ITHACA, N.Y. — Approximately $1.7 million in federal and state grants were allocated to various non-profit organizations, businesses and municipalities throughout Tompkins County according to a statement from Gov. Kathy Hochul released on Nov. 15. 

Most notably, the City of Ithaca was awarded $500,000 to implement its Cass Park Capital Plan, which was created to address aging facilities like the restrooms and pavilion — both of which receive plenty of criticism from residents and city workers. 

The plan includes the installation of a new driveway with additional parking spaces to increase accessibility to the renovated facilities. 

Funding comes from two separate entities: the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), which awarded grants from the state-sponsored Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and the federally-funded Recreational Trails Program (RTP), and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).  

The REDC, composed of 10 independent councils established in 2011 to strategize plans for economic growth, selected projects from non-profits and municipalities aimed at completing recreation and historic preservation projects in their communities. 

This table shows a complete list of organizations and municipalities in the county selected by the REDC to receive funding.

Agency/ProgramApplicantProject TitleDescriptionFunding
Empire State Development (ESD) New York State Business Incubator Program (BIP) Cornell UniversityREV: Ithaca Startup Works Ithaca Startup Works (Rev) is a business incubator in Ithaca that
supports high-growth startups in all industries. Rev continue to provide resources, mentorships and services to help regional startups launch and grow. The funds will also support the expansion of Rev’s Hardware Accelerators.
ESD Market New York (MNY) Tompkins CountyTompkins County Working Capital Tompkins County will use grant funds to upgrade the website to help travelers discover outdoor adventures in Tompkins County, NY.$60,000
ESD MNYTea Leaves, Inc. Ithaca Reggae Fest Working Capital Tea Leaves, Inc. will use Market New York funds to host and promote Ithaca Reggae Fest, a special tourism event in Ithaca.$50,000
ESD MNY Opera Ithaca, Inc. Opera Ithaca Festival Working CapitalFunds will be used to host and promote the Opera Ithaca Festival, a month-long showcase highlighting creativity and cultural strength in the region. $100,000
ESD CRAFT Wild Nectar Mead LLCWild Nectar Mead Production FacilityThe business will expand their mead production facility by adding a fermentation room, refrigeration and storage space for inventory.$37,500
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation (OPRHP) Historical Preservation Department Town of Caroline Old Caroline Town Hall Restoration The town will complete the restoration process of the town hall, which has been in use since 1869, as well as repair the exterior of the building. $375,000
OPRHP Parks Department City of IthacaCass Park Capital Improvements The city will implement its Cass Park Capital Plan, which includes replacing existing restrooms and pavilion facilities, as well as install a driveway loop with new parking spaces. $500,000

Hochul’s announcement marks the 13th round of funding from the REDC initiative since its inception. During this round, $26 million was awarded through the EPF to support a total of 72 projects throughout the state, with $2.4 million from the RTP to support 15 projects. 

As for the arts and culture grant awards, the NYSCA allocated $49,500 to the History Center in Tompkins County to provide general support to the organization, along with a regrant of $260,000 to the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County. 

This fiscal year, the NYSCA awarded a total of $80 million in multi-year grants to 729 organizations according to a statement from Hochul’s office. 

Judy Lucas is a General Assignment Reporter for The Ithaca Voice. Have a story idea? Comment or question? You can reach me at or on Twitter @judy__lucas.