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City Government, Tompkins County

Common Council Honors Award Recipients, Designates Historic District

By: Emily Miles and Kyle Roberston

At its meeting Feb. 6, the Ithaca Common Council made several moves to make progressive action in the City.

The Council granted the J. Diann Sams annual African American History Month Recognition Award to J.R. and Leslyn McBean Clairborne. J.R. Clairborne, a former reporter and current second ward representative who is the longest serving member on the Council, was recognized after his address after the Soup and Hope Talk on Jan. 31, and for his and his wife’s support of local charity, Loaves and Fishes.

WICB News talked to Clairborne about receiving this honor.

“I’m ecstatic mainly because my wife was a core recipient,” he said after the meeting. “She’s done some amazing things. But also to just have my own name associated with the past recipients of this award and myself to be linked with Diann’s name and her memory. She was someone who was very much a titan who really believed in advocating for the underrepresented and the unrepresented.”

The Council also approved the creation of a new historic district between Green Street and Titus Avenue. This Henry Saint John historic designation means exterior alterations within its boundaries would require certification from the City’s Landmarks Preservation Association and make property owners eligible for federal tax grants.

Svante Myrick says preserving this area is important because the City wants to grow and develop while maintaining its “existing character.”

“Henry St. John neighborhood is [a] beautiful, historic, walkable neighborhood near our downtown,” Myrick says. “As we develop our downtown, that neighborhood would be a prime target for high rise development if it weren’t protected with this historic preservation.”

In addition, the Council approved a $142,500 settlement with construction company Crane Hogan Structural Systems after a contract dispute over work in the Green Street parking garage. The City withheld payments to Crane Hogan when work was not completed when scheduled and the argument stemmed from who was to blame over delay. Crane Hogan originally sought over $370,000 of compensation.


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