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Journalism that gets results: City Council lodges complaint about Ellicott Station

By Howard B. Owens

Journalists work hard, report important stories and hope they're making a difference. 

Often we feel that we do make a difference, but we don't often see the tangible results.

Our news editor, Joanne Beck, broke the story about Ellicott Station unexpectedly becoming a low-income housing project when the community was promised something far different.  She stayed on top of the story, providing follow-ups and more details.

As a result, the community and Batavia City Council took notice.

As The Batavian reported first, last night City Council approved a letter to Homes and Community Renewal asking that rather than relegate the property to low-income housing, the income standards be raised to better fit the original intention of the complex. That intention was to serve the needs of people making workforce wages, which HUD defines as 80 to 120 percent of an area's median income.

The current 50 to 60 percent AMI for the project is what HUD defines as "very low income."  

“This is a fundamental change from the goals for the Ellicott Station project and does not match the BOA or DRI strategies for development of our downtown,” the letter states.

Kudos to the City Council for taking action, even if the letter might fall on deaf ears. It's unlikely the city has any power other than write a letter in an attempt to change the rental requirements for the project, but documenting the community's concerns and the history of the project is an important step if there is any chance to effect a change.

So, we're glad to see some action taken following our exclusive coverage of the issue.



I am in total agreement. This project was originally for middle income folks. Our city needs this bad. We need to draw more middle income taxpayers to Batavia. They shop more, spend more and financially contribute to this community. Low Income housing is of course essential. But at this time, Batavia is over run with low income housing. I live in low income housing and can say we have empty apartments all year long. These HUD supported facilities do not move Batavia forward, they are not designed to. They do not attract middle income people to Batavia. And no, I am not against low income housing. I just think we have plenty already. Somebody dropped the ball on this one. I urge city council to put the blame where it belongs, and hold those who are responsible accountable, even if it is city council. But I do not suspect it is city council.

Mar 15, 2023, 7:44am Permalink

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