Empire State College, Brighton agree on site

By TROY L. SMITH - 8/22/2012 3:41:23 PM

The town of Brighton has signed an agreement with SUNY Empire State College to allow the academic institution to build its $11 million learning center on Westfall Road.

A memorandum of understanding is up for approval at a town board meeting Wednesday night.

The property is owned by the state and occupied by the New York State Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.

Empire State College had previously purchased 11 acres on South Clinton Avenue to build the 33,000-square-foot facility. The town of Brighton, however, had expressed concerns about the fiscal impact of the move, since it would remove taxable land from the tax roll, officials said in a statement.

Brighton town supervisor William Moehle worked with Assemblyman Joseph Morelle to help facilitate an agreement to build the learning center on Westfall Road property, which is tax exempt.

If the memorandum of understanding is approved, the South Clinton property would be declared surplus and put back on the real estate market. The agreement also grants the town an easement on Westfall Road for inclusion of the proposed Highland Canal Trail, officials said.

“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,” Morelle said. “The new campus will create construction and permanent jobs our economy needs, and the town welcomes a great new neighbor.”

Moehle said the agreement was a win-win for the college and the town.

“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.”

Construction on the learning center is expected to begin in spring and be complete by the end of 2014.

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