Thursday, December 20, 2012

New ECC Building Belongs Downtown - A Letter to the Buffalo News

This letter to the editor was published in the Buffalo News on December 19th, 2012. You can read it here.

New ECC building belongs downtown

The “Buffalo billion” comes at a great time for Erie County. As the county welcomes to downtown Buffalo the Albany-based AMRI, an advanced manufacturing and health science company, it shows the need for education to be tailored to these expanding sectors in the region. Erie Community College plays a role in providing these educational programs because they will eventually lead to jobs that are the backbone of these sectors.

When ECC decides soon on where to place a new academic building, remember that we need our education and jobs in proximity to one another. By having classes near jobs, we can give all students of various socioeconomic backgrounds the chance to have internships and employment.

Gregory Conley

Co-chairman, Young Citizens

for ECC, Buffalo

Sunday, November 25, 2012

YC4ECC Urges Elected Officials to Use $7.5 Million For the City Campus.

On Monday, November 19th, 2012, Bernice Radle and Greg Conley went to the County Budget Meeting in Downtown Buffalo to speak on behalf of Young Citizens for ECC and building a bigger and better downtown campus. 

The message is clear - Use the 7.5 million dollars to enhance the City Campus, not on the Amherst Campus. 

We are urging our elected officials to not give 7.5 million dollars to an ill conceived plan for the Amherst location. ECC does not need an expansion in the Amherst site, it needs a new overall vision with the City Campus as it's core education hub. The 7.5 million dollars was given to ECC by Erie County for a new building on the Amherst Campus however, that money can and should be redirected to enhance the City Campus.

The City campus can and should be the largest campus that provides all educational options. This will allow for all students to have easy access using public transit, networking and internship opportunities in our regional core and will provide a unique environment for learning. The Amherst & South Buffalo sites should act as secondary satellites for the ECC City Campus, not primary locations.Considering the amount of recent public transportation cuts to both suburban campus sites, there is an even greater lack of access to students who are low income and without personal transportation options. Additionally, with a large increase of international immigrants coming to Buffalo every year, Erie County needs to provide a campus that is accessible and available to our newest citizens who want to go to college. 

We are asking our elected officials to help create an ECC for the 21st Century, one that is urban, efficient and accessible to all. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

ECC to Study Feasibility of New Building!

Great news!
ECC has been required to hire a consultant to determine where the best location for the new building is. This is a great step forward for Buffalo because hopefully this will open the eyes of the College and County as to what young people need/want. The City Campus needs to be at the center of their operations due to it's accessibility to mass transit, employment options and the networking and internship opportunities. 

We are thankful for Erie County who is requiring the study as part of accessing the funding that was provided for the new building. 

You can read the article here.  and we included the text below. 

Erie County and its two-year community college hired a consultant to determine where to build a new academic building.
A contract for JMZ Architects and Planners of Glens Falls was approved recently by the Erie Community College board of trustees and the Erie County Legislature. The contract is for $171,200, while the college and county have each set aside $100,000 for the study.
ECC’s push for a $30 million building at the Amherst campus drew criticism earlier this year from groups that want the college to build in the city, not the suburbs.
The consultant’s 10-step study, which will include financial and educational analyses and community input, will help determine a clear-cut plan for the new building, saidMichael Farrell, an ECC spokesman.
JMZ’s timeline for the report is six months. The firm will meet with a committee of county, college and community members throughout the process, said William Reuter, ECC chief administrator and financial officer.
College President Jack Quinn said in March that a new academic building at the North Campus in Amherst is key to boosting enrollment. He said students who would attend classes at that campus are instead choosing Niagara County Community College, and he blamed ECC’s infrastructure.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ECC Makes Another Poor Decision - Job Center Relocating to Amherst.

Shame. Shame.
ECC yet again makes a poor decision that does not benefit the citizens of WNY. 
ECC announced last week that they are moving their Job Center from Orchard Park to Amherst. 

News Flash! 
People who don't have jobs, have a hard time paying for a car.. which means that this center should be located in a hub that is served by transit so that all people can have equal access to a job center. 

The bottom line is this: ECC wins because they "save" money on operating expenses while the citizens of Western New York loose because they have to take 2 buses and take an hour each way to an area just to find a potential job. This is not fair and does not provide access to all.
The building should have been located to the downtown campus where there is an equal opportunity for all of our citizens to find a job.

We are already looking into alternatives.. more information on the way.

You can read the Buffalo News link here:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Support from the Buffalo News Editorial Board!

Today the Buffalo News Editorial Board posted this article in support for ECC to build and concentrate into the downtown area. We are glad to see so much support for the city from the Buffalo News, the Common Council and most importantly - the citizens and students in Erie County. 
Now we need Mark Poloncarz to be more stern and push ECC the health and science building to be built into our regional downtown hub! Come on, Mark. This is what the students need and want!
Here is the article. Check it out.
It appears as if Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz is keeping his options open when it comes to the location of a new academic building for Erie Community College.
That's good.
So is news that county lawmakers, by unanimous vote, redesignated the $7.5 million set aside for the project but loosened the language about how the funds will be used. A year ago the Legislature specified that the money was to be used for a new building on the aging North Campus. In a significant change, the money is now designated for "Erie Community College building construction."
ECC officials have been pushing for a new academic building on the North Campus for two years. Poloncarz has lately made clear that he wants more planning before the decision is made about the building's location.
Poloncarz, in a letter to members of the Buffalo Common Council, wrote: "Without a thorough analysis of ECC's needs and the intended use for the building, no determination can be made of either the programs to be housed in it or the most appropriate site."
Here's a helpful hint on the proper site: downtown.
There's very little logic in continuing to spread resources throughout a three-campus system, as opposed to concentrating those efforts and funds into the downtown core. Poloncarz and county lawmakers should consider carefully the critical mass being developed downtown and the practicality of locating valuable educational resources near the expanding Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Eventually, access to Main Street downtown also will improve as progress continues in returning cars and two-way traffic to the stretch from Goodell Street to the Buffalo River.
So why not locate the new $30 million community building at its downtown location?
It's a question that's long been raised by former County Executive Joel A. Giambra, who has continued to pursue the goal of merging three campuses into one downtown. Giambra was right years ago, and he remains correct when he says that doing so would strengthen the institution.
Last month, ECC officials did say that plans for which programs would be in the new building are "fluid," and could include liberal arts, criminal justice and some technology. All subjects that fit well into a downtown setting.
Those who argue for placing the academic building on the North Campus say that they are competing for students -- and dollars -- when students opt instead for Niagara County Community College. And that reasoning, they insist, holds for a new academic building or a proposed dormitory.
But that argument doesn't hold up against the collective resources available in Buffalo's downtown nor the fact that the 50-year-old North Campus is in desperate need of attention. Expensive repairs and improvements to what's already there are needed.
Focusing its attention and resources downtown not only strengthens the community college but adds more momentum to the progress being made in the renovation of historic buildings, infrastructure improvements and educational and research opportunities, all of which are adding to the general sense of renewed vitality downtown.
Students, especially those seeking careers in law enforcement and health care, should want to be in the center of those operations downtown. Buffalo is moving forward, and ECC should be part of that progress.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Giambra is NOT the Only One Fighting

This article (HERE) was posted on Easter for the front page of the Buffalo News.

Basically to sum it up, it says that Joel Giambra is the mastermind behind the ECC fight. We are currently working on a statement for the press  to address this article because although we are thankful for what Joel Giambra is doing, we want the public to realize that other people are supportive and doing work to bring ECC's proposed building to the downtown core.YC4ECC has spent a lot of time and energy into building awareness, meeting with political figures, writing letters, working with council members for resolutions and pushing petitions all to push the health and science building to be built downtown. This article says nothing about our efforts and even hints that Joel is behind it all which is not the truth.

A real statement will be released shortly. In the mean time, take a look at the article linked above. Also, we put some photos in this post to show the readers that we have been active with talking at board meetings, working with the Buffalo common council as well as even passing out flyers at events this past summer.

ECC's Sprawl is NOT Convenient

So, this article (full text below) was posted today about how ECC's three campus system should remain because the writers son is a volunteer fire fighter about a mile away and it is convenient for his schedule.
We have several arguments here about why we believe promoting downtown investment is important for our region however, the main argument we want to drive home is convenience
Lets talk about convenience for a minute.
If an ECC student lived on Jefferson avenue, as many do, one would have to take two buses each way to get to ECC North campus which would take approximately one hour, or longer, depending on the bus schedule. All this time wasted for a 50 minute class? Hmmm... what is convenient about that? This also doesn't even begin to discuss the fact that the ECC student could have a job or a family to take care of at which, a two hour travel time for a short class could easily not be worth the effort and could deter the student from having success at ECC. Spending two hours on a bus is not convenient. 
We encourage you to take a look at the bus routes and see it for yourself. For someone who does not have a car, we should be promoting a college education that provides access to everyone.. oh wait, that is a part of ECC's mission statement, right? Yes, it is.

Here is the article.

In case you don’t know it, I am a huge fan of Erie Community College. I graduated from ECC’s North campus in 1981 with a two year degree in English/Humanities. I then went on to a four year college and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting. My education from ECC gave me a perfect foundation to achieve a four year degree and it also put me on the path to the career that I have now. In September of 2010, I was honored as one of Erie Community College’s Distinguished Alumni for my work in broadcasting and local charities. That recognition from my Alma mater is one the highlights of my life and career.
Yesterday I read a very disturbing article in the paper where a former county executive is trying to derail ECC’s plans to build a new building on the North campus in Williamsville. Joel Giambra claims that ECC’s new building must be built downtown because the city of Buffalo is dying. Mr. Giambra wants ECC to consolidate its three campuses and have everything centrally located in downtown Buffalo. This would be a huge mistake. ECC is thriving and serving our community well because of its three campuses. The three locations are perfectly situated in downtown Buffalo, Williamsville and Orchard Park. I live about a mile and a half from the North campus in Williamsville. My son Tyler is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice with all of his classes at the North campus. He is also a member of the Main Transit Fire Department located less than a mile from the ECC North campus. There are times when he is attending class and gets a fire call and has to leave the campus. Because of the close proximity of ECC North campus and the Main Transit Fire Department, he is able to help his community when needed and get back on campus all in a timely manor. If every ECC class were taught in downtown Buffalo, it would prevent my son from going to fire  and rescue calls while at school. It would also cost my son a lot more in fuel costs if he had to attend class in downtown Buffalo. With the price of gasoline these days, I don’t think he would be able to afford attending classes in downtown Buffalo. I don’t think Joel Giamabra realizes that many young people today are also in the same situation as my son. Money is tight and having a campus located near home is vital. It can mean the difference between being able to attend college classes and not.
It seems that Mr. Giambra has a personal ax to grind. He tried to consolidate the three campuses of ECC while he was County Executive. His plan was shut down back then because it’s a bad idea. Now he is threatening legal action to stop the new building from being constructed on the North Campus. We don’t need Joel Giambra trying to fix something that is not broken. Erie Community College is working perfectly the way it is. President Jack Quinn are his staff are to be commended for the fabulous way the college is being run and serving our Western new York community.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Common Council Meeting - Tuesday, April 10th - 2pm @ City Hall. Come!!!

Hello Everyone!!
On Tuesday, April 10th at 2pm, both Bernice Radle and Greg Conley will be speaking at the City of Buffalo's common council meeting to show support for a resolution which asks the County Executive to withdraw his support of ECC building the health and science building in Amherst.

We are looking for people to come out and show support. We are VERY thankful that the common council continues to push this issue. Obviously they feel that this is important and will only be good for the students and the community. We must continue to push to bring this building downtown which will help bring ECC students closer to the jobs and networking opportunities within and surrounding the very successful Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

See you there. No signs allowed but if you have the Tshirts we made this summer, that would be neat to see.

April 10th @ 2pm. Common Council chambers in City Hall!

Go Buffalo!

Monday, April 2, 2012

ECC Should Utilize Sheehan Hospital Instead.

This comes directly from Buffalorising. Thank you to BRO for the maps and research on this one!
Erie Community College officials are determined to build a $30 million academic building on its North Campus in Amherst.  Governor Cuomo's proposed 2012-13 budgetallocates $15 million in funding for the 110,000 sq.ft. building.  Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz is supporting a county match of $7.5 million as previously proposed by former Executive Chris Collins.  The college and its foundation are expecting to raise another $7.5 towards the capital project.
When first announced, the plan was to house health sciences programs in the new structure. That set off howls of protest from city officials and others calling the move shortsighted and questioning why health science programs weren't located at the City Campus or Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  With good reason. 
ECC officials are now saying the new structure would be an "academic building" and the exact programs to be housed are yet to be determined.  No matter, the Buffalo Common Council earlier this month went on record supporting building near the City Campus where consolidation of the community college's three campuses has been tossed around for over a decade.
sheehansite.PNGECC may not even need to build if it can be convinced to expand downtown.  A building may be available soon.  Last week, Sheehan Health Network announced it is closing its facility at Michigan Avenue and Clinton Street for financial reasons.  The five-story building opened in 1979 and has 111,000 sq.ft. of space.  It's located just three blocks from the City Campus.  Sheehan also has coveted parking and plenty of room for expansion.  The property is 8.6 acres, four blocks east of Lafayette Square.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lets Get With the Program.

The WBFO post from last week talks about how ECC now has support from our county executive... Great.. Well, we are still happy that he sees the importance of making sure that the right programs are being taught in that building and that he wants a study done.

This summer, Bernice Radle, had the opportunity to address the City Council with a list of the programs that would be taught in this new building and they were ALL medical related. We don't imagine that this list has changed very much since the nursing and other health/medical related programs are very important at ECC.

Regardless of the classes, this money approval shows that our local government is not thinking regional as well as going against what our governor is pushing to do which is pushing our strength into our downtown core. Our regional government is supporting sprawl in a time where bus lines out to the campus are being taken away. We are supporting to build a new building when ECC claims the other buildings are out of date.. shouldnt we be putting funds into restoring the buildings we already have?

Sprawl, Sprawl, Sprawl. Why are we not building smarter and denser? Why is ECC running away from the medical campus when all others are pushing to be a part of it? Why does our County Executive support ECC despite the HUGE amount of public outcry on this issue? Why are we not thinking regionally?

Lets get with the program.

The Common Council Urges Poloncarz to Withdraw Support!

This appeared in the Buffalo News on Friday. Thank you to our council members for taking the future of downtown Buffalo seriously!
Here is the text:
The Buffalo Common Council is asking Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz to withdraw his support — and county funding — for a proposed academic building on the North Campus in Amherst.
Council members favor building near the City Campus, instead.
Building in Amherst “would be the latest in a long line of critical planning mistakes that have plagued the region,” Council members said in a letter to the county executive.
The letter — signed this week by all nine Council members — comes after the Poloncarz administration recently gave assurances that the county would keep its commitment to contribute $7.5 million for a new $30 million building on the Amherst campus, which has fallen into disrepair.
“At a time when other regions across the country are acknowledging the inevitable long-term negative economic and environmental impacts of ‘sprawl’ development,” the Council letter reads, “Erie County appears poised to actively encourage and fund it in the amount of $7.5 million.”
The letter goes on to say that sustaining three campuses — in Amherst, Buffalo and Orchard Park — is financially unsustainable for taxpayers.
A Poloncarz spokesman did not want to comment on the Council’s letter Thursday, because the county executive had not yet seen it.
County lawmakers last year agreed to designate $7.5 million for the project, with the expectation that the college and its foundation would raise another $7.5 million.
That money would be used to match $15 million in state aid that is in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed 2012-13 budget.
The Council is the latest to come out in opposition against the building on the North Campus.
Former Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra— who fought for years with ECC officials to consolidate the three campuses downtown to help strengthen and revitalize the city’s core — has been the most vocal critic of plans for North.
A group that calls itself Young Citizens for ECC also has been voicing its opposition.
Members of that group received support from the Council months ago, when city lawmakers — including North District Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. and Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen—tried to pressure ECC officials to reconsider the Amherst proposal.
So, it was no surprise the Council took the stance it did this week, said Jason Kulaszewski, a spokesman for Young Citizens for ECC.
“I’m glad to see that they did,” said Kulaszewski, an ECC alumnus. “It’s great to get that support from the people in power in the City of Buffalo.”
One of the points of contention has been the use of the proposed building.
Opponents argue that initial discussions were to use the building for health and science programs, but a building designed for that purpose would be better suited for the City Campus, near the emerging Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
ECC now says that’s not the case and the specific use for the building is still being determined.
ECC President Jack F. Quinn Jr. also did not know about the Council letter Thursday, but said he looks forward to ongoing discussions with the Council.
“Their views will be taken into consideration,” Quinn said.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Letter Sent to the WNY Regional Economic Council.

I write on behalf of Young Citizens for ECC, an advocacy group of students and young professionals dedicated to the growth and development of Erie Community College.
We are interested in bringing to the attention of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council an unprecedented opportunity to bring ECC's proposed $30 million Health Sciences Center for Excellence, slated for its North Campus, to the City Campus in downtown Buffalo. Such a facility could become the hub of the college's health sciences programs and contribute to the ongoing growth and development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, now the leading job creator in Western New York.
We believe bringing this facility to the City Campus is the only alternative consistent with the smart growth and workforce development objectives of the WNY Regional Economic Development Strategy Plan. With 50% of all health sciences workers in the United States being educated at community colleges, it only makes sense for Erie Community College to become a more active partner in Buffalo's fast growing health sciences industry. The proposal simply must be shifted to the regional hub of downtown Buffalo where this investment can have the strongest impact.
The State University of New York recently submitted a proposed $15 million budget earmark to build this academic building at ECC's North Campus to Governor Cuomo for his consideration. The Governor has a 30-day window to amend this proposal. We are seeking the support of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council for such an amendment to shift this State investment to the City Campus where it can contribute to the ongoing development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
We would be pleased to present our case at the next scheduled meeting of the WNY Economic Development Council. Thank you kindly for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me at (760) 408-7898 for further information.
Bernice Radle
Chair, Young Citizens for ECC

Buffalo common council passes resolution!!

On Monday, the Buffalo common council voted and passed unanimously a resolution that asks ECC to build their health sciences center for excellence in downtown Buffalo instead of Amherst! Great news!!
We are very thankful to have such understanding, progressive political leaders in the Buffalo
Common council.
More information will be posted soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Young Citizens for ECC to Cuomo: "Over our dead bodies!"

Young Citizens for ECC to Cuomo: "Over our dead bodies!"

BUFFALO, NY -- Young Citizens for ECC delivered a message today to Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “The ECC North Campus expansion happens over our dead bodies!”

The group is protesting the State University of New York’s proposed $15 million budget earmark to build a Health Sciences Center for Excellence at ECC’s North Campus, rather than the City Campus where it can tap into emerging opportunities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“We are calling on Gov. Cuomo to stop this runaway freight train,” says Bernice Radle, chair of Young Citizens for ECC. “It’s time to bring this Health Sciences Center for Excellence downtown where it belongs.”

Young Citizens for ECC is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to amend the earmark and shift the proposal to the City Campus, consistent with smart growth and workforce development goals of the Governor’s recently released WNY Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan.

“When Gov. Cuomo unveiled his regional economic development plan, there was reason for optimism,” says Bernice Radle. “Now we see this plan is already being ignored.”

SUNY forwarded the proposed earmark to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday for his consideration. The Governor has a 30-day window to amend the proposal.

“Buffalo has a long history of not implementing its plans, but we believe Gov. Cuomo can discontinue this pattern,” says Radle. “The smart growth solution to ECC expansion is to build in the regional hub of downtown Buffalo.”

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is now the leading job creator in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region, which the Brookings Institute recently found had the nation’s 4th highest income growth among metro areas during the past two years.

“Why would ECC ignore an unprecedented opportunity to locate steps from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus?” asks Radle. “ECC's proposal is insanity, pure and simple.”

In recent months, both the UB Medical School and the Health Sciences Charter School have have either relocated or committed to relocate to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Young Citizens for ECC is counting on Gov. Cuomo and his Regional Economic Development Council to make Erie Community College a more active partner in Buffalo’s fast growing health sciences sector.

“It’s time to expand ECC’s City Campus,” declared Radle. “It’s downtown or bust!”

For more information, contact Bernice Radle, Chair of Young Citizens for ECC, at (760) 408-7898 or

Cuomo announces 15 million for ECC North?!

This came out today.

Do not stress. We are working on this. We have been growing in numbers over the last 6 months and ramping up silently.
We will have an official press release soon.

Thanks for everyone's support!