Putting new ECC building in Amherst is a big mistake

County Legislator Patrick Burke is to be applauded for making an effort to get the Legislature to rethink its ill-considered decision to locate the new Erie Community College Science Building at the North Campus in Amherst. Burke rightly emphasized again that there is land also owned by the county downtown on which to locate the new building at two locations near ECC – at 100 North Division St. and at 45 Oak St.

The Legislature’s regrettable and short-sighted decision to locate the building in Amherst unfortunately represents the latest expression of sprawl, a prime example of which is the location of the University at Buffalo campus in the 1970s on the Amherst flood plain. Thankfully UB has been looking to downtown to partially correct the colossal mistake of its North Campus by locating the Bioinformatics Center and now the Medical School downtown near Buffalo General Medical Center.

The Legislature seems to have no comprehension or concern that the synergies being generated downtown by Kaleida projects, Roswell Park and UB make the location of the new ECC Science Building downtown ideal. ECC students will suffer the disadvantage of this mistake. Instead of participating in the renaissance of downtown, ECC has consigned itself and its students to the margins and the suburbs. The unused plots owned by the county near the City Campus fortunately remain for future enlightened development by ECC when and if the county wakes up. Hopefully efforts by community groups, including a possible lawsuit, can still produce the better result here.

Vincent F. Gugino