A new book by Mack Travis, Shaping A City: Ithaca, New York, A Developer’s Perspective (Cornell University Press, 2018) is a look at 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 of Ithaca — 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.
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.
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.
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