ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) — The City of Ithaca is one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 with the announcement of Ithaca’s new downtown Conference Center being fossil fuel-free.

The Downtown Ithaca Local Development Corporation, DILDC, recently decided to make the conference center’s commercial kitchen all-electric, being the first of its kind in the U.S.

This is able to be done through federal funding that was announced by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer in March.

Instead of natural gas, which was the initial plan before the announcement of the funding, the kitchen will use a new cutting-edge electric technology to heat hot water and cooking equipment.

“The fully electric kitchen would not be possible without the federal support that the project received, thanks to Senator Schumer,” said Jennifer Tavares, President of the Tompkins Chamber & Visit Ithaca, and President of the Board of Directors for the DILDC.

The building has been in the planning stages since 2016 and is expected to draw 60,000 new visitors to the Finger Lakes region each year and generate millions in new annual visitor spending.

“I am excited to work with the Downtown Ithaca Conference Center project team and our vendors to create the first fully electrified conference center in the nation,” said Suzanne Smith Jablonski, executive director of DILDC, “This commitment aligns this project even more closely with our community needs and priorities,” she said.

The conference center is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in early 2024.

For more information about the project, you can visit Ithaca’s website.