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408 N. Tioga Needs Your Voice!

Feb 01st, 2023




Advocacy Alert: Tompkins County is considering the demolition of 408 N. Tioga to create parking spaces.


WHAT: Known locally as the "Red House," this c.1870-71 building was originally designed as a residence and is located in the Dewitt Park Local Historic District. It is owned by Tompkins County and they are considering its demolition. The Tompkins County Facilities and Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to discuss this property at its next meeting on Thursday, February 16th at 9:00am at the Tompkins County Legislature Chambers at 121 E. Court Street in Ithaca.





1.Attend the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee meeting on February 16th at 9:00 am and speak at Public Comments at the very beginning of the meeting. The meeting will be held at the Tompkins County Legislature building at 121 E. Court Street in Ithaca.


2.Attend virtually or in person; make sure to sign up in advance if you are going to speak virtually (so they can send you the Zoom link to the meeting). Information can be found here:


3.If you aren’t able to do either of those and would still like to make comments, please send the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee Legislators an email or letter. The Committee members are:

Mike Lane, Chair:

Randy Brown, Vice Chair:

Deb Dawson:

Greg Mezey:

Lee Shurtleff:

(or your own legislator, if you are so inclined)


4.Also, we need a potential buyer! Historic Ithaca will have a much stronger case for the county to preserve this house if there is someone ready and willing to rehabilitate this building! If you or someone you know would like to own a piece of history, please contact us at 607-273-6633 or to discuss options.



ABOUT THIS CASE AND WHY IT IS SIGNIFICANT: 408 N. Tioga was built c.1870-71 in the popular Italianate style and many of its historic details are still intact. The building is located in the Dewitt Park Historic District and bridges the gap between residential Fall Creek and commercial Downtown. The demolition of this building would further segregate the residential from the commercial, create a large parking lot as an eyesore for the neighborhood, and encourage driving in a city that has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2030. "The greenest building is the one that built" and demolition is a wasteful and unsustainable practice. There is no lack of parking in Downtown Ithaca. There is already parking available nearby and county employees could be given a free parking pass to one of our several downtown parking garages. In an area that desperately needs housing, it is counterintuitive to destroy space that is a part of the historic built environment and could provide housing to a single family or multiple apartments.


Historic Ithaca will be sending out “talking points” closer to the actual meeting if you need them, but we know that many of you have your own thoughts, feelings, and comments about this issue right now. If a Resolution and a new State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) document are approved by the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee, they then presented to the entire County Legislature for approval. They will need 8 votes to pass this Resolution. The earliest meeting for the entire legislature, after they pass out of the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee, could be Tuesday, February 21st at 5:30 PM. 


For any updates, please stay tuned to our website, our Facebook page or call/email us or 607-273-6633.




Historic Ithaca | (607) 273-6633 |



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The programs of Historic Ithaca are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor's Office and the New York State Legislature. Projects are also made possible in part by funding from Tompkins County. 

Funding for Work Preserve is provided by the City of Ithaca Community Development Block Grant Program and Park Foundation.

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