The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District, also known as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, was formed in 1997. The DIBID became a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization in 2007.


Downtown Ithaca is the economic, social, and cultural heart of Tompkins County. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance 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.

Programs and Activities

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is a comprehensive downtown revitalization and management program engaged in four principal areas:

  1. Business Retention & Development
  2. Promotions & Marketing
  3. Government Relations & Environmental Infrastructure
  4. Special Events

The rebuilding of the Ithaca Commons is a key downtown and community project that cuts across all of the DIA’s standing committees.

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 & Promotion includes:

  • Image Marketing
  • Student Marketing
  • Conventioneer Marketing
  • Tourism Marketing
  • Regional Marketing
  • Merchant Communications & Liaison
  • Website
  • Downtown Gift Card Program
  • Annual Dinner
  • Holiday Marketing

Government Relations & Environment includes:

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

Community Special Events includes:

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

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

The DIBID has prepared and approved a “Downtown 2020 Strategic Plan”. This strategic plan provides the blueprint and guidelines for downtown development until 2020. Each annual work plan addresses a portion of this strategic plan (available upon request).

Staff- DIA
Gary Ferguson, Executive Director

Olivia Pastella, Office Manager

Kris Lewis, Operations Director

Tatiana Sy, Special Events Director

Allison Graffin, Marketing Director

Darlene M. Donohue, Communications Manager

Scott Rougeau, Special Events Associate

Lora Morrow, Graphic Designer

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