by Jeremy Moule
County Legislature Democrats still have questions and concerns about Monroe Community College's plan for a new downtown campus at Kodak's State Street site.
Earlier this week, County Executive Maggie Brooks submitted legislation that, if approved, would authorize the county to buy several buildings and part of a parking lot from Kodak. The Recreation and Education Committee approved the legislation last night; "yes" votes came from the three Republican members as well as Democratic Legislator Glenn Gamble, while Democratic Legislator Joe Morelle Jr. voted against the measure. Morelle said he's not convinced that Kodak is the best choice for students or taxpayers.
In interviews prior to meeting, Democratic Leader Carrie Andrews said she still has significant concerns about parts of the project, including the amount of space MCC needs versus how much it's actually buying.
Democratic Legislator Cynthia Kaleh says that, because of the information her caucus has received from MCC officials, she is more comfortable with a Kodak campus. Andrews and Kaleh serve on the Ways and Means Committee, which will take up the MCC legislation during its meeting at 6 p.m. today.
Last night, Gamble and Morelle each questioned MCC President Anne Kress and representatives ofthe county administration. They focused on utilities, the amount of space MCC is purchasing, and transportation issues. The responses:
· Kress said the county and college haven't decided whether they'll hook the Kodak site buildings into a city steam heating district. The buildings they're purchasing include heating and cooling utilities for the entire complex and MCC could use that resource instead. Kress said the issue "still needs to be defined" in a final purchase contract.
· Kress also said that college and Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority officials are talking about ways to improve bus transportation for city campus students. About 40 percent of MCC students — the figure includes the Brighton and city campuses — use public transportation, Kress said.
· The state is aware of how much space MCC wants to acquire and that not all of it will be used immediately, Kress said. She said she doesn't expect any problems with state aid because of unused space. The extra space creates the opportunity to expand educational and work force training programs. It could also house some administrative offices that are currently located on the Brighton campus, Kress said. That would free up instructional space on the Brighton campus, which has limited space for expansion, she said.