Inlet
Island's northern tip, one would pass in succession over parcels
owned by the following entities:
I
• State of New York (D.E.C. administration).
• City oflthaca (Williams Playground).
• City of Ithaca (former Court Street Extension right-of-way).
• State of New York (D.E.C. administration).
• City oflthaca (Cass Park).
• Joseph Ciaschi (since this is private property, walking here
without pern1ission is trespass).
• City of Ithaca (Cass Park).
• State of New York (D.E.C. administration, with license to
Coast Guard Auxiliary).
• City of Ithaca (former Taughannock Blvd. right-of-way).
• Peter DeGraff (since this is private property, walking here
without permission is trespass).
• State of New York (D.o.T. administration, with license to
Coast Guard Auxiliary; "D .o.T" stands for the
"Department of Transportation").
The irrationality of this situation is typical of 1992 Inlet Island
property boundaries. The old boundaries reflect long-abandoned
uses, and do not correspond to the "island" shape of the land -
even though the Island has existed tor over two decades.
Appendix A presents the precise language of the Permanent
Flood Control Channel Easement, which is administered by the
N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation. The easement's
practical effect is to prohibit anything that would rise vertically from
the ground plane. The D.E.C's reasoning: Such objects or plantings
could become obstacles or snares if high water streamed down the
channel. Water obstruction would, of course, interfere with the
Flood Control Channel's primary purpose.
A ground-level paved path, though, would not be an obstacle.
It would almost certainly be permitted, upon application to the ·
D.E.C.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary maintains a removable floating dock
near the north end of the Island. D.E.C. Flood Control Engineer
Henry Carroll has ruled that that no permits for docks will be
granted south of this auxiliary dock. The auxiliary's dock floats
where the channel widens. Upstream, though, the channel is
narrower, and any docks there could obstruct free-flowing water
under high water conditions.
Mr. Carroll adds, however, that it might be possible to
establish one or more basins or lagoons on Inlet Island's interior,
with water access through what is now dry land subject to the
permanent easement?
Note: The Inlet Island map used repeatedly in the N .Y.S.
Department of Transportation's 1988 Draft Environmental Impact
Statement for the Route 96 project erroneously locates the
permanent easement line on the northern half of the Island.lO The
easement line is shown correctly on the Inlet Island Land Use
Committee's maps.
City of Ithaca Park Land.
The park land shown on Map #4 attained that status in three
different ways. The three hues of green on Map #5 distinguish these
origins.
Category A:
Officially Designated City of Ithaca Park Land,
With No Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund
Involvement.
(Medium green on Map #5).
Brindley Park and Williams Playground fit this category. Both
were donated to the City for park use more than sixty years ago.
The Brindley Park hip-roofed drinking fountain (Figure 9) still
·exists. This fountain, along with some surrounding sidewalk, is the
only extant physical remnant of the former Inlet neighborhood
community center described in Chapter I.
Augusta H. Williams, Charlotte E. Williams and Ella S.
Williams donated Williams Playground to the City on November
27, 1916. Their intent was to provide an outdoor play area for
children. Only parts of Williams Playground now remain above
water.
Augusta H. Williams deeded Brindley Park to the City on July
1, 1929, in fulfillment of an offer she had made two years earlier.
The minutes of the Board of Public Works record that on August
24, 1927 "a communication was received from Miss Augusta H.
Williams advising that she is having the comer lot at the junction of
Buffalo and Brindley Streets converted into a little Park Area to be
planted with shrubbery and the installation of an attractive drinking
fountain, asking the City to co-operate in the installation of water,
21
10. The Draft Environmental Impact
Statement maps are erroneous in two
ways in their depiction of the
Permanent Flood Control Channel
Easement line. First, towards the north
end of the Island, the easement line is
consistently shown too close to the
Flood Control Channel waters. Second,
the two places where the easement line
"juts out" in rectilinear angles should
exactly correspond to the northwest
corner of the existing concrete dike
(once enclosing four petrolewn tanks)
on the "Agway Parcel," and to the
northwest corner of the building now
used by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The
concrete dike with the four tanks can be
seen on Map #3, in the dark-green area
labeled "Leased by L.V.R.R. to
Agway." Correct information on the
easement line's location is provided by
the comprehensive 1967 Konski Engi-
neers land survey maps referred to in
Footnote 8.
FIGURE 9. The Brindley Park drinking
fountain, now out of service, still stands
to the west of the Station Restaurant.
Some of the original park sidewalk
remains, as do trees which define some of
the park's original edges. Augusta H.
Williams had the fountain built and
shrubbery planted at her own expense
before she donated the park to the City in
1929.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
22
11. At the time of the official
conveyance of Brindley Park to the
City, in July 1929, Augusta H.
Williams' Iawyer Charles H. Newman
reminded the City of its 192 7 promises.
"A-5 you know." Newman reminded
City Clerk W. 0. Kerr, "Miss Williams
has beautified this property and placed
thereon a drinking fountain for the
benefit of the public, and this
conveyance is in accordance with action
already taken by the city agreeing to
accept d1e property and maintain it as a
park. Miss Williams wishes us to state
that one of the fonts in the fountain has
been out of order and is being repaired
at her expense." Newman's letter is
preserved in the city clerk's office along
widl the Brindley Park deed.
12. Guide to the Alienation or Con-
l'trsion of Municipal Parklands (Albany,
N.Y.: Office of Parks, Recreation and
Historic Preservation, 1990), p. 8.
13. Ibid, p. 5, with additional infor-
mation fi·om Tide 49, §303, paragraph
(c) of the 1988 edition of the United
States Code.
14. Ibid, p. 3.
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE COMMITTEE
sewer and lighting, and eventually to accept title to this plot and
n1aintain the same. The improvement adding to the attractiveness
and convenience of the adjoining Williams Playground." On the
same day, the Board adopted a resolution declaring "that the
communication of Miss Williams be acknowledge[ d] and the offer
of this plot accepted with assurances of co-operation for the
necessary service, installation and maintenance, and that the Clerk
be directed to express the thanks and appreciation of the City
authorities."
In 1992, the fountain is dry, its four fonts capped, and the park
is neglected, despite the City's 1927 assurances.
11
If the City wanted to "unpark" any Category A park land, the
alienation from park status would require authorization by the New
York State legislature. The legislation could (but would not have to)
include provision of substitute park land. If substitute land were not
provided, the legislation would require the City to use the proceeds
of the land sale for capital improvements to other City parks.
12
Use of park land in Category A by the N.Y.S. Department of
Transportation for highway purposes is not considered an alienation,
and so does not require State legislative approval. However, when a
federally-funded highway "requires the use of any land in a public
park, recreation area, wildlife or waterfowl refuge or historic
property" of national, state or local significance (as determined by
supervising federal, state or local officials), the U.S. Secretary of
Transportation must "ensure that the project is undertaken only if
there is no prudent or feasible alternate and if it is designed to
minimize any harm done to such land." This process is called "4( f)
conversion" approval, because the process derives from Section 4(f)
of the federal Department ofTransportation Act of 1966.1
3
Category B: De Facto City of Ithaca Park Land,
With No Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund

(Yellow-green on Map #5 ).
Although never officially designated as park land, the a ban-
do ned Court Street Extension and Brindley Street (north of
Buffalo) have acquired de facto park status. For over twenty years,
· the dry-land portion of these rights-of-way has been an open grassy
park area, functionally indistinguishable from adjacent official park
land. According to the State's Guide to the Alienation or Con17ersion
of Municipal Parklands) dedication of land to park status does not
necessarily require a formal legislative act. Rather, "dedication can
also occur when the common, accepted use of the land is as a
park."
14
Alienation procedure for this category of park land would be
the same as for Category A. The regulations governing N.Y.S.
Department of Transportation use of this category of park land for
highway purposes would also be the same.
Category C: City of Ithaca Park Land,
Purchased With Assistance of Federal Land and Water
Conservation Fund Monies.
(Dark-green on Map #5).
The 1967 Cass Park purchase fits into this category, since it
was funded by a $250,000 grant (matched by the City) from the
federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Following is a description of how approval would be gained for
alienating and converting park land purchased with money from this
fund:
First Situation: When a New York State municipality wishes
to remove park status from land in this category, it must follow a
complicated two-stage process. First comes alienation approval, and
then comes conversion approval.
The first stage, alienation approval, occurs at the state level.
The New York State legislature must authorize alienating the land
from park use. The alienation legislation must identifY specific
substitute park land, because subsequent federal conversion approval
will require such substitute land.
The second stage, conversion approval, occurs at the federal
level. When land has been purchased with Land and Water Con-
servation Fund money, and a municipality wishes to convert the
land from public outdoor recreation use, this conversion must be
approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary may
only approve the conversion under certain circumstances. First, he
or she must determine that the conversion accords with New York
State's comprehensive statewide outdoor recreation plan. Second,
the Secretary must assure that substitute park land "of at least equal
fair market value and of reasonably equivalent usefulness and
location" will replace the old park land. This is required by Section
6(f) of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.
The process, therefore, is called "6( f) conversion" approval.
1
5
Second Situation: When the N.Y.S. Department of Trans-
portation wishes to use park land in this category, it must follow a
different procedure. If the land is to be "unparked" for highway
purposes, it is not considered an alienation, and no State legislative
approval is required. But now two, instead of one, federal
conversion approvals are needed.
One is "4(£) conversion" approval by the U.S. Secretary of
Transportation. This approval process was described earlier.
The other is "6(f) conversion" approval by the U.S. Secretary
of the Interior. This approval process, too, was described above.
If one stands at the edge of the Flood Control Channel not far
from the State Street bridge and looks due east toward the Station
Restaurant's engine, passenger cars and caboose, one surveys an
uninterrupted expanse of grassy park land (Figure 10). Though
there are no differentiating visual cues, the park land one sees
belongs in succession to Category A, Category B and Category C.
Note: Maps from the N.Y.S. D.o.T.'s Draft Environmental
Impact Staten1ent for the Route 96 project have, in the past, been
regarded as authoritative on Inlet Island park land qoundaries. In
fact, however, these maps incorrectly depict the north property line
of the portion of the 196 7 Cass Park purchase directly south of the
Coast Guard Auxiliary building.l6 The boundary is shown correctly
on the Inlet Island Land Use Committee maps.
License to Portion of Taughannock Boulevard.
On April 27, 1977, the Board of Public vVorks discontinued
"that portion of Taughannock Boulevard, being approximately the
most northerly 150 feet before its intersection with the Flood
Control Channel." On the same day, the Board unanimously agreed
to license a portion of this discontinued right-of-way to Inlet Park
Marina (a predecessor of Peter
DeGrafPs Ithaca Boating Cen-
ter). The agreement had several
conditions, including the pro-
vision that the license was "re-
vocable upon 30 days' notice by
either party to the other."
The license was granted "in
exchange for the conveyance to
the city by Inlet Park Marina of
a portion of the bed of Cas-
cadilla Street." The latter parcel
is seen on Map #3. It is the
small rectangular lot just below
the "I" of the map's "Cayuga
Inlet" label. The lot is part of
the original Cascadilla Street
23
15. Section 6(f) of the federal Land and
Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965
states in part that "No property
acquired or developed with assistance
under this section shall, without the
approval of the [U.S.] Secretary [of the
Interior], be converted to other than
public outdoor recreation uses. The
Secretary shall approve such conversion
only if he finds it to be in accord with
the then existing comprehensive state-
wide outdoor recreation plan and then
only upon such conditions as he deems
necessary to assure the substitution of
other recreation properties of at least
equal fair market value and of
reasonably equivalent usefulness and
location."
16. The fact that a boundary error
exists here in these N.Y.S. Department
ofTransportation maps is confirmed by
referring to the comprehensive 1967
Konski Engineers land survey maps
mentioned in Footnotes 8 and 10.
FIGURE 10. This photo)s ground plane
~ which extends from near the Flood
Control Channel to the Station Restau-
rant - includes three different categories
of park land.
INLET ISLAND LAND USE CoMMITTEE
24
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE COMMITTEE
right-of-way (compare Map #3 with Map #1).
The Taughannock Boulevard license has been in effect
continuously since 1977. The licensed land is labded "City of
Ithaca License to DeGrafP' on Map #5. The land is colored orange
on Map #4, since - though owned by the City- its use is private.
The minutes of the Board of Public Works describing the
granting of this license appear as Appendix B.
New York State 'Blue Line.)
The State of New York "Blue Line" indicated on Map #5 is the
western limit of the Cayuga Inlet segment appropriated by the State
in 1915 as part of the "Cayuga and Seneca Canal." As the map
shows, the Ithaca Boating Center building and nearby piers partially
encroach on this state-owned land.
However, it appears that many earlier buildings formerly on
this site extended over the "Blue Line" to a similar extent (see Maps
#1 and #2). So the State has apparently tolerated encroachment
here for over fifty years.
Land Used by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 2-2, located at the end of
Taughannock Boulevard, is an important community institution,
providing many services to the public. The services offered range
from boating safety classes to public education, and from safety
patrols to helping boaters in distress. The auxiliary is a private
volunteer organization, and its assets are owned by its own
corporation. Physical structures used by the auxiliary include its
headquarters ~ u i l d i n g ("J" on Map #4) and a floating dock ("L")
that is removed and stored elsewhere during the winter months.
A comparison of Map #4 with Map #5 shows that the Coast
Guard Auxiliary uses portions of four parcels, owned by four
different parties.
The parcel furthest south is owned by the State of New York,
under D.E.C. administration. This is one of the parcels purchased
· outright by the State during construction of the Flood Control
Channel. The D.E.C. has Hcensed the land portion of this parcel to
the auxiliary, which enjoys its exclusive use. The auxiliary head-
quarters building stands here.
Just to the north, the auxiliary uses a portion of the abandoned
Taughannock Boulevard right-of-way, owned by the City. There is
apparently no formal agreement between the City and the Coast
Guard governing the use of this land.
To the north one more step, the auxiliary uses part of a parcel
owned by Peter DeGraff. Mr. DeGraff says he enthusiastically
approves of this use.
The three areas mentioned so far are used exclusively by the
auxiliary. The auxiliaiy also has a license to use Inlet Island's tip, but
here its use is shared with the N .Y.S. Department of Transportation,
the land owner. See below.
The Tip of Inlet Island.
As shown on Map #5, the tip of Inlet Island is part of a large
area ( Jnostly covered by the waters of the Cayuga Inlet and the
Flood Control Channel) owned by the State of New York and
administered by the Department of Transportation. The State
acquired this land long ago for its Barge Canal system. The perfectly
square northeast corner of Inlet Island, with its stone retaining
walls, is a remnant of the full-scale Barge Canal Terminal that
existed before the Flood Control Channel's construction (see Maps
#1 and #3).
The Waterways Maintenance Division of the D.o.T. has
immediate jurisdiction over this whole area.
Inland Island's tip still functions as an official N.Y.S. D.o.T.
Barge Canal Terminal. Instead of serving commercial trade, as is did
earlier in the century, it now serves mainly as a temporary mooring
place for visiting boaters. The D.o.T. also uses the tip to monitor
Cayuga Lake's water level. This occurs in a very small "sentry-size"
station.
According to John Baldwin and Jamie Marino of the
Waterways Maintenance Division, the D.o.T. offers permits for use
of Barge Canal lands, with the goal of maximizing access to, and use
of, these lands. Municipalities, private landowners and even com-
mercial enterprises are all eligible to receive permits. First preference
is given to municipalities or institutions whose use of the land will
provide a "public benefit." Municipal park use or Coast Guard
Auxiliary use are examples of publically uses; permits for
such uses are free. Otherwise, preference given to the nearest
upland property owner, who pays a fee based on a percentage of the
fair market value of the land.
Dual permits may also be issued, if this benefits the public and
if the two parties applying for the simultaneous permits agree to use
the land in harmony .17
Currently the Coast Guard Auxiliary holds "Revocable Permit"
71-2-23, granting it permission to use Inlet Island's tip "to beautify
the area for use by the general public." The permit appears as
Appendix C. According to Paul A. Yonge of the N.Y.S. D.o.T., the
language describing "use by tl1e general public" does imply that
the general public now has access to the Island's tip.l8
25
17. This information comes from a
phone conversation between Mr.
Baldwin and Doug Foster of the City
planning department, and from dis-
cussion at the January 23, 1991 Inlet
Island Land Use Committee meeting,
which was attended by Mr. Matino and
other N.Y.S. D.o.T. representatives.
18. In a March 18, 1991 letter from
Paul A. Yonge, Property Management,
Region 3, N.Y.S. Department of Trans-
portation to Doria Higgins, Mr. Yonge
writes, "As we have discussed, the
reference in the permit to 'Use by the
General Public' does not confer any
right to anyone other than the Auxiliary
to determine how the area will be
used."
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
26
lNLETlsLANo LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
CHAPTER III:
The Route 96 Project)s Impact on Inlet Island.
B
YTHE LATE 1980s, the N.Y.S. Department ofTransporta-
tion was actively considering three basic alternatives (some
with optional variants) for its decades-old Route 96 im-
provement project. In a May, 1989 advisory vote, Ithaca's Common
Council told the State it preferred "Plan A With Route 89 Align-
ment." That July, the D.o.T. -citing environmental factors-
chose the related "Plan A." At the City's urging, the State soon
modified its selection to Plan A With Route 89 Alignment.
The Route 96 project has recently received necessary federal
approvals. A Final Environmental Impact Statement is now being
prepared, and the D.o.T. will seek final City okay of the project.
Then final project design and land acquisition will begin. The bull-
dozers might arrive in 1994 or 1995.
Like Map #4, Map #6 shows 1992 Inlet Island land uses- but
it depicts the impending Route 96 project as well. At project com-
pletion, the following changes will be in place. Buffalo Street, rather
than merging with State Street, will connect to Cliff Street (Route
96) via a new bridge paralleling the existing State Street bridge. Part
of what is now Park Road will become a cul-de-sac service road. A
ne\v highway right-of-way and a new bridge will connect Inlet
Island's Taughannock Boulevard with Route 89 on the west side of
the Flood Control Channel. A portion of Old Taughannock
Boulevard will remain on the Island as a dead -end street.
Map #7 depicts property, on and near Inlet Island, that the
State plans to acquire for the Route 96 project.
The State plans to use about one-third of Brindley Park as
highway right-of-way. (The drinking fountain will remain.) Since
the D.o.T. will use this land for highway purposes, it is not con-
sidered an alienation, and no State legislative approval is required.
Moreover, since Brindley Park was not funded with federal parks
money, the D.o.T. need not seek federal "6(f) conversion" approval
from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and no substitute park land
is required. Federal "4(£) conversion" approval from the U.S.
Secretary of Transportation could have been required, had the City
insisted. The State will pay the City for the Brindley Park taking.
The D.o.T. also plans to acquire about 1.1 acres of the 1967
Cass Park purchase. This land will be taken in three different places:
( 1) a small sliver near Buffalo Street; (2) an irregularly shaped area
in the middle of Inlet Island; and ( 3) another sliver near the Route
89 corridor on the west side of the channel. The State must receive
27
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
28
JHGURE 11. The City and the State have
selected this Route 96 project alternative,
called Plan A With Route 89 Alignment.
The map, from the 1988 Draft Environ-
mental Impact Statement, correctly por-
trays the neJv highway connections, but is
erroneous in other particulars. It
incorrectly labels the Permanent Flood
Control Channel Easement line as a
property tine, mislocates this line on the
north half of the Island, and also
mislocates a property line south of the
Coast Guard Auxiliary building. See
Footnotes 8 wnd 10 a1td Map #5.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
~
(/)
.2
_j 5'-
·-..._
------·--......___ _____
I I
federal "4(f) conversion" approval for these takings. Furthermore,
because of Land and Water Conservation Fund involvement, the
State must receive federal "6(f) conversion" approval, and substitute
park land must be provided. Land bordering the Flood Control
Channel in the vicinity of Southwest Park has been identified as
potential substitute land. The identified land would be a link in the
Cayuga Inlet Trail slated to connect major regional paries.
The federal government recently approved the proposed park
takings, along with the suggested substitute park land.
The State will also purchase some privately owned parcels on
and near Inlet Island. Of these, only one is located on Inlet Island
itself: a parcel owned by Joseph Ciaschi. Ciaschi's parcel will be split
awkwardly into two irregular fragments, one quite small.
In its Route 96 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the
State provided some preliminary, schematic design information
about the two proposed bridges (see Figures 11 and 12). Both new
bridges will be approached by mounded inclines. These ramps will
rise on both sides of the Flood Control Channel.
Considered only as a physical structure, the new segment of
Buffalo Street and its new bridge will have little effect on Inlet
Island. This is because the new span will so closely parallel the
existing State Street bridge.
But the new Route 89 alignment through the heart of Inlet
Island will have a profound impact on Island land use. In plan alone,
this new alignment will split the Island into halves, one south and
one north of the highway. The noise and smells of traffic will
intensity this barrier, physically and psychologically. Vistas up and
down the Island will also be obtrusively blocked. The inclined
earthen ramp leading to the new bridge will begin not far west of
today's Taughannock Boulevard. By the time it reaches the bridge,
the ramp will have risen some ten feet above ground level.
After highway construction, Inlet Island will no longer seem
like a whole, but rather like two disconnected and distant pieces -
unless significant mitigating measures are undertaken.
The new Route 89 alignment may have one additional negative
impact on the Island. Taughannock Boulevard north of its inter-
section with Buffalo Street will be widened to three traffic lanes
(including one turning lane). No on-street parking will be per-
400
380
l60
'). 00 10. 0 0 20.00
RF:LOCIITEO RT 89
400
380
360
,.
0
.J...__ _____ _.___ _____ _.___ _____ ..._ __ _____._,.o
1 .. 1 0 V[Rf IOOf- 00 1 0 ~ - t O O , , ~ .. 00
RELOCATED RT. 96
lfORIZ.
200 100 0
, ...
29
FIGURE 12. The two new bridges to
span the Flood Control Channel are
shoJPn in elevation) in preliminary design
drawings excerpted from the Draft
Environmental Impact Statement. Both
new bridges will provide a ten-foot
clearance for the Cayuga Inlet Trail
(bike and pedestrian path) on the west
side of the channel. No pedestrian
underpass) however) is provided on the
Inkt Island side under the new Route 89
bridge. Only a four- or five foot clearance .
is shown here in the drawing. However,
such an underpass could apparently be
provided in the final bridge design, by
moderately dipping the ground level
beneath the bridge and perhaps slightly
raising the bridge structure. Such a
minor dip in ground level was recently
used to extend the Cayuga Inlet Trail
under the State Street bridge.
FIGURE 13. The new Route 96 bridge
(foreground) and the new Route 89
bridge (background) above passing car)
are depicted in this combination drawing
and photograph. Many bridge details
come entirely from the artist's imagi-
nation, since the spans still await final
design.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
30
FIGURE 14. The ne1v road connections
and bridges of the pending Route 96
project are roughly sketched on an aerial
photograph of Inlet Island. Highway
construction is expected to begin in 1994
or 1995. This illustration comes from An
Analysis and Evaluation of the Octo-
pus/Route 96 Alternative Plans, a 1987
report by Planning/Environmental Re-
search Conmlta1tts.
INT.ET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
mitted. These changes could have serious adverse impacts on
adjacent Inlet Island businesses, and on the attractiveness of the
Taughannock Boulevard "entry" onto the Island.
The above information is based upon preliminary designs, so
some details may change during final design. But the preliminary
designs' fundamental premises - such as the location of the new
highway corridors or the basic premise of having earthen ramps -
will not change. They cannot change, because this would require
preparation of a new Draft Environmental Impact Statement,
putting the project back at "square one."
An artist's rendering of the two new bridges appeared in a
Visual Resources Assessment attached to the Draft Environmental
Impact Statement. This illustration - the details of which are quite
hypothetical- appears as Figure 13. A report prepared in 1987 by
Planning/Environmental Research Consultants of Ithaca includes
an aerial photo with an overlay sketch of the new highways and
bridges. This is reproduced as Figure 14. ·
Although the Route 96 project will have a serious impact on
Inlet Island, we can at least be thankful that State engineers are no
longer designing highways like they did twenty-five years ago.
Figure 15 depicts a Route 96/Route 13 project under
serious consideration in the late 1960s. The plan would have
completely obliterated Inlet Island beneath an incredibly huge
tangle of concrete highway ramps and multiple overpasses. The
main highway corridor in this astonishing plan would have plowed
right through the Station Restaurant.
31
FIGURE 15. A December 1967 drawing
shows one version of a proposed Route 96
and Route 13 interchange. The soon-to-
be-dug Flood Control CJJannel appears as
a superimposed light grey strip, while the
proposed highway lanes and ramps appear
in dark grey. This multi-level interchange
-if built- would ha11e equaled eight or
nine city blocks in size, and would have
buried today)s Inlet Island under a
tangle of concrete spaghetti. Today this
abandoned scheme seems unbelie11able
and nightmarish, but it was regarded as
a serious alternative only twenty-Jive
years ago. Note: The large railyard and
track loop north of the proposed inter-
change was owned by the Lehigh Valley
Railroad Company until 196 7, when it
was acquired by the City as part of that
year's Cass Park purchase. In 1992, the
arrangement of several baseball fields
echoes the former t·ailloop)s shape.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
32
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
CHAPTER IV:
Inlet Island Today: Problems & Opportunities.
M
ANY INLET ISLAND LAND USE problems have been
identified, both in discussions leading to the creation of
the Inlet Island Land Use Committee, and during the
committee's own deliberations.
Problems.
These are some of the leading issues needing resolution:
( 1) The N. Y.S. Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic
Preservation ("State Parks") is the agency responsible for
monitoring compliance with the requirements of the federal Land
and Water Conservation Fund. Officials of the Finger Lakes Region
of State Parks believe certain existing conditions on Inlet Island
constitute unauthorized conversions from park use.
On November 15, 1990, Andre'\v Mazzella and Robert Gonet
of State Parks wrote a letter to the City listing these alleged
conversions. They include encroachment on park land by a portion
of the Station R.estaurant, possible encroachn1ents by businesses
along Taughannock Boulevard, and the "general poor condition of
the site."
State Parks has directed the City to "remediate existing
conversions and bring the project into compliance with Land and
·· Water Conservation Fund guidelines." Required actions include
establishing park limits by survey, ceasing existing conversions,
restoring park uses, and removing facilities prohibited by federal
guidelines.
The letter frorn Mr. Mazzella and Mr. Gonet appears as
Appendix D.
(2) The current boundaries of the portion of Cass Park on
Inlet Island were rational for a railroad company operating prior to
construction of the Flood Control Channel. But these boundaries
are not the optimal demarcation between public and private land
today.
As noted previously, the current Cass Park limits are highly
irregular, reflecting the past location of railroad sidings, railroad
service buildings, and curving tracks. One conspicuous oddity is the
thin "tongue" of park land, southeast of the Station Restaurant, that
33
INLET ISLAND LAND USE CoMMITTEE
34
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
presently separates two privately-owned plots.
The Flood Control Channel has functionally separated a small
piece of Cass Park toward the north of the Island from a larger piece
to the south, though legally they remain part of the same parcel.
The smaller northerly park land piece - corresponding to the area
labeled "Leased by L.V.R.R. to Agway" on Map #3 - is often
called the "Agway Parcel," though Agway never owned it. It con-
sists of a service building; a concrete dike enclosing a weedy waste-
land where four petroleum tanks once stood; and a paved area
surrounded by a forbidding chain-link fence topped with barbed
wtre.
The "Agway Parcel" must rank as one of the unlikeliest pieces
of park land in America.
( 3) The park land on Inlet Island appears under utilized. This
may result from several factors. First, much of the park land has
never really been developed as such. Second, with the large Cass
Park on the west side of the Flood Control Channel, there may not
be a need for a large park (as opposed to a linear park) on the east
side of the channel. Third, there may not be sufficient private
development on Inlet Island to support its large stretches of park
land. Smaller, well-planned park areas, in conjunction with attractive
private development, could actually increase Island park use.
(4) Following the State's Route 96 project land acquisition,
the federally-funded park land on Inlet Island- already functionally
divided into two separate pieces (Map #4) - will be functionally
divided into four oddly-shaped separate pieces (Map #6 ). This will
make some remaining park land even less usable and less coherent.
( 5) The irregular shape of Inlet Island park parcels, the
functional separation between them, and the lack of park definition
I
by plantings, fences or other means confuses the general public. Few
people really know for certain what areas are park and what areas are
not. The so-called "Agway Parcel" looks like private land, but isn't.
Some private parcels look like park land, but aren't.
The City Forester, who is well acquainted with most City land
holdings, recently asked the planning department for a map to help
· him figure out what Inlet Island land was City-owned. No wonder
the average citizen is perplexed.
This ambiguity leads well-intentioned people to trespass
unknowingly onto private land. The lack of clear, logical definition
between what is public and what is private, combined with the
neglected appearance of much existing park land, probably also
encourages intentional trespass and vagrancy on the Island. Various
landholders on the Island complain vigorously about the latter
problem.
( 6) When the Route 96 project is complete, the presence of a
widened and more intensely used highway could harm businesses
lining the east side of Taughannock Boulevard. The widened road
will come very close to Pete's Grocery, for instance. After project
completion, no parking will be permitted on Taughannock Boule-
vard near its intersection with Buffalo Street, and this, too, could
hurt Island businesses.
Taughannock Boulevard north of Buffalo Street serves as the
traditional "entry" from the City onto the Island. The presence of a
wider and busier highway here could diminish the attractiveness of
this "gateway," for both drivers and pedestrians. The Island's health
depends on an appealing and inviting entry point.
(7) The earthen ramp that will connect the Route 89 align-
ment to its new bridge will be an intrusive horizontal and vertical
barrier in the heart of Inlet Island (see Chapter III). The ramp will
split the Island visually and functionally unless effective mitigating
measures are adopted.
(8) Many City planning reports have made suggestions for
Inlet Island. Most have recommended retaining some park land
along the Flood Control Channel and encouraging waterfront-
related private development on the Island's interior.
In the City's 1971 Ithaca, N. Y: A General Plan, for example,
a "Projected Land Use, 1990" map foresees a combination of
"commercial" and "recreational and green space" uses for Inlet
Island. The plan's text makes two relevant proposals- one for the
Island specifically, the other with broader application. First, the
"island created by the flood control channel and the Cayuga Inlet
north of Buffalo Street should be developed to exploit its unique
water-oriented character and view. The area should be developed in
marine-oriented commercial land uses." Second, the "city, state, and
private all-season cultural-recreational facilities on the lake front
should be further encouraged. These facilities should be developed
in such a way as to attract both vacationers and local residents to the
multiple-purpose area. "
1
9
The 197 4 Cayuga Inlet Study foresees three possible outcomes
for Inlet Island, resulting respectively from minimal, moderate and
significant City involvement. The study prefers the latter scenario,
which would make Inlet Island a "center of the waterfront" and of
marine-oriented activities. The ideal result, according to the study,
would be the development illustrated in Figures 16, 17 and 18.
The designers propose a Route 96 project arrangement that has
both similarities to and differences from the design actually selected
in 1989. North of the highway, a "gateway" opens onto a "public
square" surrounded by a horseshoe arrangen1ent of shops with
apartments above. Many shops cater to marine needs, and some
nearby docks "can be reserved" for visiting boats.
Family housing is clustered in "U-shapes around lagoons." The
lagoons are "not dominated by automobiles, but ~ a t h e r people,
their houses, boats and water." A pedestrian way "thread[ s] its way
through the housing village" and leads to the Island's north tip.
Here, "a public terrace, cafe and restaurant take advantage of the
panoramic view from the point." The report emphasizes the tip's
35
19. Ithaca, N.Y.: A General Plan
(Ithaca: City Planning Board, 1971 ),
pp. 36-38.
FIGURE 16. This «site Plan)) is from the
1974 Cayuga Inlet Study, 1vhich exam-·
ines Inlet Island and its environs. 11Je
planners assume a Route 96 corridor
whose bridge somewhat resembles (but
whose other aspects differ from) the plan
adopted in 1989.
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
36
20. Henk DeBakker, Charles Henkels,
and other Cornell architecture college
graduate students, C a y t ~ g . a Inlet Study
(Ithaca: Cornell University College of
Architecture, Art and Planning, 1974),
section 3.30.
21. Ithaca Waterways Study (Ithaca:
Department of Planning and Develop-
ment, 1976), p. 39.
22. Trowbridge-Trowbridge and Roger
Trancik, Final Report: Cayuga Inlet and
Island Project (Ithaca: Department of
Planning and Development, 1982), pp.
38-42.
FIGURE 17 (left). An explanatory dia-
gram from the Cayuga Inlet Study points
ou.t the «public sqtur.re,'' surrounded by a
horseshoe of shops and t1Vo upper floors of
apartments. The grey area confusingly
labeled ccurban edge'' is in fact a park,
defined by perimeter buildings. These
buildings, including the Station Restau-
rant, provide the referred-to edge.
FIGURE 18 (right). This detail from the
Cayuga Inlet Study shows attached
housing configured in U-shapes around
lagoom on the west side of Inlet Island.
The housing u.nits, intended for families,
are shown in dark grey. The units are
entered through private gardens, shorvn
as lightly-speckled rectangles. The water's
edge is reserved for «people, their houses,
boats and water."
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
value to the community: "This area should be elevated to serve as a
landmark, and provide a place to watch activity on the water and in
the [ Cass] park across the Inlet."
The green area west of the Station Restaurant would be
preserved as park land. This park - to be enhanced with "more
color in the form of flowering and ornamental trees" - would
welcome Route 96 and Route 89 traffic into the City.
Overall, the plan would seek to "promote continued
improvement of Ithaca's leisure time facilities." Activities would
include "play areas, boat parades, races, regattas, outdoor music and
theatre, sitting, people and boat watching, boat rides and
renting. "20
The 1976 Ithaca Waterways Study makes three recommenda-
tions for Inlet Island. Pirst, it asks that no highway bridges be built
north of Buffalo Street "so as to preserve the island's integrity and
allow for new residential, commercial, recreational and tnarine
development." Second, the public land on the Island's west side
"should continue to be landscaped with an interesting variety of
plantings and should be used as a waterfront park and promenade."
Third, the old Inlet on the Island's east side should be canal-like
with residential, recreational and marine-related uses encouraged.
Finally, landscaping to the Inlet's east should screen the Island fron1
the "industrial-commercial uses north of Court Street and west of
Meadow. "2
1
The 1982 Final Report: Cayuga Inlet and Island Project
presents a detailed Island development progran1 (Figure 19). New
condominiums, shops and parking areas are envisioned,
along with a new hotel. A linear park along the Flood
Control Channel connects a natural park south of State
Street to a small park at the Island's tip. This linear park
includes floating docks, meandering waterside walkways,
lighting, seating and landscaping - all meant to bring
"water closer to people." At the Island's tip are picnic
tables and benches. 22
Despite so many recommendations over so many
years, no substantial Inlet Island redevelopment has yet
occurred. One major roadblock - now removed - has
been uncertainty over the Route 96 project's final form.
Disagreement about the scope of desirable development,
and crucial mistakes in the park alienation and conversion
process, have also stymied progress.
(9) Past attempts to alienate and convert all the
federally-funded park land east of the Permanent Flood
Control Channel Easement line are in permanent limbo.
In 1985, at the request of the City, the State
legislature passed and the governor signed Chapter 7 57
authorizing alienation of this park land- and authorizing
alienation of Southwest Park, as well. The legislation listed
an undifferentiated pool of three substitute park land
parcels. One was the "Festival Lands" (northwest of the
Allan H. Treman Marina). The second was a parcel inside the City,
southwest of Southwest Park. The third was an adjacent parcel in
the Town of Ithaca, also southwest of Southwest Park.23
The choice of the "Festival Lands" as subtitute park land was a
big error, for both practical and political reasons. As a practical mat-
ter, the City already owned the "Festival Lands," and City-owned
land was not eligible for substitution. As a political matter, some
Ithacans felt the "Festival Lands" had already attained park status,
because of their use as park for some fifteen years. The City was
accused of identifYing "new" park land that already was park land.
To rectify this, the City asked the State legislature to amend
Chapter 75 7, so five Six Mile Creek parcels would replace the "Fes-
tival Lands" as substitute park land. In the summer of 1988, Assem-
blyman McNeil and Senator Seward introduced a bill intended to
accomplish this. The Senate passed the bill, but the Assembly's
Cities Committee "lost" it. The bill was reintroduced by Assembly-
man Luster and Senator Seward in 1989, but- since Common
Council never sent a "home rule message" asking its adoption -
the bill died again. No subsequent amendment atten1pts were made.
Which is just as well. Chapter 757 had a bigger flaw- one the
a1nendn1ent would not have touched.
As it turns out, the entire structure of Chapter 757 was faulty.
The law amalgamated two different legal procedures which must
remain distinct. Removing park status from Southwest Park requires
only alienation, a State procedure. The Inlet Island land, though,
involved federal Land and Water Conservation Fund money.
Removing park status from such land requires both alienation, a
State procedure, and conversion, a federal procedure. The federal
·conversion process requires a precise one-to-one linkage between the
federally-funded land to lose park status and its specific substitute.
The indiscriminate "pool" of substitute parcels listed in Chapter
757, therefore, rendered the law useless from the outset.
So this is a good time for fresh beginnings.
Opportunities.
The State's 1989 selection of a specific Route 96 plan, ending
forty years of uncertainty about the project's scope, has permitted
the beginning of constructive planning to solve Inlet Island's prob-
lems. Finally, it is possible for the Island to reach its full potential,
for it to become one of the City's most beautiful and visited places.
On August l, 1990, Conunon Council voted to establish the
Inlet Island Land Use Committee, charging it with recommending
37
23. Each of the latter two parcels was
actually composed of four constituent
land-holdings.
FIGURE 19. This is the «Design Devel-
opment'' drawing from the 1982 Final
Report: Cayuga Inlet and Island
Project. Proposed development north of
Buffalo Street and the Station
Restaurant includes a hotel, condo- ·
minium units and new stores. Some
marina activities and the Coast Guard
Auxiliary remain in place. A public
promenade with picturesquely curving
paths extends along the Flood Control
Channel north from Buffalo Street all the
way to a small park at the Island's tip.
The trails also continue south of Buffalo
and State Streets across a rebuilt railroad
bridge (next to the existing Brindley
Street bridge) to a «natural park" with
more looping paths. At the far left, next to
Six Mile Creek and separated by 1vater
from the «natural park,'' is a proposed
«passive recreation'' park. This is one of
the substitute park land parcels suggested
in Chapter VII.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
38
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE COMMITTEE
" ... a conceptual Inlet Island land use plan which combines public
land (including some park land) and private land (including some
commercial land) in a compatible and mutually-beneficial manner.
The committee should consider, where it seems reasonable and
appropriate, whether certain areas now designated as park land
should be alienated/ converted to other appropriate uses, and
whether other areas now privately owned should become park land.
· The committee's goal should be to foster an attractive and unifYing
waterfront atmosphere that will simultaneously benefit the city park
system and Inlet Island commercial areas. If the committee
recommends the alienation/ conversion of any current Inlet Island
park land, the committee should recommend a specific location for
substitute park land, whether this be on Inlet Island or elsewhere in
the city."
CHAPTER V:
Proposed Land Use Plan for Inlet Island.
S
OME GENERAL PlUNCIPLES GUIDED development of
the Inlet Island Land Use Plan, described in this chapter. The
committee sought:
• To make the complicated, simple; and the confusing, clear.
• To distribute land uses and arrange property boundaries so
both reflect the true shape and "feel" of the Island.
• To encourage visitors to perceive and experience the Island
as a whole, and to give the Island a unifying sense of place.
• To recognize the waterfront's special character.
• To increase the internal coherency of both green spaces and
commercial areas.
• To remove existing conflicts between public green spaces
and private cotnmercial areas, so each complements and supports
the other.
Map #8 illustrates the proposed Inlet Island Land Use Plan. It
is conceived as a long-range plan, with some aspects to be _ imple-
mented soon, and other elements to be implemented over a longer
period.
A description of the plan's principal elements follows. Chapter
VI will then present in detail the procedural actions required for
implementation.
Expanded Brindley Park.
The plan proposes that a simple system of linked green spaces
organize the west side of Inlet Island. This system would contain
two small waterfront parks, one to the south and one to the north,
with a greenway corridor linking them.24
The small park on the south would be called ''Brindley Park,"
but the name would cover an area much larger than . the original
Brindley Pari<. The renamed park would contain: ( 1) the portion of
original Brindley Park not taken for the Route 96 project; (2) part
of Williams Playgrotmd; ( 3) some former street rights-of-way; and
39
24. The Park-to-Corridor-to-Park con-
cept in the Inlet Island Land Use Plan is
a modification of a similar concept
presented in the 1982 Final Report:
Cayuga Inlet and Island Project.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
40
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
(4) a portion of the 1967 Cass Park purchase. Compare the area
labeled "(Expanded) Brindley Park" on Map #8 with Map #9.
The reuse of the name "Brindley Park" would be in memory of
the community center demolished to make way for the Flood
Control Channel. The original Brindley Park's roofed drinking
fountain would be restored and featured in the renamed park.
Several considerations suggest the presence of a small park
here. As part of the proposed Park-to-Corridor-to-Park system, the
"expanded' Brindley Park would help lend logic and coherence to
the west side of Inlet Island. Unlike much Island park land,
furthermore, the original Brindley Park and Williams Playground
have been parks for over half a century. It seems fitting to preserve
these gifts to the City from the Williams family - especially since so
much land this family donated to the old Inlet neighborhood is now
under water or under highway pavement. Finally, the new park
boundaries would be defined on three sides by attractive existing
landmarks. To the west would be the Flood Control Channel, to
the south the old drinking fountain, and to the east the Station ,
Restaurant's train, complete with engine, cars and caboose.
Look-Out Point.
The north terminus of the Park-to-Corridor-to-Park sequence
would be the north tip of Inlet Island, which would be opened to
public access ("Look-Out Point" on Map #8). The Coast Guard
Auxiliary's long-standing access to this area would also continue.
The tip of the Island offers splendid views in several directions.
To the west is Cass Park, with joggers on its lakeside trail. To the
east stand the boathouses of Cornell and Ithaca College, from
which shells emerge to race the Flood Control Channel. To the
north, water and trees stretch far into the distance. So the relatively
enclosed Brindley Park on the south would have as its pendant this
visually park to the north.
Dual permits from the N.Y.S. D.o.T. would allow this
symbiotic use of the Island's tip by both the City (for use as a public
look-out) and the Coast Guard Auxiliary (for its traditional func-
tions). At a January 23, 1991 n1eeting between D.o.T. staff mem-
· bers and the Inlet Island Land Use Committee, Jamie Marino of the
D.o.T. Waterways Maintenance Division affirmed that dual permits
are possible, provided the two applicants agree to the joint use.
From the D.o.T.'s perspective, Marino added, using the tip for park
purposes would be "ideal." This use would be a "public benefit,"
like the "public benefit" the Coast Guard Auxiliary provides.
To date, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has opposed the idea of
dual permits. A chief concern of the auxiliary is that such dual
permits could subject the auxiliary's corporation to increased
liability. This is a valid concern. In fairness, though, it should be
noted that the auxiliary now uses City-owned land (a portion of the
Old Taughannock Boulevard right-of-way, over which the auxiliary
floating dock passes). This could subject the City to liability. It is
hoped that future negotiations with the Coast Guard Auxiliary will
result in a mutually-beneficial agreement that provides for dual
permits and that fairly addresses both parties' liability concerns.
Other waterfront cities have successfully combined Coast
Guard activities and waterside parks. For example, the September
1989 issue of Planning magazine features a photograph and article
about a newly-developed waterfront area in Wilmington, North
Carolina. Here, "a U.S. Coast Guard dock forms the backdrop to a
new riverfront park."
'Williams Walk' Greenway Corridor.
A greenway corridor with a paved path would link these
companion parks. The corridor would begin in the renamed Brind-
ley Park, and lead all the way to Look-Out Point. The waterside
path would be called the "Williams Walk," in acknowledgement of
the Williams family's generosity. This generosity has been
undeservedly forgotten, as physical evidence of it has disappeared.
A vital element of the greenway corridor would be a pedestrian
underpass beneath the new Route 89 bridge, where it leaves the
west side of the Island.
This pedestrian underpass would decisively link what the
(Continued on Page 41) Following the Nine Maps)
i
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.
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o cO e::.QO
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BRINDLEY STREET 0
(FORMER BRINDLEY STREET R.O.W.)
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L__·-··········- ·- ·····--_j
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0 F 0 E L A W A A E • L A C K A, W A N A &
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D
CITY OF ITI-iACA PARK LAND.
Historical Context:
----
PROPERTY LINES.
D
LAND OWNED BY NON-PROFIT
.................... ...... OTHER FEATURES . COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.
1933
D
LAND USES NOT SPECIFICALLY
CATEGORIZED ON THIS MAP.
- • 'I ii
e
®
INLET BEEBE MISSION.
®
WEST SIDE HOUSE..
©
LEHIGH VALLEY HOUSE..
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LAWN WITH FLAGPOLE
(LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD).
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D
TROLLEY STOP
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TERMINAl .
{ITHACA STREET RAILWAY).
LANDSCAPED LAWN AND GAIADEN
(LEHIGH VA·LLEY RAILROAD).
LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
PASSENGER STATION.
LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
FREIGHT DEPOT.
c::===============:::::::=::===========================================================================:;;;;;;::=:::::::J Inlet Island Land Use Committee ' -'
0
STREET 0
0
...J
<
u..
u..
DC]
::l
IIl
L.
0
Historical Context:
----·
··················---
1940
SELECTED
PROPERTY LINES.
OTHER FEATIJRES.
0
0
0
0
0
B 0 U L E V A A D
0
CITY OF ITI-IACA PARK LAND.
D
LAND OWNED BY
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.
D
LAND USES NOT SPECIFICALLY
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®
©
@

\ \...
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f\0
INLET BEEBE MISSION.
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LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
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®
LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
FREIGHT DEPOT.
CD
LEASED BY LV.R.R.
TO SHELL OIL CO., INC.
Q)
COLONIAL BEACON OIL CO.
BULK STATION.
®
HAMBLETON TERMINAL CORP.
RETAIL AND BULK OIL STATION.
r::=============================================================================================================='::::J/ Inlet Island Land Use Committee c=::.==:J
0

<(
u..
u..

a1
Historical Context:
1960s
----
•••••
oooooooo
c
y u g
PROPERTY
LINES.
LOCATION OF
FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL.
LOCATION OF PERMANENT FLOOD

LOCATION OF
NEW STATE ST REET BRIDGE.-
I n
CITY OF ITHACA PARK LAN,D
(NO FEDERAL FUNDING HISTORY).
FEDERALLY FUNDED 1967
CASS PARK PURCHASE.
D
LAND OWNED BY NON- PROFIT
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.
D
LAND USES NOT SPECIFICALLY
CATEGORIZED ON THIS MAP.
L -----
--- -----

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0 100' 200' 300'
m
®
BEEBE COMMUNITY CHAPEL
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LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
FREIGHT DiEPOT.
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WEST SIDE HOUSE.
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UEASED BY LV.R.R.
TO AGWAY .
©
LEHIGH VALLEY HOUSE.
0
PARCEL OWNED BY HUMBLE OIL
AND REFINING CO.
@
LEHIGH VALL'EY RAILROAD
®
PARCEL OWNED BY CORNELL
PASSENGER STATION. UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION.
c::=====================================================================================================-:::::; Inlet Island Land Use Committee r:=::=.=:::J
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Inlet Island 1992:
Current Land Use
c
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PROPERTY
LINES.
0
PERMANENT FLOOD CONTROL
CHANNEL EASEMENT
NOTE: MAP COLORS HERE INDICATE
CURRENT LAND USES, BUT NOT
IN ALL CASES LAND OWNERSHIP.
I
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---L_J __ r--
--
CITY OF ITHACA PARK LAND
(OF THREE DISTINCT ORIGINS).
OWNED BY N.Y.S. FOR USES RELATED
TO FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL
LICENSED TO, OR DE FACTO USE BY,
COAST GUARD AUXILIARY.
N.Y.S. D.o.T. USE WITH LICENSE
TO COAST GUARD AUXILIARY.
e t
PRIVATI!: USE
(THROUGH OWNERSHIP OR LICENS.E).

r-l . LAND WHOSE STATUS IS NOT
L__j BEING CATEGORIZED ON THIS MAP.
©
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100' 200'
LEHIGH VALLEY HOUSE..
STATION A'ESTAURANT.
HEADQUARTERS OF
COAST GUARD AUXJUARY.
.. .
COAST GUARD AUXILIARY DOCK.

PROPERTY LINES OF CITY OF ITHACA PARK LAND OWNED BY STATE OF NEW YORK.
[ill]

[I]
Inlet Island 1992:
- ---
EMPHASIZED PARCELS. (DESIGNATED OVER 50 YEARS AGO). D.E.C. ADMINISTRATION. STREET RIGHTS..OF-WAY.
D
DE FACTO CITY OF ITHACA PARK
6
PORTION OF ABOVE LAND LICENSED PORTION OF ABOVE LAND
------·-
OTHER PROPERTY LINES. LAND (OLD STREET RIGHT5-0F-WAY). TO COAST GUARD AUXILIARY. LICENSED TO DEGRAFF.
Property Ownership
PERMANENT FLOOD CONTROL CITY OF ITHACA PARK LAND (PART OWNED BY STATE OF NEW YORK,
....... - . "' .. .. CHANNEL EASEMENT LINE.. OF 1967 CASS PARK PURCHASE). D.o.T. ADMINISTRATION PRIVATELY OWNED PARCElS.

PORTION OF ABOVE LAND LICENSED
D
LAND WHOSE STATIJS IS NOT
OTHER FEATURES. TO COAST GUARD AUXILIARY. BEING CHARACTERIZED ON THIS MAP.
c::======================================================================================'::::J Inlet Island Land Use Committee ___ ___,
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fr211992 Land Use,
Plus Rt. 96 Project
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PERMANENT FLOOD CONTROL
CHANNEL EASEMENT LINE..
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_N_O_T_E_:_M_A_P_C_O_L_O_R_S_H_E_R_E-IN-D-IC_A_T_E-
CURRENT LAND USES, BUT NOT
IN ALL CASES LAND OWNERSHIP.
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CITY OF ITHACA PARK LAND
(OF THREE DISTINCT ORIGINS).
OWNED BY N.Y.S. FOR USES RELATED
TO FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL
LICENSED TO, OR DE FACTO USE BY,
COAST GUARD AUXILIARY.
N.Y.S. D.o.T. USE WITH LICENSE
TO COAST GUARD AUXILIARY.
- - -
I
\----

C A S S
PRIVATE USE
(THROUGH OWNERSHIP OR LICENSE).
CITY OF ITHACA
STREET RIGHT5-0F-WAY.
STATE OF NEW YORK
HIGHWAY RIGHT5-0F-WAY.
LAND WHOSE STATUS IS NOT
BEING CATEGORIZED ON THIS MAP.
©
@
0
©
_ .... --
r -------------
1
...... 1
- I
100' 200'
LEHIGH VAU.EY HOUSE..
STATION RESTAURANT.
HEADQUARTERS OF
COAST GUARD AUXJUARY.
COAST GUARD AUXlLIARY DOCK
Inlet Island Land Use Committee c:::.'
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OTHER PROPERTY LINES.
PERMANENT FLOOD CONTROL
CHANNEL EASEMENT LINE.
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PORTION OF BRINDLEY PARK
TO BE TAKEN FOR RT. 96 PROJECT.
PART OF 1967 CASS PARK PURCHASE
TO BE TAKEN FOR RT. 96 PROJECT.
PRIVATELY OWNED LAND
TO BE TAKEN FOR RT. 96 PROJECT.
NON-PARK CITY OWNED LAND
TO BE USED FOR RT. 96 PROJECT.
L----
.,...----- ----r---- ------··--- -
1
LAND WHOSE STATUS IS NOT·
BEING CHARACTERIZED ON THIS MAP.
r====================================================================================================:::J Inlet Island Land Use Committee c:.' ==:::1
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Proposed Land Use:
Schematic Diagram
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PROPOSED LAND USE DIVISIONS
(NOT ALWAYS PROPERTY LINES).
"WILLIAMS WALK" (PEDESTRIAN
GREENWAY PROMENADE).
LANDSCAPED PEDESTRIAN PATH ' ~ .. .. ''' ,.,.
(WITHIN LAWN & TREE CORRIDOR). {._ , ;.... .. :'
UREJAN SIDEWALK. NEAR STREET
EDGE {WITH IMPROVED LIGHTING).
0
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100' 200'
PORTION OF PERMANENT FLOOD CITY OF ITHACA PRIVATE SECTOR USE (THROUGH
CONTROL CHANNEL EASEMENT UNE. DESIGNATED PARK LAND. OWNERSHIP •. LEASE OR UCENSE).
PEDESTRIAN UNDERPASS 'BENEATH
D
PEDESTRIAN GREENWAY CORRIDOR
00
CITY AND STATE ACTIVE
NEW ROUTE 89 ALIGNMENT BRIDGE. (NOT DESIGNATED AS PARK LAND). . STREET RIGHT8-0F-WAY.
POTENTIAL FOR WATER BASIN D
EXCLUSIVE USE BY COAST GUARD
D
LAND WHOSE STATUS IS NOT
ALLOWING BOATS TO DOCK; THE
AUXILIARY. BEING CATEGORIZED ON THIS MAP.
"WILLIAMS WALK" WOULD CONTINUE
~
JOINT D.o.T. LICENSE: TO CITY AS
AROUND ANY BASIN'S PERIPHERY. PARK & TO COAST GUARD AUXILIARY .
t:=::::==========================:=::=======:::::::====================::=:=================================:::J Inlet Island Land Use Committee
---l
Ciaschi

jL-J LJ
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!------·l_ D
I L::J ------------1
Implementation
Mechanics
PARCELS WHOSE OWNERSHIP OR
PARK STATUS WOULD CHANGE.
OTHER PROPERTY LINES.
PERMANENT FLOOD CONTROL
CHANNEL EASEMENT LINE.
SPECIAL CORRIDOR BOUNDARY: SEE
REPORT TEXT FOR DESCRIPTION.
·--------- ----------,
THE COLORS:
The Colors Shown Here
Correspond to the
Proposed Land Uses
Illustrated on Map #B.
·-------------
I \
:J \ G
L----J-. - - \ ------
PARCELS 1 THROUGH 9:
A Change of Ownership or
Park Status Is Proposed for
These Parcels; See Report Text
for Specific Descriptions.
-· - --------
r-- ---------

I
_j
100' 200'
'NOTE A' THROUGH 'NOTE D':
These Notes (See Text) Describe
the Final Leg of the "Williams Walk,"
Leading to a Public Look-Qut
on Inlet Island's Tip.
c=::================================================================================================:::::::::=::==='::::J Inlet Island Land Use Committee
I
" I
(Continued From Page 40, Preceding the Nine Maps)
obstrusive Itoute 89 ran1p threatens to divide. Because of its linking
function, the greenway corridor would be much more than a
pleasant amenity - it would be an essential connection encouraging
visitors to experience, and to think of, Inlet Island as a whole. As it
entices visitors to explore the Island from end to end, the greenway
corridor would provide delightful recreation, and simultaneously
benefit Inlet Island businesses.
The preliminary design for the Route 89 bridge does not
provide such a pedestrian underpass on the Inlet Island side. It does,
however, provide an underpass for the bike and pedestrian trail on
the west side of the channel. In response to questions from the Inlet
Island Land Use Committee, D.o.T. Regional Design Engineer
Richard A. Lucas wrote that "Based on a cursory review of the
Route 89 bridge alignment drawings, it appears a vertical clearance
of 8 '± may be available on the west shore of Inlet Island beneath the
bridge. "
2
5 In other words, though he can offer no guarantee, it
appears to Mr. Lucas that an Inlet Island pedestrian underpass is
feasible. A final determination would not be known until final
bridge design begins.
The Inlet Island greenway corridor would consist of three
segments:
The first and widest segment would proceed north from
renamed Brindley Park along the Flood Control Channel to a point
just south of the Coast Guard Auxiliary building. This segment,
colored yellow-green on Map #8, would be about sixty feet wide.
This would include the forty foot (or so) band of land subject to the
Flood Control Channel easement, and an additional twenty feet east
of the easement line.
The D.E.C. will not allow vertical structures or plantings on
land subject to the easement. On Inlet Island, the easement applies
\vest of the easement line. So the twenty feet of greenway corridor
east of the line would allow the planting of trees and the placement
of benches and lighting near the Williams Walk path. It is hoped the
City will provide such amenities in future years, when budgets
allo,v.26
This first corridor segment would be preserved as green space
under City ownership, but would not be designated as park land.
This would make it possible - in the future - for one or more
privately-developed lagoons or tnooring basins, with water access to
the Flood Control Channel, to be established on the interior of the
Island. Since access to any such basin(s) would be through City
owned land, the City v;ould be in a position to ensure that the
Williams Walk would continue around the periphery of any such
basin, so as to maintain the integrity of the overall greenway
corridor.
To co1nplete this corridor segment, the City would have to
purchase part of a privately-owned parcel that now extends into the
easement area (and into the channel itself).
The second, and shortest segment of the greenway corridor
would be south of the Coast Guard Auxiliary building. Here, the
corridor would head east, extending from the channel to Old
Taughannock Boulevard. The purpose of this eastward turn, away
fron1 the water, is to bypass the area used most intensively by the
Coast Guard Auxiliary.
This second segment is colored green on Map #8. Its present
status as a portion of the 1967 Cass Park purchase would continue.
· The corridor here would be about fifty-five feet wide, providing
room for both the paved Williams Walk and for a possible small
parking area for park users.
Note: Before the City could use this segment for the greenway
corridor, it would have to remove a concrete dike within which four
petroleum tanks once stood. Also, the ground here would have to
be tested for contamination by petroleum products. The City, as
property owner, has an obligation to deal with this issue anyway,
sooner or later, no matter what it does with the land.
The third segment of the greenway corridor is a narrow twelve-
foot wide path that would bring the Williams Walk all the way to
the Island's tip (Look-Out Point). It would pass over both City-
owned and privately-owned land, and would not be considered park
land. Where appropriate, fencing would be used to keep people
using the corridor from straying onto land used by either the Coast
41
25. From a Febmary 28, 1991 letter to
John Schroeder by Richard A. Lucas,
Regional Design Engineer, Syracuse
office of the N.Y.S. Department of
Transportation (written on behalf of
Richard Simberg, Regional Director of
Transportation at the Syracuse office).
26. A design vocabulary for such im-
provements could be derived from old
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company hard-
ware stored behind the Station Restau-
rant. Relevant stored items include
decorative metal bench supports.
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
42
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
Guard Auxiliary or the Ithaca Boating Center. The precise character
of this third segment is described in Chapter VI, under the heading
' 'Note A' Through 'Note D.''
The entire proposed Inlet Island greenway corridor would -
in its very linearity- recall the linear land and water transportation
routes that have characterized one hundred and fifty years of Inlet
Island history.
Inlet Island)s 'Entry.)
An inviting "entry" to Inlet Island off Buffalo Street is essential
for successful public and private use of the Island. The Inlet Island
Land Use Plan proposes two measures here to mitigate negative
impacts to drivers and pedestrians when Taughannock Boulevard is
widened and Route 89 traffic begins whizzing by.
First, a long-term project is proposed to improve Inlet Island's
street-side sidewalks and lighting (see below). This project would
include improvements to the east side of Taughannock Boulevard,
as it heads north from Buffalo Street.
Second, a twelve-foot wide City-owned "curb lawn" would be
provided all along the west side of the reconstructed Route 89, fron1
Buffalo Street to the channel. This green strip - shown in yellow-
green with a green dashed line on Map #8 - would feature a paved
path, lawn and plantings. It would provide physical, visual and
psychological "breathing space" next to the busy highway, and
would augment any unpaved City and State highway land. A5 with a
curb lawn, full driveway access would be provided as needed to
private parcels on the west.
This linear buffer zone of grass and plantings would greatly
improve the appearance of Taughannock Boulevard where it joins
Buffalo Street. It would also provide direct pedestrian access to both
the Williams Walk and the Route 89 bridge.
The recent controvery about proposed sidewalks on Elmira
Road has demonstrated the wisdom of reserving an adequately
broad pedestrian corridor along major highways before development
close to the highway occurs. Safety requires that sidewalks along
· highways be set well back from on-rushing traffic. This time, the
City should plan ahead.
Sidewalk, Lighting and Street Improvements.
In addition to planning for green space improvements, the City
should adopt a long-range plan to improve sidewalks and lighting
on Inlet Island. Suggested locations for improved urban street-side
sidewalks with lighting are indicated by the brown dashed lines on
Map #8. (Of the suggested new sidewalks, some will be provided by
the State as part of the Route 96 project.)
Furthermore, the City should plan to install curbing and fresh
pavement on the dead-end portion of Old Taughannock Boulevard
that will remain after the new Route 89 alignment is built. The State
project will not touch most of this street.
The new greenway paths and urban street-side sidewalks are
intended to work together as a system, so visitors will experience
Inlet Island as a pleasing and coherent whole. Pedestrians will stroll
easily between the Island's "green" and "urban" areas, each a
natural complement to the other. The whole Inlet Island pedestrian
system is characterized by interconnecting loops, providing visitors
with a wide variety of walking experiences - even during a single
visit to the Island.
New Areas for Private Development.
The Inlet Island Land Use Plan proposes alienation and
conversion from park status of substantial portions of the 1967 Cass
Park purchase.
Some of the discontinued park land (along the Island's west
edge and along the west edge of the realigned Route 89) would be
reserved as City green space. But most of the former park land
would be sold, leased or licensed to the private sector. Several
reasons exist for allowing more private development on Inlet Island:
( l) Increased marine-oriented commercial and residential de-
I J
velopment on the Island has been recommended repeatedly over a
twenty-year span by various planning reports, including 1971's
Ithaca) N.Y.: A General Plan) the 1974 Cayuga Inlet Study, the
1976 Ithaca Waterways Study, and 1982's Final Report: Cayuga
Inlet and Island Project.
(2) Large stretches of Ithaca's waterfront are already publicly
or institutionally owned. Little land, therefore, remains for private
waterfront development. Successful urban waterfronts maintain a
healthy balance between public parks, on the one hand, and
privately-owned waterside restaurants, shops and housing, on the
other. Ithaca has much of the former, but little of the latter.
(3) Smaller, well-coordinated Inlet Island green spaces will
probably be used by more people than park land that - though
larger in aggregate- has been chopped into separate, irrationally-
shaped pieces by a new highway.
( 4) Additional private development is needed to support Inlet
Island's park land by giving it a special marine context and purpose.
Cass Park already provides a large stretch of open natural park just
across the Flood Control Channel, and so Inlet Island's green spaces
will benefit from playing a different role - that of waterfront
promenade in a more urbanized setting. The neglected, functionless
appearance of some current Inlet Island park land serves no one's
interests.
A comparison of Map #8 with Map #6 clarifies exactly which
areas would be opened to private use.
The Inlet Island Land Use Committee envisions mixed use
private development (commercial, retail, housing) that is water-
enhanced or water-dependent, and that takes fullest possible
advantage of Inlet Island's special waterfront location. The possi-
bility of establishing one or more lagoons or mooring basins on the
Island's interior should encourage imaginative and creative develop-
ment proposals.
The City could promote private development that makes full
and attractive use of the Island's potential by becoming an active
pro-development ally of the private sector. Such partnerships have
resulted in some of the most beautifully developed urban water-
fronts in America (Baltimore's Inner Harbor being one example
among many). As a major Inlet Island land owner, the City would
be in an ideal position to play such a role.
To further encourage appropriate development, Common
Council may wish to n1odif)r slightly the current description of tl1e
M -1 zoning district, which applies to Inlet Island. The committee
suggests that "warehouse storage facilities" be removed as a per-
mitted use in M-1, as such warehouses would waste waterfront
potential. We also discussed, but reached no consensus, on whether
the maximum building height in M -1 should be lowered from 70 to
50 feet for residential, hotel, motel and boatel uses (the maximum
for all other uses is 3 5 feet). We leave this issue to Common
Council. For reference, the Lehigh Valley House, which appears
rather tall in Inlet Island's context, rises about 35 feet.
Note: In the early 1970s, the Ithaca Garden Club beautified
the banks of the new Flood Control Channel with donated flower-
ing crabapple trees. One grove of these trees stands on Inlet Island.
A boulder with plaque dedicates these trees to "the presidents and
members of the Ithaca Garden Club during its first fifty years."
Under the Inlet Island Land Use Plan, most of this grove (and the
commemorative boulder) would remain in protected green areas. A
smaller portion of the grove, though, would be on land slated for
private use. Any commemorative trees to be displaced by private
developtnent should be carefully replanted elsewhere on tl1e Island.
Recommendations to State Agencies.
In addition to taking the necessary steps to implement the Inlet
Island Land Use Plan described above, Common Council should
formally recommend the following actions to the N .Y.S. Depart-
ment of Transportation and the N.Y.S. Department of Environ-
mental Conservation:
• Recommendation 1:
The City should ask the N.Y.S. D.o.T. to coordinate its final
43
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
44
27. The source is the same letter cited
in Footnote 20.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
Route 96 project design with relevant aspects of the Inlet
Island Land Use Plan.
Particularly relevant here will be sidewalk connections and
planting plans on project rights-of-way.
• Recommendation 2:
The City should strongly express its wish that the D.o.T.
provide a pedestrian underpass on the east side of the Flood
Control Channel beneath the new Route 89 bridge.
The more forceful the City is about this, the more likely it is to
happen.
• Recommendation 3:
The City should request the D.o.T. to provide sidewalks on
both sides of both the new Buffalo Street Route 96 bridge and
the new Route 89 alignment bridge. If possible, bridge lighting ·
should also be provided to increase pedestrian and driver safety.
In a written response to questions from the Inlet Island Land
Use Committee, Richard Lucas stated that sidewalks will be
provided on both sides of the Route 89 bridge.
27
However, since
the preliminary bridge design shows only one sidewalk on the
bridge's north side, the City should not take this for granted.
• Recommendation 4:
The City should ask the D.o.T. to accommodate bicyclists on
both new bridges. If separate bike lanes are not possible, then
widened traffic lanes should be provided for bicycle safety.
will use both new bridges.
But safety for bicyclists will be especially important on the new
Route 89 bridge, because the new alignment will become an
attractive "shortcut" for bicyclists traveling between downtown and
Cass Park.
The width of the new bridges is restricted by the State's need
to avoid taking more park land. However, within this constraint,
· Mr. Lucas has said the State will do its best to provide extra lane
width, especially on the new bridges, for bicycle safety.
• Recommendation 5:
The City should request formal input into the design process
for the new bridges, to ensure that they are outwardly
attractive and that they offer pleasing and unobstructed views
to motorists and pedestrians passing over them.
The State appears willing to cooperate here.
• Recommendation 6:
In preliminary designs, the rebuilt Buffalo Street and Taughan-
nock Boulevard are very close to several Inlet Island stores. The
City should ask the D.o.T. to provide as much sidewalk .width
as possible here, to buffer stores and pedestrians from traffic.
Inlet Island's "entry" should feature thriving stores and
sidewalks wide and safe enough to attract people onto the Island.
• Recommendation 7:
The City should ask the D.o.T. to ensure preservation of the
Brindley Park water fountain during Route 96 construction.
The last physical remnant of the old Inlet con1munity center
complex should be preserved. Eventually, the fountain should be
restored as a working drinking fountain, in accordance with the
City's 1927 agreement with Augusta H. Williams.
• Recommendation 8:
The City should urge the N .Y.S. Department of Environmental
Conservation to take effective measures to stabilize the Flood
Control Channel's east and west banks, which have been
suffering severe erosion over the past twenty years.
In places, up to eight feet of the west edge of Inlet Island has
been lost to erosion since the original digging of the Flood Control
Channel. This is a serious rate of loss. Heavily undercut sod hangs
aH along this shore, and the earth bank reveals buried objects,
proving that the process continues (Figure 20). Measures to prevent
further erosion should be taken as soon as possible.
Potential Funding Sources.
Two New York State programs offer matching I grants which
could fund future design studies or green space improvements on
Inlet Island:
( 1) The Architecture, Planning and Design Program of the
New York State Council on the Arts offers n1atching grants for
"Urban Design and Planning" projects. Eligible projects "focus on
creative design and planning for hamlets, villages and cities," and
"may be part of broader analysis addressing the economic benefits of
downtown revitalization or waterfront development."
(2) The N.Y.S. Department of Economic Development (in
consultation with the N.Y.S. D.o.T.) offers matching grants to fund
community improvement projects related to the Barge Canal
system. The proposed Inlet Island greenway corridor improvements
(path, lighting, benches) may be eligible for this funding.
45
FIGURE 20. Erosion continues to nibble
away at the west shore of Inlet Island.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITI'EE
46
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
CHAPTER VI:
Implementation Mechanics.
U
NDER. THE INLET ISLAND LAND USE PLAN, nine
parcels would undergo a change of ownership or park
status. These parcels -· "Parcel 1" through "Parcel 9" -
are labeled on Map #9.
Parcels Whose Status Would Change.
• PARCELl.
Current Status: Part of parcel owned by Mark Zaharis.
Proposed Status: To be acquired by City of Ithaca to provide a
narro\v twelve-foot wide green zone (much like a broad landscaped
curb lawn with path) along Taughannock Boulevard/Route 89.
This green strip would help provide an attractive vehicular and
pedestrian entry point onto the Island. It would also provide a
sidewalk that is buffered frorn on-rushing traffic. Curb cuts (as
allo,vcd by the State) would cross this area as necessary to provide
access to adjacent privately-owned land.
• PARCEL 2, PARCEL 4 and PARCEL 7.
Current Status: City of Ithaca park land (a portion of the 1967
Cass Park purchase, involving federal funding).
Proposed Status: Rcrnove park status through alienation and
conversion process, and sell, lease or license to private sector. Re-
placement park land to be provided elsewhere in the City.
• PARCEL 3 and PARCEL 5.
Current Status: City of Ithaca park land (a portion of the 1967
Cass Park purchase, involving federal funding).
Proposed Status: Maintain City ownership to provide essential
links in the proposed Inlet Island greenway corridor and pedestrian
path system. (Included would be both the Williams Walk and the
path along the new R.oute 89 alignment's west edge.) The parcels
would be preserved as green space, but their park status would be
removed through the alienation and conversion process. The latter
47
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMJTTEE
--·-------------
48
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
step would allow curb cuts into "Parcel 2" from Taughannock
Boulevard (as allowed by the State). It would also allow the
potential for boat access into a possible privately-developed lagoon
or mooring basin within "Parcel 2." The Williatns Walk would
follow the periphery of any such basin. Replacement park land to be
provided elsewhere 'vithin the City.
• PARCEL6.
Current Status: Part of parcel owned by J oscph Ciaschi. Most of
the area shown is subject to the Permanent Flood Control Channel
Easen1ent. However, a twenty-foot strip is located east of the
permanent easen1ent line and is not subject to the easement
restrictions.
Proposed Status: To be acquired by City of Ithaca as an essential
link in the Inlet Island greenway corridor, with its Williams Walk
path. This parcel would be preserved as green space, but it would
not be given park status, so as to allow the potential for boat access
into a possible privately-developed lagoon or mooring basin to the
east. The Williams Walk would follow the periphery of any such
basin.
• PARCEL 8 and PARCEL 9.
Current Status: "Parcel 8" is City of Ithaca park land (a portion of
the 1967 Cass Park purchase, involving federal funding). "Parcel 9"
is part of the current Taughannock Boulevard right-of-way, owned
by the City of Ithaca.
Proposed Status: "Parcel 8" should be alienated and converted
fron1 park status, because it is a tiny "ren1ainder" parcel. The
ultin1ate of these two parcels should include provision
for a straight section of north-south sidewalk along the east edge of
the old Taughannock Boulevard right-of-way. These two parcels
could be sold, leased or licensed to the private sector. Alternately, it
might be possible for the City to provide some parking in this area
to replace parking possibilities lost along Taughanock Boulevard
· when it is realigned and widened.
(Note A) Through (Note D.)
R.cfcrenccs to "Note A" through "NoteD" appear on Map #9.
• NOTEA.
Current Status: Part of City of Ithaca Taughannock Boulevard
right-of-way.
Proposed Status: A twelve-foot wide strip would be dedicated to
the Inlet Island greenway corridor, allowing the paved Williams
Walk to pass through. For pedestrian safety, curbing would separate
this corridor from the paved portion of Old Taughannock Boule-
vard. A curb cut would be provided to allow vehicular access to the
Coast Guard Auxiliary parking area to the west.
• NOTE B.
Current Status: Part of an abandoned section of Taughannock
Boulevard that the City of Ithac i as licensed to the Ithaca Boating
Center, owned by Peter DeGraff (The original license was given to
Inlet Park Marina, a predecessor of the Ithaca Boating Center.) This
license is revocable by either party on thirty days' notice.
Proposed Status: A twelve-foot wide section of this parcel would
be dedicated to the Inlet Island greenway corridor, allowing the
paved Williams Walk to pass through. T'he rest of the parcel would
continue to be licensed to the Ithaca Boating Center. Fencing
would be provided on either side of this corridor segment. This
would clearly define the corridor and prevent trespass onto areas
used by the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the Ithaca Boating Center.
• NOTE C.
Current Status: Part of parcel owned by Peter DeGraff.
Proposed Status: The land wou)d continue to be owned by Mr.
DeGraff, but he would graciously allow the Inlet Island greenway
corridor (with the Williatns Walk) to pass through a twelve-foot
wide strip. Fencing would define this corridor and prevent any one
fro1n straying into areas used by the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the
Ithaca Boating Center.
• NOTE D.
Current Status: Owned by the N.Y.S. Department of Trans-
portation as part of the New York State Barge Canal system. The
area is licensed to U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 2-2.
Proposed Status: Dual pennits would be granted for the use of this
land. One pern1it would go to the Coast Guard Auxiliary for its
traditional activities, and the other would go to the City for a public
park-like look-out. See details in Chapter V.
49
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
50
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
CHAPTER VII:
Proposals for Substitute Park Land.
W
HEN A MUNICIPALITY SEEI<S federal approval for
"unparking" federally-funded park land, it must substi-
tute new park land "of at least equal fair market value
and of reasonably equivalent usefulness and location." Chapter II
presents details about the alienation and conversion process.
Under the Inlet Island Land Use Plan, approximately 180,000
square feet (about 4.13 acres) of federally-funded park land would
be alienated and converted from park use. Most of this land (Parcels
2, 4, 7 and 8 on Map #9) would be used by the private sector, but
some of it (Parcels 3 and 5) would be reserved by the City for green
corridors.
It is difficult to predict the "fair market value" of the land
proposed for alienation and conversion, for several reasons. First,
while most of this land is east of the Permanent Flood Control
Easen1ent line, and hence developable, some is west of the line, and
not developable. Second, current assessed values of Inlet Island land
vary dramatically, from as low as $1.72 to as high as $10.02 per
square foot, with 1nore typical figures ranging between $3 and $4
per square foot. Finally, no available figures reflect the impending
in1pact of the R.oute 96 project, which may increase the monetary
value of certain areas and decrease that of others.
Uncertainty about the monetary value of land to be alienated
and converted is matched by uncertainty about the current value of
any land proposed for substitution. The committee felt it fruitless,
because of these unknowns, to attempt precise delineation of
substitute park land parcels. Instead, the committee ranked its top
three general preferences for locating substitute land. The precise
package of substitute park land must await appraisal of relevant
parcels.
The committee considered seven possible substitute park land
sites, all on a waterfront or along a stream. In addition to the three
locations ultimately preferred (discussed in detail below), these
possible sites included: a corridor providing access into the Six Mile
Creek Gorge from the central business district28, land near Ithaca
Falls, land outside the City in the Six Mile Creek watershed, and
land now occupied by the Cornell Field Station, north of the
Newman Municipal Golf Course.
Two clear themes developed as these possible locations were
discussed. First, some committee members strongly preferred
finding substitute park land within the City. This preference
51
28. See Recommendation 2 on Page 56
of the 1991 Report of the Downt01vn
Vision Task Force: "A clearly marked
pedestrian promenade should lead from
the east end of the Commons into Six
Mile Creek Gorge, and connect to the
trail system that extends all the way to
the Reservoir in the Town of Ithaca."
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
52
29. The bridge was designed by the
Cornell Student Chapter of the
American Society of Civil Engineers,
working in cooperation with the City of
Ithaca. This organization would be a
likely candidate to design the proposed
pedestrian bridge at point "F" on
Figure 21.
30. The Conservation Advisory Council
recommended such a path and bridge in
a resolution it forwarded to Common
Council. At its February 6, 1991
meeting, council referred the proposed
resolution to its Planning and Develop-
ment Committee. The committee dis-
cussed the resolution once, but the idea
has p regressed no further.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
eliminated the Six Mile Creek valley outside city limits. Second,
many committee members felt the substitute park land should be
located along or near the Cayuga Inlet, like the land being
"unparked." Locations meeting these criteria, therefore, were
favored over the others.
Ultimately the committee chose the following as its three
preferred substitute park land locations. All three would help create
green spaces or green corridors with clear relationships to, and close
connections with, Inlet Island.
First Preference.
First preference consists of the blue areas shown on Figure 21
(including the blue dashes, representing thin linear paths). The blue
areas are part of a path system that would link the Farmers' Market,
as well as the golf course and Stewart Park, to Buffalo Street and
Inlet Island. This system itself is part of an even broader network of
pedestrian paths that are planned - or, in places, already exist-
along Ithaca's waterfront.
Figure 21 illustrates the full network of existing or proposed
pedestrian paths. The paths are indicated by black dashes, blue
dashes and the two narrow blue wooded areas. In places, the paths
are intended for bicyclists as well as pedestrians. A description of
some non -park paths shown on Figure 21 will precede a description
of the blue areas suggested for park acquisition.
Path segment "B," as labeled on Figure 21, already exists. It
connects the Farmers' Market to a new pedestrian bridge (off the
map, below the arrow at "A"). The bridge links the Farmers'
Market with downtown neighborhoods, with the golf course and - -
ultimately -· with Stewart Park.29 Path segment "C" is an existing
walk through ,the Farmers' Market parking area.
Path segment "D," though, does not yet exist. This waterside
walk would connect the Farmers' Market to a proposed pedestrian
bridge at point "F. "30 The path would run along a thin strip of
N.Y.S. D.o.T. Barge Canal land. Path construction, therefore,
would require approval by the D.o.T's Waterways Maintenance
Division. (The cluster of buildings east of path "D" are also owned
· by the D.o.T., but are separately administered by its highway divi-
sion.)
This brings us to the blue-colored areas which - in sum -
constitute the top substitute park land preference.
The long, narrow marshy /shrubby /woody strip labeled "E"
(and including point "F") is part of the original course of the
Cayuga Inlet. This old waterway - now owned by the D.o.T's
highway division - has been largely filled in. The parcel's
development potential is limited by its history as a stream bed. The
new Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility was built just
northeast on another part of the old Inlet stream bed, and its
construction required pilings to be driven into the mucky earth for
an entire summer.
Acquisition of this strip as park land would allow the City to
build a new path connecting path "C" to point "F." It would also
allow the City to build a pedestrian bridge over the marshy ditch
separating proposed path "D" from the point where the letter "F"
appears on the map.
Also suggested for park acquisition is the thin path segment
labeled "G," which would connect point "F" to the waterfront
woods labeled "H." This path segment is indicated by blue dashes
on the map. It would be thin, maybe only twelve feet wide, and
would run first on the west side and then on the east side of Third
Street Extension. No portion of the street itself, of course, would
have park status. Full access must be maintained to the Cornell
boathouse, the Ithaca College boathouse and a nearby privately-
owned building. ·
The woods labeled "H" are also suggested for park acquisition.
The railroad tracks come quite close to the Cayuga Inlet at this
point. The remaining land is narrow, and a sloping bank runs
through it. Both factors limit its development potential. Further-
more, the 1976 Ithaca Waterways Study suggested placing a green
buffer zone here, to shield Inlet Island from the "industrial-
commercial uses" east of the tracks.
The final element suggested for park status is the thin path
segment labeled "I," also indicated by blue dashes. Like segment
"G," it would be quite thin, perhaps twelve feet wide. Non-park
access points would be provided to the prime development land
located between path "I" and the Inlet.
Path segment "J" would provide the final link to Buffalo Street
(and, via Buffalo Street, to Inlet Island). Path segment "J" could
potentially follow three different routes, pending further study. It
would not have park designation, due to its proximity to private
functions.
Second Preference.
Second choice for substitute land is the area colored green and
labeled "0" on Figure 21. This tree-covered land is part of the
lagoon-like area ofwater and woods south of the State Street bridge
over the Cayuga Inlet. Five beautiful "fingers" of water converge
53
FIGURE 21. The map shows existing and
proposed pedestrian paths in the Inlet
Island vicinity. Some of these routes are
intended for bicycles1 as well. The paths
«proposed)) greatly outnumber those
«existing.'' The blue areas constitute the
first preference, and the green area the
second choice1 for new park land to
substitute for park to be alienated and
converted under the Inlet Island Land
Use Plan.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
54
31 . This City-owned land was part of a
four-parcel March 6, 1967 City pur-
chase from the Lehigh Valley Railroad
Company. One of these four parcds was
the 1967 Cass Park purchase, funded in
part by federa'l Land and Water Con-
servation Fund monies, according to a
December 18, 1967 agreement. The
question arises: Did the December 18
agreement apply this federal funding to
the other three parcels bought on
March 6, as well? If so, they, too, are
rigidly restricted to park usc by federal
regulations. In a December 26, 1991
conversation with John Schroeder,
Robert Gonet (Regional Program Spe-
cialist for the N .Y.S. Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation)
stated that, to the best of his knowl-
edge, Land and Water Conservation
Fund monies were not applied to the
other three parcels, all of which are
south of State Street. He could not state
this, however, with absolute certainty.
32. See Item 18.2 in the minutes of the
February 6, 1991 Common Council
meeting.
FIGURE 22. The yellow vertically-striped
area is the third preference for park land
to substitute for park to be alienated and
conJ1erted under the Inlet Island Land
Usc Plan. The diagonally-striped areas
have already been chosen as substitute
pa:rk land for the N. Y.S. D.o. T's Route
96 project park takings. In the midst of
both striped areas is one parcel (in white)
already owned by the City, and a second
parcel (also white) over which the City
will obtain an easement. The easement
will accommodate the Cayuga Inlet
Trail, and preserve a corridor for a
possible future a west Hill collector road.''
The letter (CM" here corresponds to the
mme letter on Fi._11urc 21.
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
here: Six Mile Creek, the old "Relief Channel," a short unnamed
fork of water pointing southwest, the upstream half of the Cayuga
Inlet, and the downstream half of the Inlet.
The land proposed for acquisition is now owned by Conrail,
and it lies directly east of land already owned by the City. 31 This
City-owned land is labeled "N" on the map. The 1982 Final
Report: Cayuga Inlet and Island Project proposed that area "N"
become a "natural park" with looping trails for active recreation,
and that area "0" be acquired by the City for passive recreation.
The report further suggested that an old railroad bridge (at "M") be
used to connect the "natural park" with Inlet Island. (The bed of
this bridge is gone, but its principal heavy girders remain.) Path
segment "L" shows one possible link through City-owned land to
the major Inlet Island pedestrian routes ("I(") proposed in the Inlet
Island Land Use Plan.
Acquiring the Conrail parcel as park land would bring this
whole intriguing concept one step closer to reality. The purchase
would also help preserve the beauty of the entire lagoon area.
Of the total land owned by Conrail here, only the portion to
the northwest of the still-active railroad corridor would be
considered for potential park use. Conrail has no apparent use for
this northwest portion, as the railroad spur that once passed through
it was abandoned years ago. ·
Third Preference.
Ranked third is part of a parcel owned by Reuben Weiner close
to the Cayuga Inlet. The general area suggested is striped vertically
and colored yellow on Figure 22.
This area adjoins land, striped diagonally on Figure 22, already
slated to replace Inlet Island park land that will be used for the new
Route 96 project highway corridors. 32 The two diagonally-striped
areas (and an intervening parcel over which the City will hold an
easement) will together provide a crucial link in the Cayuga Inlet
Trail - a proposed bicycle and pedestrian path which some day will
link Taughannock Falls State Park, Cass Park, Allan H. Treman
State Marine Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H.
D
0
¥A7E's
~ }__Q R__ Ab ~
G S : T ~ c S 2
0
t} I
Tren1an State Parle
The additional substitute park land in the yellow vertically-
striped area would con1plement and buffer the future recreation
way.
Portions of the Cayuga Inlet Trail route are illustrated on
Figure 21. One trail segment already exists: the bike and foot path
(labeled "P") which proceeds along the Flood Control Channel's
west bank north of State Street. Segment "Q" will be a future leg,
extending (as arrow "R" indicates) all the way to Taughannock Falls
State Parl<. Another future leg ("S") will head south (as arrow "T"
indicates) all the way to Buttermilk Falls and Robert H. Treman
State Paries.
One can follow this last trail leg south along the Flood Control
Channel from Figure 21 onto Figure 22, where the illustrated trail
portion extends from the arrow at "U" to the arrow at "W." A
proposed bicycle and pedestrian bridge will span the channel at
l9cation "V." The trail will pass through the two diagonally-striped
areas, and pass by the yellow vertically-striped area.
After Route 96 project completion, Inlet Island will have three
direct bicycle and pedestrian connections to the Cayuga Inlet Trail
via the old State Street bridge and the new Route 96 and Route 89
bridges. Thus, Inlet Island will eventually have direct bike and
hiking connections to all major regional state parks.
The Cherry Street Industrial Park is just north of the Weiner
parcel, and both areas are zoned industrial. The Weiner parcel's
northernmost portion should not become park land, since ultimately
the City may wish to expand the industrial park southward.
If all the paths and connections shown on Figures 21 and 22
come into being, the City will possess one of the most compre-
hensive and beautiful waterfront greenway systems in the United
States. Each preferred substitute park land location would help build
or enhance this furore greenway network. Inlet Island can become a
focal point for appreciating the civic and natural beauty of the whole
southern Cayuga Lake region.
Available Funding for Substitute Park Land.
According to Director of Planning and Development H.
Matthys Van Cort, Common Council has set aside three "pots" of
money which could fund substitute park land purchases:
( 1) A capital project for West End Development contains
$78,850.00.
(2) A capital project for Southwest Park Development contains
$66,126.62.
( 3) Capital R.eserve Fund No. 26 for Six Mile Creek land
acquisition contains $166,000. This money could only be used,
though, for substitute park land located in the Six Mile Creek valley.
55
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE COMMITTEE
56
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
Bibliography.
Previous Studies and Other Resources
Relevant to Inlet Island.
Book of Aerial Photos of Ithaca
1933 A hand-made volume of annotated aerial photo
graphs of Ithaca taken by local photographer
Cervin Robinson; the book is preserved in City
Hall.
Ithaca Flood Protection Project) Composite Taking Maps
1967 Maps dated February 28, 1967 prepared by Konski
Engineers of Syracuse, New York.
Ithaca) N.Y.: A General Plan
1971 Ithaca, N.Y.: A master pian for Ithaca prepared by
the City Planning Board.
Cayuga Inlet Study
1974 Ithaca, N.Y.: Inlet Island area planning strategies
prepared for the City by Henk DeBakker, Charles
Henkels, and other Cornell University College of
Architecture, Art and Planning graduate students.
Ithaca Waterways Study
1976 Ithaca, N.Y.: A study of all City waterways and
adjacent land areas - including the Cayuga Inlet
and Inlet Island - prepared by the Department of
Planning and Development.
Final Report: Cayuga Inlet and Island Project
1982 Ithaca, N.Y.: Analysis of existing conditions and
development potential on Inlet Island and its near
vicinity prepared for the City by Trowbridge-
Trowbridge and Roger Trancik.
57
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
58
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
The Ithaca Journal,
((The Past R.egained: A Neig[h]borhood)s Small-Scale RevivaF)
1986 Ithaca, N.Y.: A May 14 article discussing reaction
to the West End model built by David Fogel; the
model shows how the West End appeared prior to
construction of the Flood Control Channel.
An Analysis and Evaluation of Octopus I Route 96 Alternative Plans
1987 Ithaca, N.Y.: Planning / Environmental Research
Consultants.
Ithaca)s Neighborhoods: The Rhine, the Hill and the Goose Pasture
1988 Ithaca, N.Y.: Edited by Carol U. Sisler, Margaret
Hobbie and Jane Marsh Dieckmann; published by
DeWitt Historical Society ofTompkins County.
Transportation Project l{eport:
Design Report I Draft Environmental Impact Statement
and Section 4(f) Evaluation) R.oute 96 Improvement
1988 Albany, N.Y.: Prepared by the U.S. Department of
Transportation Federal Highway Administration
and the N.Y.S. Department of Transportation.
Visual Resources Assessment, Route 96, Ithaca, N.Y.
1988 Albany, N.Y.: Prepared for the N.Y.S. Departinent
of Transportation by Young Associates of Greene,
N.Y.
Guide to the Alienation or Conversion of Municipal Parklands
1990 Albany, N.Y.: Prepared by N.Y.S. Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Appendix A.
Permanent Flood Control Channel Easement:
The Language of the Restrictions.
The Existing Perpetual Basement for Flood Control Purposes
On Various Inlet Island Properties Reads as Follows:
A permanent easement for the rights to construct, reconstruct,
maintain and operate thereon, (I) Levees or dikes, (2) Work Area,
( 3) Landscaping, and ( 4) Appurtenances to all structures; and
including the rights to ( 1) Remove therefrom any or all materials
excavated, cut, razed or torn down form the area described herein,
or deposit any material thereon, (2) Protect the bank of improved
creek and/or walls adjacent thereto, by any method deemed
necessary by the owner of this easement, ( 3) Grade, ( 4) Clear and
grub of trees, shrubs, brush, debris and structures, ( 5) Place, keep
and operate machines, tools, and equipment; with the rights at all
times of ingress, egress or regress by the State of New York, its
assigns and/or their agents in the improvement for purposes con-
nected with the Flood Protection Project, in and to and within the
bounds of all that piece or parcel of property hereinafter designated
as Parcel No. , situated in the City /Town of Ithaca,
county of Tompkins and State of New York, as shown on the
accompanying map and described as follows: __ _
59
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
60
lNLETlSLAND LAND UsE COMMITTEE
Appendix B.
License for Discontinued Portion
Of Old Taughannock Boulevard.
Excerpt Nwnber One,
From Board of Public Works Proceedings, May 12, 197 6:
PUBLIC HEARING -
DISCONTINUANCE OF TAUGHANNOCK BOULEVARD
Resolution to o_gen hearing
By Comm. Schickel: seconded by Comm. Shaw
Vice Chm. Ewanicki reported as follows:
It is proposed to license Inlet Park Marina to use the discontinued
portion. This license would be in exchange for the conveyance to
the city by Inlet Park Marina of a portion of the bed of Cascadilla
Street. The portion of Taughannock Boulevard to be discontinued
is not presently used by vehicles other than those proceeding to and
from Inlet Park Marina. If discontinued, the city would erect at its
expense a movable barricade. No action on the discontinuance is
recommended until the City Attorney indicates that he has prepared
the proposed license and is ready to proceed.
No one appeared to speak at the public hearing.
Motion to close hearing
By Comm. Shaw: seconded by Comm. Schickel
RESOLVED, That the public hearing be closed.
Carried
Excerpt Number Two,
From Board of Public Works Proceedings, April 2 7, 1977:
Discontinuance of a Portion ofTaughannock Boulevard
Comm. Schickel reported that on May 12, 197 6, the Board of
Public Works held a hearing on the discontinuance of a portion of
61
INLET ISLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
62
INLET ISLAND LAND USE COMMITTEE
Taughannock Boulevard, more particularly, the most northerly 150
feet of the Boulevard at its intersection with the Flood Control
Channel. No one appeared to speak at the public hearing.
Resolution
By Comm. Schickel: Seconded by Comm. Baldini
RESOLVED, That that portion ofTaughannock Boulevard, being
approximately the most northerly 150 feet before its intersection
with the Flood Control Channel, as more particularly shown on a
map entitled 'Portion of Taughannock Boulevard to be Discon-
tinued,['] prepared by the Office of City Engineer, May 10, 1976,
be discontinued.
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Mayor and City Clerk be
authorized to execute a revocable license to Inlet Park Marina
containing the following provisions:
I. That the City hereby grants a revocable license to the licensee
to use the premises described as follows: That portion of
Taughannock Boulevard northerly to the easterly permanent
2.
3.
4.
5.
easen1ent line of the flood control channel fron1 a line which
is normal to the street center line from a point of the easterly
right-of-way line being a pipe set flush with the ground; said
pipe being 77.1' S 16° 55' E. of a pipe set at the corner of
the riorth property line of Inlet Park Marina and the easterly
right-of-way line ofTaughannock Boulevard.
That the city of Ithaca will erect a moveable gate at the
location indicated on the attached map which is attached
hereto and made a part hereof.
That the licensee shall maintain the said premises.
That this license be revocable upon 30 days' notice by either
party to the other.
That the licensee agrees to defend and hold the City harmless
from any claims arising out of the licensee's use, occupation,
or maintenance of the said premises.
Carried Unanimously
Appendix C.
Permit to Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 2-2
For Use of D.o. T. Land at Tip of Inlet Island.
Permit No. 71•1-Zl
STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
WATERWAYS MAINTENANCE SUBDIVISION
REVOCABLE PERMIT
Issued Pursuant to Article X of the Canal Law
AI bany,. felmaary
9
19 _.!.!.
u .•. CDaat Auxillar, rtotllla 2·2· lDe. eo.tt Guard Jolat,
WHEREAS, tauJheiPIOCk loul ... rd, ltllaoa, ICe¥ 1odt 14850
hereinafter referred to as the "licensee," has made application (or permission to t!!porarl ly .. ke
u•• of porUou of kra• Caul lareelt 43.58•1, 43S9 aad T·21 at Ca7up l11let
rotat, lth.ca, lev tork to t.aautlfy the aru for an by tha poft'al put.Uc
THEREFORE, permission is hereby granted to said licensee to
make u1e of
port1ont of Barae Caaal 4358·1, 4359 and T·21 at C.yuaa Inlet Polat,
luaca, llev ton to beautifJ the aru for v.. by tbe pneral public •• ahova
as asked for in said application and described above, at _l_t_• ___ own cost and expense, upon the
following conditions and restrictions:
1st. This permit shall not be assigned or transferred without the written permission of the
Commissioner of Transportation.
2nd. All work authorized by this permit shall..be done in accordance with any maps, plans and
profiles which may be on file in this office, and I or in accordance with the special and general condi·
lions hereinafter set forth, or directions which may be given by the Commissioner of Transportation. An}'
63
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
64
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
structures erected upon canal lands by right of this permit shall not be changed in any way without first
receiving written permission of the Commissioner of Transportation to do so.
3rd. All work authorized by this J)ermit shall be done under the supervision of the Commission-
er of Transponation or an Inspector to be appointed by him. The work shall not be commenced until such
time as the officially signed copy of the permit is received by the licensee. The work shall be done at
such times as the Commissioner of Transportation shall direct, so as not to interfere with the free and
perfect use of the canals, or endanger the lives or property of any persons, and particularly of those en-
gaged in repairing, operating or navigating the canal.
4th. !n the event that any vessel or float is subjected to delay by reason of the work author-
ized by this permit, the licensee shall pay to the owner of such vessel or float so delayed, such amount
as will fairly compensate such owner for the delay or loss of time occasioned to him by the operations
herein authorized; and in the event that the licensee and the owner are unable to agree as to the amount
of compensation to paid for such delay the amount of such payment shall 'Pe d!!termined by the Commis-
sioner of Transportation. The sum fixed by him shall be binding upon and paid by the licensee to such
owner. The Inspector appointed by the CommissionerofTransportation pursuant to the third paragraph of
of this permit, shall ascertain whether or not any boats have been delayed by the work. herein Ruthorized,
and shall determine the extent of damages suffered, and shall report suc.h facts to the Commissioner
of Trans?ortation, for his final determination.
5th. Any and all canal banks or other structures which may be disturbed or interfered with
during the progress of the work shall be restored to a perfect condition by the licensee at •
----- own cost and expense.
6th. Except insofar as they are specifically modified herein, the rules and regulations govern-
ing navigation and use o{ the New York State Barge Canal System, are hereby made a part of thls permit.
SPECIAL SPECIFICATIONS AND CONDITIONS
(a) 'I'M WR of Mallttfleatloa allall DOt be doDe uatU tbe a..tadner of 'fraaaportat1on
01' lala npnentatift Me ben aoUfled, aDd ful'tber, ncb wd Hell be do• In accordaDCI
wltla dlnc:Uona Jl'IU by tlae a...s.ato..r af traqport.tlaa or lata ...,.. .. at.atbe,
(b) Tba ua• of aalcl lead ata.U be at tbe aole riak of tbe ueeu .. , tbe ltate accepUQS ao
na-,o•llt1Uty wbatnft h 0. .. n ... , and tile State of lew ton, lta qeaca aDd -.107"'
.... u llaft t .. l'talat to utu apoa aiMI .. ka uae af tbe lellll nfened U.. later .. t•
of tM ltate ..U .._. .. r,.
(c) W4 lead ta to 1te .......... Uf bJ tbe u..U .. Pd durilll pei'locl' in Vb.lcb tbe penlt
IIQ .....0 la terce, eM ,....._ ... •'-11 M -.tatalaed la a olua ..S .. Dltai'J eondltlon,
1D wutea of • .,. .kind an allewd oa U. laa4 or !b ' tiM ... tua. · ·.
<•) a.tu .. .._ •f null ... acl"'llt tnu •llall •t M •• ...,.,t u dlreatecl bJ tile eo..
of 'l ..... penauon or lll1 nprae11tatlft, aDd U • .,. la to be done, lt aball
M ._ .. tllracted .,. tM ea-.J.••loaer of trauportaUoa or b1e npnMatathe. Cut bruah
aDd tne lt.be .at 'M dllpoMCI of oft lt.ata land and ao lh• trMI ab&U be r..,..S.
(e) m ftUCIVUI WILL I& AU0V1D OJ ftA1'1 UMD. .
(f) 111 paDtl .. tble peralt, act ritllt 01' title 11 COIWeJM to tbe llcen ... nor ell!.y OVMnhlp
ft taten.U of aDJ Und ID tt.e lead enered bJ tbe .,.ratt.
(a) All lt.ate 1.- ... lor npletlo• nprdl .. .oas. .. , bulldlq, pollution, Uttertna,
... ..-... or prt.aa• dS.1,oaal .uat be obaernd.
Ua) 1M paatlq of till• penlt 11 for tbe occu,.nc:y of aald laod t.y the Uoen .. • aDd no
l ... U.. natlaa ft ••• of ,... vlll be elloved.
(I) Tille ....... tllat d.. State propert7 alaall IN uaM Ml1l7 for tbe purpoM 11
lta&ed lD tbe ,.Nit,
(j) • lDtmanace •hall be W vttb otbera .., bold ,.natu for tbe occupaQCJ of State
...... edjac-t to tM ..... cownd t.laia ,.ratt.
(k) n. uc ..... 1.1 rlqldhd to f\li'Diab tbia depart.ut witb • c ... uflcata of i'ubl1c J.J..ablllty
lMunDce Ia •ccordaaee vltb ton 26.
7th. The u:;e of snid lund shall be subject at nil lime!; to the interest of the Stole in the ma .king
of improvements nnd repairs to the canal. system or work in connection thert•with . The Commissioucro(
employees ond contractors, shull ol all times have the right of entry thereon,
H in the judgment of the the Stole's int<."rcst shn11 require .
Sth. The licensee undcrtRkes and agrees to indemnify 01nd snve hormless the Stute, its o.fficcrs.
or employees, fro;n any and oil claims, demunds nnd recoveries nrising out of the use or mnnner of usc
mude by the licensee of the property which is t'he subject mutter of this permit und shall furnish upun rc-
quest to the Commissioner of Transportntion, evidence of required protective liability insurnncc.
9th. The work authorized by this permit shall be commenced prompt ond progressed to com-
pletion without delay; ond in the event that such work is not so commenced ond prugres!:ed to the sulili·
faction of the CommissiunerofTrnnspon:uion, this permit shall be deemed to be revoked, ond snid work
shall not be resumed without a renewal or this permit in writing by the Commissioner of Trnnspon:Hion.
lOth. The .CommissionerofTransponation reserves the right at lilny time to revohe and annul
this permit, whereupon it shall become the duty of the licensee, at ,. __ i_t_s__ own cost and expense,
forthwith to remove from the property which is the subject matter or this permit, any and all works ond
structures erected by __ i.....,t___ ·thereon, and vucate and surrender to the Stntc possession thereof.
Upon failure o( the licensee to remove such works ond structures, the Comroi ssioner <'f Tran:;ponmion
may summarily enter upon and remove from· said premises any and all encroachments and or the
licensee, at the licensee's own cost and expense.
Notice of revocation may be given to the licensee personal!y or by mailing to _........_.._____ _
a notice to that effect enclosed in a postpaid wrapper addressed to _ _ nt
No. Tauahannock Blyd. street, __ _________ N.Y. 14850
11th. This permit shall not .become effective, nor shall any work be commenced under the snme,
until the original thereof has been executed by the applicant, signed by the Commissionero(Trnns-
portation, the offic:ol seal of the Stutc o.>f New York atlochcd hereto, and an executed copy of th<: pc.rmil
received by the
f2th. In accepting this.pcrmit the soid licensee has in mind the possibility of the sol e or olhc:-
wise by the State. of the land referred to, without notice, and in such event the permission hereby
granted will automatically terminate.
13th. No refund will be made to the licensee or other party, of any portion of the fcc po id
tho use of tho! State property should this permit be cancelle<i within the specified time Cor which the fee
b1..-cn pold.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the oHicial scnl
of said office, the day and year first above written.
T. W. PARKER

r:()I/111/ISSIOnCT u/1'rlln.ff10T/Q,Ivli
JOSEPH R. STELLATO
Director of Waterways Mointenance
ACCEPTANCE OF PERMIT
The ·lmciersigned hereby accepis the foregoing revocable permit ond fllilhfully to comply
wlth oil the terms and conditions thereof.
65
Doted .. _____ It_h_a_c_a______ . February 11, .
19
________________ ___
U. S. COAST GUARD 2-2 Inc.
the corporation described in and which executed lbe foregoing instrument; that he knows the seal of
By Paul R. Sandefur Flotilla Coannander
said corporation; that the seal a££ixed to said instrument is such corporate seal; that it was so affixed
by authority of the Board of Directors of said corporation, and that he signed his name thereto by like
rAcknowledgment, if an indiyidual) authority .
Joseph E. Burun 3/30/71
STATE OF NEW YORK }
County of-----. &&. :
Notary Public
On this ------- ----- day of-----------
, 19 ---.before
(Acknowledgment , if a firm or co-partnership.)
me, the subscriber, personally appeared------------------------
to me known to be the person described in, and who executed the foregoing instrument, and he duly
acknowledged to me that he executed the same.
STATE OF' NEW YORK }
County of----- ss.:
On thts _____________ day of ___________ , 19 -- , before
Notary Public
me, the subscriber, ---------- -------,to me known and
.known to me to be the individual who executed the foregoing instrument as a member of the co-partner·
(Acknowledgment, if a corporation . )
STATE OF NEW YORK }
Tompkins ss . :
County of ----=-------
ship of-------------------------- , who, being by me .duly sworn,
did depose and say that he resides that he is a member of
the above-named co-partnership which is composed of himself and --------------
11 February 71
On this------- ------ day of-------=------, 19 __ ,before - -------------- ; who are all persons interested therein; that he executed the
Paul R. · Sandefur
me, the subscriber personally came--------------------------
(oregoing instrument on behalf olthe said co-partnership and as a member thcreof;thol he was authorized
to me known, who being by me duly sworn, did depose and say that he resides in --------- to execute the same; ond he 9Cknowledgcd tu mo thut he executed the sornc nn hcholf of the suid co-
Ithaca, · New York ; th&t he is the .Flotilla Commander
""'' ner:;hi 11 fnr the purpost•s I hur•·i 11 shtlo•d .
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
66
INLET IsLAND LAND UsE CoMMITTEE
Appendix D.
Letter From 'State Parks, J Finger Lakes Region,
Concerning Status of Inlet Island Park Land.
Mr. Benjamin Nichols, Mayor
City of Ithaca
108 East Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Dear Mayor Nichols:
November IS, 1990
RE: 36-00053
Some time has passed since conversion issues have been raised concerning the
Inlet Island portion of this project. lhe City's wish to formally convert Inlet
Island have been under discussion since 1982, existing conversions have been known
since 1985.
Since the initial discussions about existing conversions began some progress has
been made towards returning the site to park use:
• The Farmer's Market relocated to Steamboat Landing.
• The Ithaca Boating Center has vacated the former Agway property.
There remain additional conversions on the Inlet Island site:
• Encroachment by the Station Restaurant along the southern boundary.
• Possible encroachment by businesses located along Old Taughannock Boulevard.
• The general poor condition of the site is also a conversion.
This project has been discussed at several levels. In order to .remediate
existing conversions and bring the project into compliance with Land and Water
·Conservation Fund guidelines, the City is directed, by May 15, 1991, to:
• Establish the 6(f)(3) boundaries of Inlet Island on the ground by survey.
• Cease all existing conversions of the site and return the site to park use.
• Remove facilities that do not comply with Land and Water Conservation Fund
guidelines.
RFG:ked
Very truly yours,
OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION AND
AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Andrew R. Mazzella
Regional Director
• +1 cTT1}_)(£c;i'
IRobert F. Gonet
Regional Program Specialist
67
INLET ISLAND LAND USE CoMMITTEE

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