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Ithaca: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Ithaca, with its ready access to the New York State Barge Canal, is an important inland shipping port. Other industries include agriculture, dairy farming, and business machine manufacturing.

High-technology firms, biotechnology, and electronics represent a rapidly growing sector of the Ithaca economic picture. The research activity at Cornell University is largely responsible for this expansion of "clean" industries. The University's Center for Advanced Technology-Biotechnology offers a wide range of services. In addition, Ithaca has a highly skilled work force. These factors have combined to provide many advantages on which new businesses are able to capitalize.

Traditional manufacturing remains a major industry in Ithaca. Borg Warner Automotive, Ithaca Peripherals, and Ithaca Space Systems have made major investments in technology and facilities in recent years. Local business growth is assisted by Cornell University's Center for Manufacturing Enterprise and the National Nanofabrication Facility, also at Cornell.

Agriculture represents a $90 million export industry that makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Agriculture research, plant science, and other research facilities attract start-up companies to the area. Tourism, especially prevalent in summer, adds another dimension to the local economy. The lakes, gorges, bed and breakfast inns, and wineries attract visitors from many parts of the world.

Ithaca has developed a local currency program called HOURS. Members of the local community can use HOURS bills to pay for rent, food, child care, and car and home repairs. While the currency is taxable income when it is used for trades that normally would be taxed, HOURS income does not reduce a person's eligibility for Social Security benefits. Supporters of the program say that it brings the community together and that the money supplied by the program is not tied to federal conditions. The program is so successful that as of 2004, at least 27 other communities in the United States had established currency programs modeled after that founded in Ithaca.

Items and goods produced: textiles, metal products, salt, electronic items, automobile and engine parts, scientific instruments, shotguns, chain drives, stokers, dairy, grain

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

In order to assist new and expanding businesses, the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency offers a variety of loans, including Community Development Revolving Loans that provide below-market-rate financing to businesses throughout the city to fund activity that results in creation or retention of jobs; very low interest rate loans to encourage investment in the West State Street corridor, West End, and Downtown areas; and Community Enterprises Opportunity Micro-Enterprise Revolving Loans of up to $5,000 for persons seeking to start or expand a small business in Ithaca. Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) was formed in 1976 to refurbish dilapidated housing and create new rental units and homes for purchase; INHS invested $7.6 million in the community in 2003-04, refurbished 283 units, and assisted 57 families in purchasing homes.

State programs

The State of New York offers a variety of programs to provide financing for new and expanding businesses. They include assistance with site location, new facility construction, existing facility expansion, and modernizing of existing operations. The state also provides tax credits, exemptions, and abatements for business firms expanding in or relocating to New York. They include investment tax credits, research and development tax credits, sales tax exemptions, real property tax abatements, and economic development zone tax credits. The State of New York imposes property taxes on real property only, and not on personal property. Financial incentives are offered through the Regional Development Corporation, New York Job Development Authority, and Urban Development Corporation.

Job training programs

The Empire State Development Business Assistance Services section refers employers to a source of potential employees, identifies expert instructors, helps the company to develop a training program, and provides funding assistance.

Development Projects

The new $6.4 million Ithaca Public Library was completed in 2001. In 2005 Cornell University completed two new residence halls, the first in the state to earn "green" building certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's status. Under construction is the Ambulatory Care and Medical Education facility, a 330,000 square foot, multi-million dollar project of the Weill Cornell Medical College. Other projects include industrial parks at the Southwest Park and West End Development sites and the ongoing construction of the Center for Enterprise, Technology, and Commercialization. Ithaca's Ecovillage includes two neighborhoods of 30 homes each, built around a common area with emphasis on green construction and social sustainability. The third Ecovillage common house is scheduled for completion in 2005, and two other neighborhoods are planned.

Economic Development Information: City of Ithaca Planning and Development Department, 108 E. Green St., Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)274-6550. Empire State Development, Southern Tier Regional Center, Room 1508, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton, NY 13901; telephone (607)721-8605

Commercial Shipping

Freight service is provided by Conrail. More than one-third of the population of the country lives within a day's drive of Ithaca.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Ithaca has a diverse and highly educated labor force; 26.3 percent of the members of the labor pool have bachelor's degrees, and 31.6 percent have graduate or professional degrees.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Ithaca area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 61,300

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 1,100

manufacturing: 3,900

trade, transportation, and utilities: 6,200

information: 600

financial activities: 1,600

professional and business services: 2,700

educational and health services: 31,200

leisure and hospitality: 3,800

other services: 1,300

government: 8,600

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $17.29

Unemployment rate: 3.0% (May 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
Cornell University 8,572
Borg-Warner Automotive 1,400
Ithaca City School District 1,150
Ithaca College 985
County of Tompkins 800
Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca 800
Wegman's Food Markets 650
Emerson Power Transmission 500

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Ithaca area.

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

State income tax rate: 4% to 7.7% (corporate business tax rate: 7.5%)

State sales tax rate: 4.25%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.5%

Property tax rate: $2.026 per $100 of assessed value of real property (2005)

Economic Information: Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, 904 East Shore Dr., Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)273-7080

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Ithaca: Recreation


Ithaca's Sciencenter offers more than 100 exhibits, including a walk-in camera, water raceway, and a moving two-story ball sculpture, as well as live demonstrations on topics such as homing pigeons and how computers work. The Sagan Planet Walk honors the late astronomer Carl Sagan with a three-quarter mile path linking downtown Ithaca and the Sciencenter. Along the walk, the sun and each planet are marked by a monument. New exhibits include Wonder Water and Crystal Creations.

The Tompkins County Museum of the DeWitt Historical Society tells the story of the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County through exhibits and the resources of a reference library. One of the nation's largest collections of fossils is showcased at the Paleontology Research Institution, which displays the diversity of life on earth. The Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary/Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology celebrates the diversity of the world of birds, with a ten-acre pond full of waterfowl, a bird-feeding garden, and a display of bird art.

A trip to Ithaca would not be complete without viewing the lovely waterfalls, cascades, and rapids that line the mile-long Fall Creek Gorge in the city center. Another must is a walking tour of Cornell University, with its wonderful ivy-covered buildings on a hill overlooking the downtown. Cornell Plantations on the university grounds includes an arboretum and botanical garden.

Arts and Culture

Ithaca prides itself on being a community of artists, writers, and performers and offers many performing and fine arts events. The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, houses a large collection of art that spans 40 centuries. Its strongest areas are Asian and contemporary art. Especially notable are its funerary urns, silk paintings, and bronze Buddhas.

Ithaca has brought together some of its most fascinating features in its Discovery Trail, showcasing eight particularly noteworthy attractions for visitors. These include the Sciencenter, the Johnson Museum, and the county library, as well as Cornell's Plantations botanical gardens and arboretum and the Cornell Ornithology Center, the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institute, the Cayuga Nature Center, and the Tompkins County History Center.

Downtown Ithaca's Firehouse Theatre presents a different play every month in its historic setting. The Kitchen Theater presents contemporary plays at its stage in the historic Clinton House. From June through August, the Hangar Theatre in Cass Park presents five Mainstage productions, eight smaller-scale productions, and a children's theater program called KIDDSTUFF.

The Cornell Center for Theatre Arts stages plays from September through May, hosts visiting performers, and presents the Cornell Dance Series. Dillingham Center on the campus of Ithaca College is the site of two college theaters that present offerings from September through May.

Music and dance are also represented by numerous groups. The Ithaca Opera Association produces two major operas annually, as well as workshops for children and adults. The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, a professional group, performs quality music in a variety of styles. The Cayuga Chamber Orchestra ensemble of 35 musicians has a lively season with concerts, chamber concerts, and Christmas presentations for children.

Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music is the focus of the NYS Baroque group. Outdoor concerts are held at various times throughout the year at downtown Ithaca Commons and at the art quad on the Cornell University campus. Ithaca Ballet, Upstate New York's only repertory company, presents a varied repertoire of classical and contemporary works.

Festivals and Holidays

The Apple Harvest Festival in October is a regional celebration of autumn produce, including a craft fair, music, storytelling, and dancing. Ithaca welcomes the holiday season with the coming of Santa Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, a gingerbread house display, and performances by local groups. A wide variety of holiday craft items are on sale at the 12 Shops of Christmas, and musical and other holiday events dot the downtown area during the annual Holiday Tradition and Chili Cook Off. Holiday concerts are presented at sites throughout Ithaca, including the campuses of Cornell University and Ithaca College.

A huge book sale is the highlight of May's calendar, and the event is repeated each October at the Ithaca Public Library. The Maple Sugar Festival takes place every spring at the Cayuga Nature Center. In April, the Sciencenter challenges local residents to design packaging to protect raw eggs; the designs are then tested by being dropped 26-1/4 feet on the Commons in central Ithaca.

June's Ithaca Festival celebrates the local area through music, crafts, theater presentations, food, and fireworks. Juneteenth celebrates the freeing of the slaves at a major festival offering food, music, African drumming, and other events.

Sports for the Spectator

Ithaca is home to nationally ranked collegiate Division I-AA and Division III sports from football to softball, ice hockey to soccer, polo to lacrosse and field hockey. The Cornell Big Red hockey team is traditionally one of the country's strongest and competes regularly for the Division I national championship. Cornell teams play in the Ivy League conference. Many games take place at Cornell's Berman or Schoellkopf fields.

Sports for the Participant

The area is rich in recreational possibilities, with such activities as golf, tennis, mountain biking, hiking, hockey, skiing, rowing, canoeing, sailing, camping, and swimming, among other pursuits. The Allan H. Treman State Marine Park, the second largest inland marina in New York State, provides nearly 400 berths, and offers picnic facilities, fishing, a marina, and a pump-out station. Near downtown, Buttermilk Falls is a perfect spot for walking, with its ten waterfalls, rapids, pools, and cliffs. Robert H. Treman State Park provides an area of rustic beauty and features picnic areas, swimming, and cross-country ski trails. Taughannock Falls State park plunges 215 feet through a rock amphitheater whose walls reach nearly 400 feet. Hiking, camping, and swimming are available on the site. The city recreation department and school system provide youth in Ithaca with opportunities to ski and to play hockey, soccer, basketball, and baseball. Ithaca also features two private and one public 18 hole golf courses and one public 9 hole golf course.

Shopping and Dining

Ithaca's downtown is the site of the Commons, a pedestrian marketplace featuring specialty shops, galleries, book and music stores, and dining spots. Other downtown shopping malls are Center Ithaca and Dewitt Mall. Ithaca's largest indoor mall, with 70 stores, is Pyramid Mall Ithaca, which features three department stores and a cinema complex. Other smaller shopping areas, such as Ithaca Shopping Plaza, Triphammer Mall, Cayuga Mall, East Hill Plaza, and Collegetown dot the community landscape. Summer's Sidewalk Sale Days draws crowds on the lookout for bargains to the downtown pedestrian mall. Vendors at Ithaca's open-air Farmer's Market mall, at the foot of Cayuga Lake, sell an array of the local fruits and vegetables that grow so abundantly in the region.

A wide variety of ethnic cuisines is available in Ithaca's restaurants, ranging from Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, and Mexican to Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Middle Eastern. Popular American fare, including barbecued foods and pizza, are also available. The famous Moosewood Restaurant has gained acclaim and won many awards for its innovative vegetarian fare, and the Moose-wood Cookbook remains popular with cooks throughout the world. The Ithaca Bakery is renowned in the area for its baked goods.

Visitor Information: Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 904 East Shore Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)272-1313; toll-free (800)284-8422

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Ithaca: History

Ithaca Before the Civil War

For centuries, Ithaca was a Cayuga Indian settlement. In 1779 General John Sullivan's Revolutionary War troops drove the local Indians away and burned down their orchards and cornfields. The first white settlers arrived in 1788 and set up farms in fields that had earlier been cleared by the Indians. When the title to the site was given to Revolutionary War veterans, those first pioneers were forced to move on as well. In the 1790s the first grist mill was built. Two years later, a road was cleared from Oxford in Chenango County to Ithaca.

In 1798 Simeon DeWitt, a surveyor-general of New York State, arrived in the area, and soon acquired more than 2,000 acres of land at the southern end of Caygua Lake. At that time, the land that now makes up Ithaca was part of the town of Ulysses. In 1804, DeWitt named the new town Ithaca, after the island home of Ulysses, a popular figure from Greek mythology. In 1817, Tompkins County was formed with Ithaca as its heart. In 1819, the Ithaca Paper Company Mill was built and remained in operation until 1954. In 1821 Ithaca, with a population of about 1,000 residents, was incorporated as a village.

In 1834, the Ithaca-Oswego Railroad's first horse-drawn train began service and in 1834 Ithaca's Village Hall was built. A major flood in 1857 left the city under water for several weeks. Four years later, as the Civil War began, local troops were sent off to fight for the Union cause.

Cornell University Opens, City Prospers

In 1868, Ezra Cornell founded what is now Cornell University, along with his friend Andrew D. White, who later became its first president. In 1874 Ithaca's first local public high school opened. By 1880, when the Ithaca Gun Company was founded, the city population had reached 9,105 people.

In 1888, Ithaca was incorporated and became the twenty-ninth city in the state of New York. Civic development continued with arrangements for streets, water, lighting, streetcars, traffic regulation, and social service programs.

In 1892, W. Grant Egbert founded the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, which later became Ithaca College. The year 1898 marked the incorporation of the Moore Chain Company, later to become part of the Borg-Warner Corporation, an important local employer. In 18991900, the first horseless carriage appeared in Ithaca and a trolley car connected downtown Ithaca to the Cornell campus. When the steamer Frontenac burned about that time, boat transportation came to an end in the area.

Pre-World War II Period

By 1900 Ithaca's population stood at 13,136 people. Twelve years later Ithaca's municipal airport was built at the south end of Cayuga Lake. In 1914, the Wharton brothers, who were film makers, set up a motion picture studio in the city, but the venture only lasted until the early 1920s. During that time, the films Dear Old Girl of Mine and Exploits of Elaine were filmed with Ithaca and Cornell University serving as backgrounds.

The city's population reached 20,708 people in 1930. The next year, Ithaca Conservatory of Music was reorganized and renamed Ithaca College, which in time expanded to specialize in drama and physical education as well as music. The next year, the Tompkins County Courthouse was built in Ithaca. In 1935, disaster struck the Ithaca area, which received more than eight inches of rain in less than twelve hours. As Cayuga Lake rose four and one-half feet above its normal level, a terrible flood ravaged Tompkins County, leaving eleven people dead. Ithaca's airport, golf course, and major parks and fairgrounds were submerged.

Post-War Development

In 1941, as the United States entered World War II, Ithaca's population stood at about 20,000 people. With the coming of war, Ithaca made civil defense plans. Air raid drills were held in the local schools and highway speeds were reduced to 40 miles per hour to conserve gasoline. By the time the war ended in 1945, 174 military men from Tompkins County had met their deaths.

The end of World War II ushered in a new era of development. In 1947 air passenger service started up, linking Ithaca to New York City. By 1950, the city's population stood at 29,257 people. In 1956 42 suburban school districts merged with the Ithaca City School District. In 1960, Ithaca High School opened a new nine-building campus, and from 1960 through 1965, Ithaca College constructed an entirely new campus in the city's South Hill area.

In 1961 Ithaca saw its last passenger train service as the Lehigh Valley Railroad discontinued service to the city. The next year, Mohawk Airlines, later to become part of USAir, brought jet service to the Ithaca area. In 1966, the preservationist society, Historic Ithaca, was formed and two years later a new county public library was constructed.

Ithaca began the 1970s with a population of 26,226 people. The year 1974 saw the opening of the Ithaca Commons pedestrian mall. During that decade, Pyramid Mall Ithaca was constructed and Tompkins County Hospital, later to become known as Cayuga Medical Center, opened a new building.

Events at Century's End

In 1988, Cornell opened its new Center for Theatre Arts and the Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau became operational. By 1990 the city population stood at 29,541 people. The next decade saw the construction of the state-of-the-art Ithaca College Science Building, a new U.S. Post Office, the Sciencenter, a hands-on museum, and a new $11 million terminal at Tompkins County Airport.

USA Today ranked Ithaca number one in its list of "Emerging Cities" in March 2004. Education and tourism continue to be focal points of the Ithaca area; viniculture and technology have also emerged as local industries. It should be noted that "Ithaca" refers to two separate entities: Ithaca city is completely surrounded by, but separate from, Ithaca township. The possibility of a merger between the two entities is being discussed.

Historical Information: The DeWitt Historical Society of Tompkins County Library & Archive, 401 E. State St., Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)273-8284; fax (607)273-6107

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Ithaca: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Ithaca's public school system is large and highly diverse, with students of 80 nationalities and an enrollment that is 26 percent students of color. The system covers more than 155 square miles and serves more than 5400 students from rural, suburban, and urban communities. Approximately 88 percent of its graduates continue on to higher education. Ithaca High School students' mean combined SAT score is 200 points higher than national and statewide averages.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Ithaca public school system as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 5,459

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 8

junior high/middle schools: 2

senior high schools: 1

other: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 22:1

Teacher salaries

average: $44,037

Funding per pupil: $7,697 (2003)

Public Schools Information: Ithaca City School District, 400 Lake St., Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)274-2101

Colleges and Universities

Cornell University is a world-renowned teaching and research university with a beautiful campus overlooking the city of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake. The campus includes seven undergraduate and four graduate and professional schools. Cornell has more than 13,000 undergraduates and over 5,800 graduate students on its Ithaca campus. Several national centers, including one of four supercomputing centers, make their home at Cornell. The school has developed a reputation for its strong astronomy, biotechnology, mathematics, and nuclear studies fields among others. It ranks near the top for research funding from the National Science Foundation, government, and industry.

Founded as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in 1892, Ithaca College has five schools, including business, health sciences and human performance, humanities and sciences, music, and the Park School of Communications.

Ithaca College has over 6,000 undergraduate students and nearly 250 graduate students from 47 states and 70 different countries, who may choose from more than 100 programs. Ithaca College is ranked high among schools of its size and type.

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) is part of the system of the State University of New York. Founded in 1968, it offers associate degrees and certificates in 26 program areas. The school's Business Training and Development Center offers courses in such areas as computer skills, management techniques, and licensing requirements. The school has a campus in Ithaca itself and a main campus in nearby Dryden.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Tompkins County Public Library has nearly 230,000 volumes and 265 periodical subscriptions. A new Tompkins County Public Library opened in late 2000. The 67,000-square-foot, $6.4 million structure has two main reading rooms, a large community meeting room, and a separate programming room for children. In July 2005, the Tompkins County Public Library installed a new computer catalog system which includes access in Spanish. Cornell University Library has nearly 6.5 million volumes and several departmental libraries. Other major libraries in the city include those of Ithaca College, the Finger Lakes Library System, the Cayuga Medical Center, the Paleontology Research Institution Library, and the Dewitt Historical Society of Tompkins County Library & Archive.

Cornell University is among the major research universities in the country, with approximately $300 million in annual research support. The university is home to New York State's Center for Advanced Technology in Biotechnology. The National Science Foundation has designated Cornell as the location of what may be the world's leading "Super Computer" facility, which IBM Corporation helps to co-sponsor. Cornell University also is the site of more than 75 other research centers on topics ranging from African studies, legal studies, mathematics, and social and economic research to manufacturing, agriculture, and honey bees.

Ithaca is also home to Jicamara Radio Observatory, New York Space Grant Consortium, Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory.

Public Library Information: Tompkins County Public Library, 101 E. Green St., Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)272-4557; fax (607)272-8111

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Ithaca: Population Profile

Tompkins County Residents

1980: 87,085

1990: 94,097

2000: 96,501

Percent change, 19902000: 2.6%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 535th

City Residents

1980: 28,732

1990: 29,541

2000: 29,287

2003 estimate: 30,343

Percent change, 19902000: -0.9%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported

Density: 5,857.4 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 21,663

Black or African American: 1,965

American Indian and Alaska Native: 114

Asian: 3,998

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 16

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 1,555

Other: 546

Percent of residents born in state: 44% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 727

Population 5 to 9 years old: 721

Population 10 to 14 years old: 729

Population 15 to 19 years old: 5,739

Population 20 to 24 years old: 10,551

Population 25 to 34 years old: 3,703

Population 35 to 44 years old: 2,179

Population 45 to 54 years old: 2,080

Population 55 to 59 years old: 593

Population 60 to 64 years old: 429

Population 65 to 74 years old: 822

Population 75 to 84 years old: 705

Population 85 years and over: 309

Median age: 22.0 years

Births (2002, Tompkins County)

Total number: 831

Deaths (2002, Tompkins County)

Total number: 565 (of which, 3 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $13,408

Median household income: $21,441

Total households: 10,236

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 2,819

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,127

$15,000 to $24,999: 1,572

$25,000 to $34,999: 1,295

$35,000 to $49,999: 1,227

$50,000 to $74,999: 1,128

$75,000 to $99,999: 470

$100,000 to $149,999: 391

$150,000 or more: 207

Percent of families below poverty level: 13.5% (48.6% of which were female householders with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

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Ithaca: Introduction
Ithaca: Geography and Climate
Ithaca: History
Ithaca: Population Profile
Ithaca: Municipal Government
Ithaca: Economy
Ithaca: Education and Research
Ithaca: Health Care
Ithaca: Recreation
Ithaca: Convention Facilities
Ithaca: Transportation
Ithaca: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1789 (chartered 1888)

Head Official: Mayor Carolyn K. Peterson (D) (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 28,732

1990: 29,541

2000: 29,287

2003 estimate: 30,343

Percent change, 19902000: -0.9%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported

Tompkins County Population

1980: 87,085

1990: 94,097

2000: 96,501

Percent change, 19902000: 2.6%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 535th

Area: 5 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 814 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 46° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 35.3 inches of rain; 66 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Shipping, manufacturing, technology

Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (May 2005)

Per Capita Income: $13,408 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

Major Colleges and Universities: Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College

Daily Newspaper: Ithaca Journal

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Ithaca: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers in the city include the Ithaca Journal (daily except Sunday), the Cornell Daily Sun (weekdays during the academic year), the weeklies Ithaca Times and Ithaca Pennysaver, and the weekly Cornell Chronicle, a university paper. Locally published magazines include Coaching Management, New York Holstein News, Training and Conditioning, The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Cornell Science & Technology Magazine, Human Ecology Forum, and Ithaca College Quarterly. Journals published locally include Administrative Science Quarterly, Agricultural Finance Review, American Journal of Botany, Cornell Focus, a magazine on agriculture and life science, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Cornell Law Review, Indonesia, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and Philosophical Review.

Television and Radio

Ithaca is home to a cable access provider; no television stations broadcast directly from Ithaca but many stations are available from nearby communities. Six FM and two AM stations broadcast from the city.

Media Information: Ithaca Journal, 123-125 W. State St., Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)272-2321; fax (607)272-4248

Ithaca Online

City of Ithaca Home Page. Available

Empire State Development Department. Available

Ithaca City School District. Available

Ithaca Historical Society. Available

Ithaca Journal. Available

Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce. Available

Tompkins County Public Library. Available

Selected Bibliography

Hesch, Merrill, Richard Peiper, and Harry Letell, Ithaca Then and Now (Ithaca, NY: McBooks Press, 2000)

Roehl, Harvey N., Cornell and Ithaca in Postcards (Vestal, NY: Vestal Press Ltd., 1996)

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Ithaca: Transportation

Approaching the City

Ithaca is not located on an interstate highway, but is connected to I-90 and I-81 by a number of New York State roads. New York State (NYS) Route 79 runs east and west, and Route 96B runs from the south to the center of town. NYS Routes 13A, 34B, 38, 222, 227, 327, 366 also directly connect to I-81 and lead to the NYS Thruway.

Four miles north of Ithaca is the Tompkins County Airport, which handles nearly 40 weekday arrivals and departures. USAirways offers flights largely to many points east, connecting with its Pittsburgh hub. Northwest Airlines began service in May 2005 and offers service to its hub in Detroit. Passengers may connect to flights to many international and international destinations from either hub city. The Tompkins County Airport offers a café, conference facilities, computer jacks, and a limousine shuttle, and serviced more than 140,000 passengers in 2004. Charter flights are also available. Intercity bus transportation is provided by Greyhound, Shoreline, Trailways, Chemung County Transit, and Hampton Express. Several marinas located throughout Tompkins County provide access to Cayuga Lake and the New York State Barge Canal.

Traveling in the City

Ithaca is intersected by New York State Routes 13, 79, 89, and 96. Public transportation in Ithaca and Tompkins County is provided by Tompkins County Area Transit.

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Ithaca: Geography and Climate

Ithaca is located at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, halfway between Toronto, Canada and New York City, in south-central New York's Finger Lakes region. It is 55 miles southwest of Syracuse and 28 miles northeast of Elmira. The city and surrounding area have rolling hills, forests, deep gorges, and splendid waterfalls. Reflecting these scenic treasures, a popular local bumper sticker announces, "Ithaca is Gorges."

Ithaca's lake location helps to temper summer's heat, but in winter, which extends from October through early May, the moisture produces an abundance of snow that totals about 66 inches annually. The month with the highest average snowfall, January, averages 16.9 inches.

Area: 5 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 814 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 21.5° F; July, 68.5° F; annual average 46° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 35.3 inches of rain; 66 inches of snow

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Ithaca: Convention Facilities

Meeting planners have a variety of choices for places to hold conferences in Ithaca. The Clarion University Hotel and Conference Center has 10,000 square feet of meeting space and is close to both Cornell University and Ithaca College. The Ramada Inn Executive Training & Conference Center has recently expanded to feature 13,000 square feet of dedicated meeting and training rooms. The State Theatre in the heart of downtown can seat 1,600 people.

The Statler Hotel & J. Willard Marriott Executive Education Center, located on the Cornell University campus, offers more than 20 rooms of various sizes and can handle banquets of up to 350 people and theater-style meetings for up to 889 people. The largest conference facility in Tompkins County, the Triphammer Lodge and Conference Center, can accommodate up to 400 people for banquets and 475 people for theater-style events.

Convention Information: Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 904 East Shore Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850; telephone (607)272-1313; toll-free (800)284-8422