Tompkins County
New York

Reconsidered and Adopted
Jul 18, 2017 5:30 PM

Naming of Tompkins Trust Building as the Tompkins Center for History and Culture


Department:Government Operations CommitteeSponsors:
Category:Buildings and Facilities

Resolution/Document Body

WHEREAS, on June 6, 2017, the Legislature approved an amendment to the County’s 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Program to include the Acquisition and Improvement of the Tompkins Trust Building, and


WHEREAS, the Project Advisory Committee, comprised of all partners that will be located in the building, believes it is important to give the building a name to describe what the building is about and has presented its recommendation for a building name, now therefore be it


RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Government Operations Committee, That the Tompkins County Legislature hereby names the recently purchased Tompkins Trust Building, 110 North Tioga Street, to be the “Tompkins Center for History and Culture”. 



Meeting History

Jul 5, 2017 3:30 PM  Government Operations Committee Regular Meeting
MOVER:Rich John, Member
SECONDER:Carol Chock, Vice Chair
AYES:Daniel Klein, Carol Chock, Dooley Kiefer, Rich John, Will Burbank
Jul 6, 2017 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting

Rod Howe, Director of the History Center, said they have been working with the Iron Design consulting firm and the Project Advisory Committee to come up with a name. They believe it is important to give the building a name in before launching the Capital Campaign. Once a name has been chosen there is further work that needs to happen such as the development of a logo and other materials. Several building names were considered, but they chose a name they thought conveyed what programs would be offered in the building. It was believed that having a simpler title was better. He explained some of the plans discussed by the Project Advisory Committee including having two plaques displayed in the foyer of the building. One recognizing the action taken by the County was done during the County’s Bicentennial year and the second plaque would recognize the role of the Tompkins Trust Company. In addition, he said there will be naming opportunities for donors such as naming a conference room or an exhibit room.

Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she would have like to have more community involvement during the process for naming the building. She asked if it would be too late for the Legislature to consider this in two weeks to allow the community time to at least have some involvement.

Mr. John respects Mrs. McBean-Clairborne’s position; however, spoke of this being been heavily discussed and asked for Mr. Howe to respond to time non-profit agencies have put into it. He said the County is looking at taking possession of the building in March 2018. He understands the concerns, but he spoke of the importance of having the building named for the Capital Campaign and that they are anxious to get moving. He agreed with the comment made earlier that the name could be changed later if needed.

Ms. Kelles spoke of the non-profit agencies and said the people who work for them are amazing members of the community who believe in their missions. She believes there has been input from a very important sector of the community and would like to honor the group that has worked the hardest for this, the non-profit community.

Ms. Chock spoke about the County’s policy for naming buildings and reference to naming for the use rather than after an individual. She commented the building in which the Legislature Chambers are house was named after an individual and doesn’t believe the public refers to it by that full name and thinks people will use a shortened name for the Tompkins Trust building. Buildings are around for a long time and she agrees you cannot wage a fundraising campaign without the building having a name; however, she is not ready to name the building this evening and would like to postpone the action until the next Legislature meeting.

It was MOVED by Mr. Dennis, seconded by Ms. Kelles, to Call the Question. A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes - 7 (Legislators Burbank, Dennis, John, Kelles, Klein, Lane, and McKenna); Noes - 3 (Legislators Chock, Kiefer, and McBean-Clairborne); Excused - 4 (Legislators Morey, Robertson, Sigler, and Stein). MOTION FAILED.

Mr. Dennis believes it is a good name being proposed and action should be taken this evening. It is important to let the people do the job they said they would do to raise money.

Ms. Kiefer spoke briefly about the discussion at the Government Operations Committee and how members agreed to the proposed name. She said the Committee believed it was important to forward this to the Legislature for consideration. In addition she said she would support postponing the action, but also believes it is important for the campaign that the building be named.

It was MOVED by Ms. Chock, seconded by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, to postpone the resolution to the next meeting. A voice vote resulted as follows: Ayes - 3 (Legislators Chock, Lane, and McBean-Clairborne); Noes - 7 (Legislators Burbank, Dennis, John, Kelles, Kiefer, Klein, and McKenna); Excused - 4 (Legislators Morey, Robertson, Sigler, and Stein). MOTION TO POSTPONE FAILED.

Following the vote, Mr. Lane clarified the process if the resolution were brought back for reconsideration.

Mrs. McBean-Clairborne asked that the suggested name be put out to the public to ask for input; Mr. Howe said he would be willing to do that through list serves and other non-profit agencies.

This resolution was defeated by a roll call vote.

MOVER:Daniel Klein, Vice Chair
SECONDER:Rich John, Member
AYES:Will Burbank, James Dennis, Rich John, Anna Kelles, Dooley Kiefer, Daniel Klein, David McKenna
NAYS:Carol Chock, Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne
EXCUSED:Martha Robertson, Glenn Morey, Michael Sigler, Peter Stein
Jul 18, 2017 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting

Mr. Howe said since the last Legislature meeting he asked partners to get some community input and comments. They received 42 responses and of those 33 indicated support for the proposed name. He has checked with Iron Designs who is working on branding and marketing, there is room in tagline, monogram, and logo to do additional material.

Mr. John said he supports the name and said it indicates the purpose for history and culture. He said he did a history check on Daniel D. Tompkins whom Tompkins County is named after and said he was a four-term New York State Governor and provided a brief summary of his research. Mr. John said he wasn’t just a historical figure but helped shape our values and he thinks having the reference to "Tompkins" in the Building's name will reflect well on our County. He believes the name is appropriate that is being recommended.

In response to Mrs. McBean-Clairborne’s question about why the word “County” was removed from the name; Mr. Howe said it was originally in the name but was shortened at the recommendation of the Government Operations Committee.

Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she was disappointed to know that it is unknown how many partners reached out to the community for input about the name.

MOVER:Peter Stein, Member
SECONDER:Anna Kelles, Member
AYES:Will Burbank, James Dennis, Rich John, Anna Kelles, Dooley Kiefer, Daniel Klein, David McKenna, Glenn Morey, Michael Sigler, Peter Stein
NAYS:Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne
EXCUSED:Carol Chock, Martha Robertson