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Genesee Legislature backs incentives to boost downtown Batavia

BATAVIA – Now that Genesee County has given its blessing to the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity plan, Julie Pacatte says she is eager to roll up her sleeves and go to work to lift the city’s downtown area to new heights.

“It’s incredible to know that we are on the cutting edge for new local development in our city. Things will come together through the cooperation and collaboration of these five entities,” said Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corp.

She made her comments on Wednesday, following the Genesee County Legislature’s unanimous vote to support the initiative that will provide tax incentives to developers who invest in the city’s 366-acre Brownfield Opportunity Area.

Genesee County, the City of Batavia and the Batavia School District have agreed to put half of their payments in lieu of taxes into a fund to provide tax breaks for investors. The fund will be administered by the development agency in cooperation with the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Pacatte said she hopes that the redevelopment of Ellicott Station LLC, a three-acre parcel that was the site of the former Soccio & Della Penna construction firm and Santy’s Tire Sales, will be the first of many projects that serve to eliminate core brownfield areas and reduce poverty through infrastructure enhancement, real estate redevelopment and job creation.

Previously, she announced that her agency has identified a “preferred local developer” that will purchase the land.

Pacatte said the actual amount of the tax incentives provided through the fund depends upon the individual project.

“At the outset, (abatements) will be based upon what the project will be contributing to the fund as well as a determination of the increase in the assessed value as a result of the new development,” she said.

The county’s decision to take part in the Pathway to Prosperity program represents a major breakthrough at the local level, said Mary Valle, longtime owner of Valle Jewelers on Jackson Street and a member of the Vibrant Batavia neighborhood advancement committee.

“For so many years I feel that we’ve been segregated – the city, the town, the county. It was like we were separate entities. Finally, people understand that we need to come together,” she said.

In other action, the Legislature, following up on its Ways & Means Committee recommendations by:

• Authorizing spending up to $900,000 of the county’s motel and hotel tax receipts to fund the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s publicity and tourism activities, and to purchase and renovate the agency’s new offices on Park Road in the Town of Batavia.

• Passing a resolution declaring that there will be no significant impact upon the environment due to the sale of the Genesee County Nursing Home to Premier Healthcare Management LLC of Great Neck, L.I.