ADVOCACY ALERT: FORMER NO. 9 FIRE STATION SENT TO COMMON COUNCIL
A recap of the process: The individual landmark nomination for the former No. 9 Fire Station at 311 College Ave received a positive designation vote at the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (ILPC) on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. The Planning Board also recommended designation in a vote at its meeting at the end of February. (Read more about the meeting from Matt Butler’s coverage in the Ithaca Times.)
The designation moved on for discussion at the March Planning and Economic Development Committee (PEDC) meeting, where the nomination was sent back to the ILPC for reconsideration at their April meeting. The ILPC hosted a site visit to the former fire station on Tuesday, April 24, to assess the architectural integrity of the wood-frame part built in 1894-1895.
ILPC members voted at their Tuesday, May 8th, meeting that the rear portion of the building should be considered a non-contributing part of the nomination. From there, the nomination moved on to the PEDC meeting on Wednesday, May 9th, where it was approved 3-2 to be sent to the Common Council for a vote at its June 6, 2018 meeting. (Read more about the discussion in Brian Crandall’s coverage in the Ithaca Voice.)
Why is the No. 9 Fire Station significant and why should it be designated?
• It is architecturally significant as a nearly intact example of a turn-of-the-20th century neighborhood fire station built in response to pressing fire safety needs on Ithaca’s East Hill.
• It is closely associated with the growth and development of Cornell University and the Collegetown neighborhood. Its origin and institutional support over the late-19th and early-20th centuries reflect a true town-gown relationship. It stands as an important built resource pointing to that significant history.
• It is significant for its close association with three locally prominent architects. Clinton L. Vivian and Arthur N. Gibb designed the original portion of the firehouse (now at the rear), and Gibb and Ornan H. Waltz designed the three-story brick and stucco addition on the front that is visible from College Avenue. These three architects worked on a large number of buildings throughout the city of Ithaca and shaped its built environment in lasting ways.
• The No. 9 Fire Station served as a physical, social, and residential connector between Cornell University and the mixed-use neighborhood on East Hill. Its presence and original use are directly tied to the growth of Cornell University and Collegetown.
For more information about the history of the No. 9 Fire Station, read Charley Githler’s “A Look Back At” column (October 2, 2017) in Tompkins Weekly, “Before the Nines.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The most important CALL TO ACTION is to call or email City of Ithaca Common Council members and to attend the Common Council meeting on Wednesday, June 6th, to let the Common Council members know that you support the individual landmark designation of this community asset. Please refer to the building as the “No. 9 Fire Station” with its street address of 311 College Avenue and NOT as “The Nines” to avoid confusion with saving the business. The nomination is focused on the building as the historic cultural resource to be individually designated.
Svante L. Myrick, Mayor
George McGonigal, 1st Ward
Cynthia Brock, 1st Ward
Joseph “Seph” Murtagh, 2nd Ward
Phone: (607) 269-7759
Ducson Nguyen, 2nd Ward
Phone: (607) 269-7877
Donna Fleming, 3rd Ward
Rob Gearhart, 3rd Ward
Phone: (607) 275-9943
Graham Kerslick, 4th Ward
Stephen J. Smith, 4th Ward
Laura Lewis, 5th Ward
Phone: (607) 279-2075
Deborah Mohlenhoff, 5th Ward