Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle, D-Irondequoit, and Brighton Town Supervisor William W. Moehle today announced that an agreement has been reached regarding a SUNY Empire State College regional campus in Brighton.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Brighton and the college, brokered with Morelle’s assistance, calls for the college to build its $11 million, 33,000 sq. ft. LEED-Silver learning center on Westfall Road property owned by the state and occupied by the state Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.
Under the MOU, the 11 acres of land purchased by the college on South Clinton Avenue is to be declared surplus and returned to the real estate market, so that it may eventually be sold for potential development purposes.
In addition, all service agreements and permitting requirements between Brighton and the college are specified. It also grants the town an easement on Westfall Road for inclusion in the proposed Highland Canal Trail.
The town had expressed concerns about the fiscal impact of the purchase of taxable land by the State of New York, a tax exempt entity, and the college had made its case for the social and economic benefits of the project.
The OPWDD’s Westfall parcel is exempt, and was made available through negotiations that included the New York State Office of General Services.
“It was a question of balancing the concerns of Brighton taxpayers with the needs of a great institution that serves so many people throughout the Rochester region,” said Morelle, a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education.
“It was an honor to work with all the parties involved, and I am especially grateful to Supervisor Moehle, Empire State College Vice President Paul Tucci and OPWDD for their hard work and willingness to find an accommodation that serves everyone’s interests equally. The new campus will create construction and permanent jobs our economy needs, and the town welcomes a great new neighbor,” Morelle said.
“This is a win-win for Brighton and for Empire State College,” Moehle said. “Empire State College will join the many outstanding educational institutions in Brighton while the taxpayers of Brighton can look forward to restoring 11 acres of land on South Clinton Avenue to the tax roll. I want to thank Assemblyman Morelle and Vice President Tucci for helping to facilitate this agreement.”
“All of the college’s research indicated that the Town of Brighton is ideally suited for SUNY Empire State College’s new learning center,” said SUNY Empire State College Vice President for Administration Paul Tucci.
“I want to thank Assemblyman Morelle, Supervisor Moehle, the Brighton Town Board and OPWDD Commissioner Courtney Burke for enabling the college to build in Brighton. Thanks to the relocation, the town will benefit from the economic impact of the project, and through the property on South Clinton Avenue, the town has the opportunity to enjoy revenue associated with commercial development. We now look forward to breaking ground at the new location as soon as possible with the goal of opening our doors to students in the fall of 2014.”