About DIA

The Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District (IDBID), is a State of New York chartered 501c3 not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion, and management of downtown Ithaca. The IDBID operates as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA).
The following vision statement guides the work and operation of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance:
"Downtown Ithaca is the economic, social, and cultural heart of Tompkins County. The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District will strive to preserve and develop the central downtown core as the region's center for banking and finance, business and professional offices, government and community services, downtown residences, and as a retail destination highlighted by specialty shops, restaurants, arts and entertainment. Downtown serves people who live and work downtown, city and county residents, college communities, area visitors and tourists."

The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District was founded in 1997.

The DIA is governed by a 24-member Board of Directors. The Board consists of 20 voting members and 4 non-voting members:

  • 3 City of Ithaca representatives
  • 1 Tompkins County representative
  • 10 property owners
  • 1 residential tenant
  • 5 commercial tenants
  • 1 Cornell University representative (non-voting)
  • 1 Ithaca College representative (non-voting)
  • 1 Chamber of Commerce representative (non-voting)
  • 1 Tompkins Cortland Community College representative (non-voting)

The DIA operates with the following staff:

  • Executive Director (Gary Ferguson)
  • Marketing Director (Allison Graffin)
  • Events Director (Summer Keown)
  • Operations Director (Kris Lewis)
  • Office Manager (Luis Munoz)
  • Communications Manager (Darlene Donohue)
  • Events Associate (Scott Rougeau)
  • Lead Ambassador (Tim Mavros)
  • Seasonal Ambassadorial Staff


Interns are an important part of the DIA. For-credit internship opportunities are usually available for students interested in marketing, special events and/or business development. Contact the DIA office at (607) 277-8679 or kris@downtownithaca.com for details.


The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is a comprehensive downtown revitalization and management program engaged in five principal areas:
  • Business Retention & Development
  • Marketing & Membership Services
  • Government Relations & Environmental Infrastructure
  • Special Events
  • Transportation
Business Retention & Development includes:
  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Recruitment & Attraction
  • Business Retention
  • Business Expansion
  • Provide One-on-One Business Technical Assistance
  • Business Start-Up Assistance
  • Project Development & Facilitation
  • Key Property Revitalization

Marketing & Membership Services includes:

  • Image Marketing
  • Student Marketing
  • Conventioneer Marketing
  • Tourism Marketing
  • Regional Marketing
  • Merchant Communications & Liaison
  • Web Site
  • Downtown Dollars Program
  • Annual Dinner
  • Holiday Marketing

Government Relations & Environmental Infrastructure includes: 

  • Ambassador Program
  • Landscaping Supplemental Service
  • Safety & Security
  • Art in the Heart of the City
  • Holiday Decorations
  • Parking
  • Banners
  • City MOU

Community Special Events includes:

  • First Friday Gallery Night
  • Chili Cook-off
  • Downtown Living Tour
  • Ithaca Festival Craft Show
  • Summer Concert Series
  • Apple Harvest Festival
  • Oktoberfest
  • Winter Festival

Each year, the DIA prepares a work plan and budget to support these and other activities.

The DIA has prepared and approved a Downtown Ithaca 2020 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan provides a blueprint and guidlines for downtown development. Each annual work plan address a portion of the Strategic Plan.