Shaping a City: Ithaca, New York, a Developer's Perspective

Shaping a City: Ithaca, New York, a Developer's Perspective

by Mack Travis

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Overview

Picture your downtown vacant, boarded up, while the malls surrounding your city are thriving. What would you do?

In 1974 the politicians, merchants, community leaders, and business and property owners, of Ithaca, New York, joined together to transform main street into a pedestrian mall. Cornell University began an Industrial Research Park to keep and attract jobs. Developers began renovating run-down housing. City Planners crafted a long-range plan utilizing State legislation permitting a Business Improvement District (BID), with taxing authority to raise up to 20 percent of the City tax rate focused on downtown redevelopment.

Shaping a City is the behind-the-scenes story of one developer’s involvement, from first buying and renovating small houses, gradually expanding his thinking and projects to include a recognition of the interdependence of the entire city—jobs, infrastructure, retail, housing, industry, taxation, banking and City Planning. It is the story of how he, along with other local developers transformed a quiet, economically challenged upstate New York town into one that is recognized nationally as among the best small cities in the country.

The lessons and principles of personal relationships, cooperation and collaboration, the importance of density, and the power of a Business Improvement District to catalyze change, are ones you can take home for the development and revitalization of your city.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501730146
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/15/2018
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mack Travis spent his career as a real-estate developer. He is a former president of the Ithaca Business Improvement District, and an active participant in local and regional business development.

What People are Saying About This

Alan J. Cohen

"When you read his many stories you might think Mack is exaggerating. To the contrary he understates his integral contributions. Mack’s knowledge and experience, combined with compassion and good-natured approach to everything, provide the reader with a human perspective on how a community develops and changes over time."

Kenneth Danter

"Ithaca, as an isolated city, is a laboratory and case study for community development. More than anything else, Mack Travis’s book exemplifies the role of leadership and perseverance in community development. Mack leads us through the minefields of diverse interests culminating in cohesive teamwork focused on a common goal."

Ed McMahon

"Mack Travis is one of Ithaca's most creative thinkers and doers. His ideas on downtown revitalization, quality development and community planning have helped to transform Ithaca. Shaping A City tells the story of Ithaca's evolution and provides a practical guide to creating better, more livable and walkable communities."

George H. Winner

"Mack Travis’s reflections on the trials and tribulations of development in a progressive community is truly insightful. His success certainly contributed to Ithaca being a 'jewel' in upstate New York. As a State Legislator for thirty-two years it was also appreciated that our action in authorizing BIDS was a rare positive action our part for upstate economic development."

Tom Rossiter

"Shaping a City is about shaping community, a family, a portfolio, and a liveable city. Aligning apparently competing interests for the mutual benefit of community is a profound and refreshing conviction that is articulated here. American sprawl is a cancer that requires this books enlightened approach to address town by town nationally."

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