The mission of the Tompkins County Beautification, Signage and Public Art Program is to work through program partners and municipalities to increase the aesthetic visual quality of Tompkins County natural and built landscapes, while welcoming visitors and enhancing quality of life for residents. The program is funded by the Tompkins County Tourism Program, with administrative support provided by the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.
The Tompkins County Beautification, Signage and Public Art Strategic Plan was adopted by the County's Strategic Tourism Planning Board in spring 2016. It provides a comprehensive look at the evolution of this program over the past 15 years, and lays the groundwork with strategies and actions for the next five years. The program consists of several parts:
The Community Beautification Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC) improves the landscaping and appearance of highly visible locations in the Community. In the City of Ithaca, this is accomplished through the efforts of a group of volunteers called the Beautification Brigade. For more information visit: http://ccetompkins.org/gardening/community-beautification
This program also hosts a Rural Beautification Grant program through which matching funds are made available to rural Tompkins County Towns and Villages for beautification projects. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through CCETC. Visit: http://ccetompkins.org/gardening/community-beautification/rural-grants
The Downtown Ambassadors Program of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) provides supplemental cleaning and landscape services to keep the Ithaca Commons and other areas in the downtown core clean, litter free and beautiful, and also visitor 'concierge' services on the Ithaca Commons through the DIA's red visitor information cart.
The County Tourism Program has worked with the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce to develop a comprehensive Wayfinding and Interpretive Signage Plan for Tompkins County. For more information and to access the Plan, visit: http://www.tompkinschamber.org/whats-new/wayfinding/
Public art can beautify and enhance public places and has been a tool for beautification and community development here in Ithaca and throughout the country. The Beautification, Signage and Public Art Program has always included public art as an eligible activity, but historically there has been only limited focus on this tool in the past decade. Looking forward, public art offers communities a possible cost effective way to create lasting enhancement to their public spaces and can be a growing part of this program. A new Public Art Grant was established as a pilot in 2016 partnership with the Community Arts Partnership. Details are available here: http://www.artspartner.org/