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July 11, 2019 - 3:10pm

Economic development leaders call on governor to help get funding approval or Ellicott Station

posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, news, batavia, notify.

Open Letter:

In Batavia, we are proud to call ourselves New Yorkers.  Our residents’ band together in shared experiences and pride for our City and the great state of New York. Our city, the crossroads of Western New York, rose as thousands traveled through our downtown and neighborhoods toward destinations of employment and prosperity.  Many found Batavia and stayed to create an amazing life for their families.

Imagine the energy that 1,300 workers at Massey Harris generated as they built modern tractors and equipment from a 1 million Sq. Ft. of manufacturing operation in the heart of the City.  Batavia hummed with production and vibrancy, good wages, and happy families.  Their hard work and sweat allowed rural families across the world to give their children opportunities beyond back-breaking labor, and the food that fed millions.

Finishing their shifts, workers congregated downtown supporting merchants, professionals, and even a cluster of breweries that welcomed their neighbors.  The smell of freshly baked breads, the sight of produce and meat hanging in the window, the sound of the train rolling through, and the excitement of a vibrant downtown permeated the senses.

That era fell away with Urban Renewal and an economic decline that lasted decades.  Children walking to school saw vacant sites decaying and open lots.  The blight of hollowed, crumbling brownfields like Ellicott Station cannot support their ambitions, does not give them sense of purpose, and will not bring opportunities to advance personal prosperity.

As partners in the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2), the City of Batavia, the Batavia City School District, and Genesee County forgo immediate funding to pledge investments in distressed brownfield areas.  The BP2 was created to catalyze growth in Batavia’s main corridors and foster quality of life of our neighbors. 

Far too many families continue to experience and walk past blighted brownfield properties with decaying buildings and broken windows in Upstate New York, including the Ellicott Station site. This site is not only an environmental hazard and an eyesore; it represents the delicate balance between poverty and the hope for a successful future.

The BP2 initiative was born out of the City’s Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) and was a major driver in attracting Savarino Companies as the developer to the Ellicott Station Brownfield.  Other economic development partners and state agencies have come to the table to assist the project, understanding the importance of getting Batavia’s first brownfield rehabilitated. 

Leveraging millions of dollars of investments to transform Ellicott Station will bring up to 60 good-paying, full-time jobs and reconnect our community along the path of the Ellicott Trail.  Cleaning up the Ellicott Station site enables a vision to add downtown apartments sought by Millennials, retirees, and the professionals connected to Rochester and Buffalo.  The project has materialized slowly and only recently when Governor Cuomo announced Batavia as a Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) winner did hope rise that the necessary funding support would come together to finalize the project and construction could begin. 

Advancing the largest investment in decades in downtown Batavia gives momentum to over a dozen more local DRI projects identified as community priorities and supported by Governor Cuomo and leaders at the Department of State, Empire State Development and the Department of Housing and Community Renewal.

The BP2 partners have been working since 2016 to get this project off the ground and we cannot turn away from the challenges we have overcome and opportunities we can achieve with a project of this size and scale. 

The time has come for the community and our economic development partners including all the engaged state and local agencies to join together to resolve the final pieces necessary to move this project forward.  With the Governor’s leadership at this important moment, we will make it a reality.

Eugene Jankowski, Jr., President, Batavia City Council
Robert Bausch, Chairman, Genesee County Legislature
Patrick Burk, President, Batavia City School District Board of Education
Paul Battaglia, Chairman, Genesee County Economic Development Center
Pierluigi Cipollone, President, Batavia Development Corporation

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