Earlier this month, Svante Myrick served his last day as mayor of the city of Ithaca after 10 years on the job.
Myrick was first elected to the Common Council in 2007 when he was a 20-year-old Cornell University student. When he was elected mayor in 2011, Myrick became the state’s youngest mayor and was the first Black mayor of Ithaca. His decade-long tenure is also the longest is city history.
“Fighting for this community is all I’ve done in my adult life. It’s my only passion and it’s what has kept me motivated,” Myrick said during his last Common Council meeting, at which he announced his intention to leave. “I believe we can do everything we set out to do.”
“Svante has had a lasting impact on the Ithaca community,” said Chamber President Jennifer Tavares. “When you consider the significant growth and investment in downtown and Collegetown, addition of affordable housing units, or work toward projects such as the Cayuga Waterfront Trail or Ithaca Conference Center, it is clear he has been a collaborative partner and advocate for this community.”
Tompkins Trust Company President and CEO Greg Hartz thanked Myrick for his service.
“Tompkins Trust Company is pleased to recognize Svante Myrick for his 15 years of service to the city, first on Common Council and then as mayor,” Hartz said. “Svante’s passion for helping the people of Ithaca has been constant, and this community is better for his leadership. We wish him luck in his new position.”
During Myrick’s tenure, the city has seen its economy grow, with increased development and decreased property taxes, and the Commons was rebuilt. It was also during his time in office that the Ithaca Green New Deal was adopted, with efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and conversations began on ways to reimagine public safety.
Myrick, who wrapped up his mayoral duties Feb. 6, resigned to become executive director of People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy group focused on increasing civic participation, defending rights and dismantling systemic barriers to equitable opportunity.
“I love Ithaca. I’ve loved serving this City, and I believe my service has made a difference,” Myrick said during the Jan. 5 Common Council meeting. “I also love this country. The American democratic experiment is the reason that someone like me — born into homelessness and raised by a single mother — was able to attend an institution like Cornell and serve the city he loves. …I believe my service can make a difference in the struggle ahead, and I want to protect that American dream for people of all backgrounds.”
To show the community’s appreciation for his work, the Tompkins Chamber will award Myrick a Community Hero of the Month plaque as well as a gift card for Downtown Ithaca from Tompkins Trust Company.
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