JCC Board Approves Land Acquisition

Jamestown Community College is continuing the expansion of its campus along Curtis Street.

During a Tuesday meeting of JCC’s board of trustees, a resolution regarding the college’s acquisition of 2835 Curtis St. – also known as the “Cohen,” or “Moonbrook,” property -was passed by the board.

The property is a 50-acre parcel of land that includes a 5,131-square-foot house, a two-car attached garage and a substantial barn. Sitting adjacent to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and across the street from JCC’s College Park, the property is intended to be used for college activities and programs, community rentals and future development.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of work for a long time,” said Lillian Ney, board member.

According to Peg Cornell, chairperson of the board’s Building and Grounds Committee, the college performed an appraisal of the property several months ago, which resulted in an estimated value of $400,000. She said the building and grounds committee is working with two appraisal firms to provide requisite appraisals for SUNY approval of the acquisition.

Cornell reported the purchase price to be $450,000. Steve Abdella, providing legal counsel for JCC, clarified the items necessitating the additional $50,000 of funds.

“The actual contract purchase price, at this point, is for $400,000. The additional monies are for expenses relating to due diligence, closing costs and perhaps acquisition of furniture, as well,” Abdella said.

Cornell also reported that the house is fully furnished, though the committee has not yet negotiated the purchase of the furniture. John Garfoot, vice president of administration, said the executor of the estate has expressed limited interest in any of the furniture, excepting that of sentimental value.

According to Cornell’s report, JCC requested and received funding from Chautauqua County and the state to purchase $400,000 worth of properties near the Jamestown campus. The intent behind obtaining the funding was to pursue a number of properties around the campus. The purchase of “Cohen” property would consume the entire property acquisition amount for which the college has approval.

Cornell suggested the house situated on the property be utilized in much the same fashion as Sheldon House. Other potential uses for the house include: rental for events; use for gatherings, rentals or housing campus visitors; use as an institutional advancement/foundation house, a recruitment house and/or an alumnus house; or use for temporary housing for new faculty members relocating to the area.

Potential uses for the barn include: additional facilities storage; academic purposes such as a gathering site prior to field trips into the wooded areas, or environmental studies; or future development, which will be considered depending on the availability of funding.

Tuesday’s board meeting was also noteworthy in that it was the first to be attended by JCC’s new president, Dr. Cory Duckworth. A presidents’ report was given by Duckworth, consisting of his thanks to the board, a summary of his first four days on the job and an outline of his goals for the college.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to be here at my first board meeting,” Duckworth said. “I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to express my really deep appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity and the trust that (the board has) placed in me to come and to be a part of this great organization.”