Downtown Ithaca To Award Seven at Annual Dinner

Tompkins Trust Company, Sunny Days of Ithaca, The Watershed, Tompkins Chamber/CVB, Asha Sanaker, JoAnn Cornish, and Mack Travis among honorees

ITHACA, MARCH 7, 2019 —  Hardworking and dedicated downtown retailers, entrepreneurs, program partners, and the City’s latest developments will be recognized for their contribution to Downtown Ithaca during the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA)’s Annual Awards Dinner and Ceremony on Thursday, March 7 at Hotel Ithaca.

Award recipients this year include:
Lifetime Achievement Award:
JoAnn Cornish 
Mack Travis

 Economic Development Project of the Year:
Tompkins Trust Company

Retailer of the Year:
Sunny Days of Ithaca

Emerging Business of the Year:
The Watershed

Nonprofit Partner of the Year:
Tompkins Chamber/Visit Ithaca

Board Member of the Year:
Asha Sanaker

Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to two individuals who have significantly impacted the success of Downtown Ithaca: JoAnn Cornish and Mack Travis.

JoAnn Cornish, the City of Ithaca’s Director of Planning & Development, has been instrumental in shepherding new and upcoming developments in Downtown Ithaca since 1997. JoAnn has led the City’s efforts to encourage new downtown development over the past years, an effort that has resulted in over 1.2 million square feet of new buildings. She has also been a keen advocate for public art in Downtown Ithaca.

Mack Travis is a longtime Ithaca developer who has been a key driver of downtown revitalization. He restored the Gateway Plaza building and built the new Gateway Commons building. He served as a founding board member and long-term President of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. He recently published a book titled Shaping A City: Ithaca, New York, A Developer’s Perspective, sharing his insights into the development of the city since the construction of the original Commons in 1971. 

“So many people work every day to make downtown a successful and vibrant place. This is our opportunity to highlight and recognize a few of these people and businesses that have helped to shape and grow downtown. The one common denominator for all of the awards…a passion for downtown and the community,” says Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

Tompkins Trust Company opened its new headquarters in Downtown Ithaca last summer, consolidating several offices into one seven-story, 110,000-square foot building, with over 300 employees based in the building. This investment in the downtown shows their strong commitment to our community.

Sunny Days of Ithaca is a staple of the Downtown Ithaca community, offering unique crafts, jewelry, gift items, and more. Welcoming visitors and locals alike, Sunny Days recently moved to their new location on The Commons, continuing their support of the downtown community. Owners Deirdre and Todd Kurzweil will accept this award on behalf of Sunny Days.

The Watershed is a unique bar and gathering space, located near the State Theatre. Proprietor Ashley Cake will accept this award on behalf of The Watershed. Opening in 2016, The Watershed provides an inviting atmosphere that invites conversation. They also focus on sustainability.

Tompkins Chamber/Visit Ithaca will receive the Nonprofit of the Year award for their many years serving as an essential partner for Downtown Ithaca businesses and for helping market Downtown Ithaca to all visitors. Their presence will expand downtown in 2019 as they move into the Tompkins Center for History & Culture.

Asha Sanaker has been a significant voice on the DIA Board of Directors. She stepped into the role of Treasurer, providing a valuable service to the organization. This is Asha’s final year of her term on the Board of Directors and the DIA thanks her for her service.

The 2019 Downtown Ithaca Awards Dinner is made possible by Travis Hyde Properties, Visions Federal Credit Union, and Ithaca Renting.