CAZENOVIA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With the former Cazenovia College campus still up for sale, suggestions on how to repurpose the campus are now being discussed. Ideas were presented at a public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11. This marked the first public meeting since the college closed its doors for good this past spring.
There’s a lot of uncertainty circling the former Cazenovia College campus.
“I’m concerned about the college,” said Bill Danehy, a lifelong resident of Cazenovia.
Concerns and questions led to a packed house full of people inside the Hampton Inn Wednesday afternoon, ready to hear what’s next.
The meeting was held by the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) and Cazenovia Preservation Foundation (CPF).
“It’s in the really early stages right now. So it’s also a very fluid process, so we’ve had to stay really flexible. And my organization, we’re partnering with the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation. We’re just gathering the community and putting stakeholders together and trying to get feedback that we can then present to future buyers of the campus,” said Lauren Lines, executive director for Cazenovia Area Community Development Association.
Different groups presented their ideas to the public, explaining why they believe it would best fit the property that’s currently being used as a training facility for New York State Police. After each presentation, the public was allowed to ask questions. Feedback forms were also provided to the public.
The ideas presented include, the Academy for Students with Language-Based Learning Differences, Agriculture Technology Innovation Center, Senior Independent Living (Community Wellness Partners), Liberal Arts College focusing on Ukraine Studies, Center for Preservation Trades at Cazenovia, the Academy at American High and Cazenovia Center for the Arts.
Jeremy Rutter, CEO and president of Wellness Partners, presented his idea of opening a Senior Independent Living Home.
“We find that communities like this really do well in communities where you have retired teachers, retired professors, attorneys, people who want to be active and lifelong learners in their community,” said Rutter.
If the campus were to be transformed into a senior home, it would have about 80 to 100 apartments, housing roughly 180 people. The idea of a senior living home also caught the attention of Danehy.
“Well, it’s like going back to college again. For me, that would be really something to be at my age to be in an atmosphere with social activities and a lot of reading and activities for seniors and good health, and there is good health to plan for Cazenovia campus,” said Danehy.
The senior independent living home would also bring jobs to the area.
“We would hire locally. You would see, I would say for that size facility, anywhere from 50 to 75 positions,” said Rutter.
“We have two grants that will fund a master plan for the college campus, so as we get further along that process, we’ll, I’m sure, be having other public meetings,” said Lines.
A total of $250,000 worth of grants were given by the New York State Empire State Development and the Federal Economic Development Administration for repurposing the former campus.
“We’ll do some planning studies right away, including a parking study to figure out how future use might accommodate additional parking. And for example, a housing study to see if additional housing needs are present in our community, and then we’ll proceed. As we understand a little bit more how the real estate acquisition unfolds, then we’ll do some master planning around the whole campus in line with whatever future uses are identified,” said Lines.
A second public meeting was held Wednesday night at the Hampton Inn in Cazenovia from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
If you were unable to attend the meetings, please click here for more details.