Updated 02/12/2013 10:52 PM
Legislature Passes Plan Allowing Move For MCC Downtown Campus
It's been a long time coming, but finally Tuesday night, Monroe Community College was cleared by the County Legislature to move its downtown campus to Kodak.
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Higher education in downtown Rochester is officially on-the-move.
"This has been 20 years in the making. To know that we can actually acquire the Kodak site – that's amazing," said Anne Kress, MCC president.
Despite an 11th-hour challenge from Legislature Democrats, MCC will spend $2.9 million, purchasing more than 550,000 square feet on State Street.
Monroe County will borrow another $28 million to help finance a total $72 million redevelopment for the new campus.
Vocal opponents of the plan point out: that money is all from taxpayers.
"You know, MCC is not playing with their own money. They're playing with your money and mine. This is a public project and it's going to have to be paid for by the public," said Tom Richards, (D) Rochester Mayor.
"Proponents of the Kodak site claim there is not enough time to consider the Sibley building. Our view is that there's always enough time, to save the taxpayers $18 million dollars," said Joe Eddy, Winn Development.
Winn Development, which owns Sibley, has long-insisted they could more cheaply refit MCC's current home at Sibley to meet the college's needs.
On Tuesday, that argument was formally put to rest.
"In our assessment, the Winn proposal's claim that they can save $18 million dollars doesn't hold water," Kress said. "And so in the end, we think this is, long-term, the best proposal. And it's the most fiscally responsible."
The next step in the process now: MCC will move to purchase the Kodak property, then begin the three-to-five year redevelopment project. In the meantime, the downtown campus will remain at Sibley, as part of the college's renewed lease.