Bank Alley continues to take shape as Raulli & Sons secured the Bernie Milton Pavilion roof assembly on the structure last week. Syrstone continues to spread stone base and install pavers along Bank alley, and future planters and benches are taking form along the eastern extension to Aurora Street. Power & Construction has already completed wiring and round footings for the pole lamps, which will permanently replace the temporary lighting as the surfaces phase progresses.
Vitale Contractors has been working away on the Old Elmira Complete Streets project, excavating old stormwater drains, and installing new piping and precast concrete vaults, and backfilling with new stone. The new stormwater infrastructure has made it past the halfway point, and once complete, we should expect to see sidewalk and curbing forms lining the north side of the street.
The $1.3m Old Elmira Road Complete Streets Project is being funded with a $680,000 grant from the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, sidewalk assessments as determined by the new Sidewalk Policy (paid by the property owners), and the remaining sum from the City of Ithaca.
The Old Elmira Road Complete Streets project has Vitale Contractors mobilized along the north side to excavate the side of the road and install new sewer, precast concrete manhole vaults, backfill with stone, and install curbing and new concrete sidewalks. Trees have been cleared along the shopping plaza east entrance and excavation has begun at the southwest end, and will continue northeast until the traffic circle.
The Ithaca Commons Rebuild Project Team gave a presentation this morning on the phasing for this Summer and Fall (Phase 3), as the paving and the bulk of the remaining work wraps up this November. Michael Kuo, the Project Manager has agreed to share slides from the meeting that help to explain the rest of the project.
As was reported in the news and at the meeting, the team was able to value engineer certain portions of the project in order to re-integrate the gateway structures, and playground, which is being designed by Play by Design, a local firm specializing in custom playgrounds that has built hundreds of projects throughout the world. The City of Ithaca has agreed to install the mechanical vault and run plumbing lines for the future water feature, which is expected to attract donor funding to build at a point in the future.
In the last six weeks since work resumed in earnest, the telecom mains and services have been run, along with water service upgrades that have involved digging-up and connecting the mains to water, fire sprinkler system lines, and telecom piping into each building (commonly called “laterals”). Once connected, the piping is tested and then the old services disconnected and taken out. The crews have averaged about 2-3 each day.
A new electric duct bank is currently being installed by NYSEG, along with a new gas main, replacing the old galvanized steel gas piping with high density polyethylene yellow gas pipe (HDPE), a similar material to plastic bottles actually, but much stronger. After the gas main section is replaced on the 200 Block’s north side, NYSEG will then cut open and replace the lines on the south sides of both blocks, then back around the northern side of the 100 Block from the west.
As the underground utilities are completed in each wing of the Commons, the paving program will begin in July, as crews will grade and prep surfaces for pouring a concrete base, on top of which, the concrete surface pavers will be set for the final walkable layer. Because the concrete can be poured section by section, and dry time is relatively fast for concrete, the surfaces will be opened-up to pedestrian traffic, starting with Bank Alley, then the east 200 Block, and west 100 Block.
Per each wing, the concrete base is poured, then pavers set, which should take about 3-4 weeks in each phase
Phase 1: Bank Alley (mid-June to late June)
Phase 2: 200 Block (late July, possibly August)
Phase 3: 100 Block (starting in October)
Here’s the phasing for the Bank Alley wing:
Scenes from the last few weeks:
In collaboration with LaBella Associates, Tompkins County Facilities Division is planning an expansion and renovation project for the Human Services Building, which houses the Department of Social Services (DSS). LaBella recently setup an Ithaca office located in the Bank Tower Building on the Commons (they’re originally out of Rochester, NY).
The plans were presented to members of the Tompkins County Legislature back on April 2nd, which included project scopes, elevations, floor plans, and projected costs. The expansion will take place so that the Tompkins County Department of Probation and Community Justice can make the move out of the Old Library, so that the property can be re-developed.
The Phase 1 project shows an expanded footprint at the northeast end of the building to include six interview rooms, a classroom space with 48 to 56 seats, and an existing interior renovation to build-out five interview rooms (for a total of 11), a bathroom, and a visitation room. Phase 2 includes a further renovation of the south end of the building, in order to accommodate room for three offices, an interview room, a multipurpose study lounge, classroom, computer workstation area, bathroom, and a secure entry for day reporting.
Human Services Building:
LaBella Project Presentation:
The Commons Rebuild project entered Phase Three this past month, as Vacri Construction is back on site digging-out trenches for the installation of telecom pipe ducts and utility vaults (the large pre-formed concrete blocks with manhole access). The duct bank run along the western end near Cayuga Street is being worked on right now.
In addition to the duct piping and vaults, NYSEG is installing a new gas main along several of the outside edges of the construction fence to replace the old one. The concrete slab is cut and removed in sections, then several feet of soil is dug out to install the piping. The gas main is not part of Vacri’s contract, but since the gas main is quite old, NYSEG requested to replace it during the same timeframe since the project presents an ideal opportunity to do so. As of now, the concrete is cut, but not yet removed.
The City of Ithaca has released a bid request for the replacement of five traffic signals, including the installation of new mast arm traffic signals and appurtenances, new sidewalk curb ramps and connections to existing sidewalks, intersection pavement milling and resurfacing, and new pavement markings. The bidding has officially opened this week, and bids will be accepted until April 9th, then read aloud at the Board of Public Works Meeting (probably the 14th). Once the contract is awarded, and notice is given to proceed, the full scope of work must be completed within 85 days, so the target completion will probably land in this summer, perhaps July or August.
Images from the plans along with maps embedded below:
Aurora Street and East State Street Intersection:
Cayuga Street and West State Street Intersection:
North Aurora Street and East Court Street Intersection:
North Cayuga Street and Court Street Intersection:
North Tioga Street and East Court Street Intersection:
As was announced in the Ithaca Times, the Commons Rebuild Phase Three is a go, with work starting this week. Phase Three of the Commons Rebuild will focus on the demolition of the remaining concrete surfaces, installation of new pavers, and installation of surface amenities (see earlier posts for more detail: Part One, and Part Two here). The Power & Construction Group (out of Scottsville, NY) was awarded the electrical work contract, and will begin work by transitioning to a temporary lighting system, as the current pole lights are removed to prepare the edge strips in front of businesses for demolition. NYSEG will be on site to finish-up a new gas main, and Vacri Construction (out of Binghamton, NY) is back for phase three as the only bidder and recipient of the general contract. The general bid came in at $2 million over-budget, which includes the reductions in three project scope addendums. Some original design items have been removed from the project:
Items that have been removed:
-Granite Pavers for fill sections
Items still included:
-Bernie Milton Pavilion
-Benches, Planters, Tables & Chairs, Bike Racks, & various standard surface amenities
Common Council approved a resolution at their meeting on February 19th to fund the amount, and the Board of Public Works accepted the contract at their meeting on February 24th.
Crossing improvements for Third Street and Dey Street, along with a connection to the existing Cayuga Waterfront Trail have been in the works, and may commence as soon as this Spring or Summer. Here are the drawings from Fisher Associates for work to be completed, and a map for reference.
The City of Ithaca Board of Public Works authorized a final item last November (to acquire and compensate for necessary real property) to move the project forward, and is expected to release a bid request this month or next, February 2014.
This is a relatively image-heavy post, and there are still so many details I’m leaving out, but I hope these shots taken from Sasaki‘s final presentation and the bid drawings documents give a rough idea of each of these features.
Benches, Tables, and Bike Racks
Part of the new design is focused on providing multiple seating options with fixed benches, fixed swivel chairs and tables, and also some movable seating areas. The previous Commons design relied heavily on wide concrete planters for bench seating, but the new design allow for easier re-configurations over time.
The seats and bike racks will be from Landscape Forms, a company out of Kalamazoo, Michigan (see Parc Centre, Catena, Escofet (benches), and Bola (bike racks))
As I’ve stated before, I’m quite far from a working knowledge of plants, but I think these look to be tasteful options, and the angular ground cover designs are certainly interesting. I hope that the trees are trimmed so that they don’t grow to expansive- the view of the facades on the Commons has really grown on me, and all of the tree options max out at heights of 25 feet, and all the way up to 100 feet for the Honey Locust (although there’s probably not enough soil to provide the nutrients to grow that big).
Bernie Milton Pavilion
Named after the much-loved and sorely missed Bernie Milton (1942-2002) the Soul musician, and former DJ at WICB Radio, the proposed pavilion is an interesting steel and glass structure, designed to be situated at the end of Bank Alley. The roof will funnel water onto a shaded drip piece to provide effect, then down into a trench drain. The positioning at Bank Alley is designed to draw interest from Seneca Street, and provide more space for concert venues, since viewers will now have a much longer line of sight.
Out of all the features, I have to admit, these are probably my favorite. The former signs were rather small in comparison, but these large gateway structures are perfect for giving visitors a strong first impression. For people that have never been here, it’s not so easy to identify where the Commons is located. Large, tasteful signage goes a long way.
The water feature is a series of stepped-up stone blocks with water misting jets and puddle drains embedded in the crevices, and one under a stone cantilever, inspired by the effect of water streaming over rock layers in the Ithaca’s gorges. The water lines will run south to a main water vault with pumps and drains. It’s no Trevi Fountain, but I think it’s a rather well-planned and inspired design.