Mayor Richards: COMIDA is holding up Sibley building project
Posted at: 10/02/2012 5:46 PM
| Updated at: 10/02/2012 6:26 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren | WHEC.com
Another downtown project is stalled. This time, Rochester Mayor Tom Richards is calling out Maggie Brooks, claiming the county executive is playing a political game with taxpayer dollars.
Mayor Richards says COMIDA, the County’s Industrial Development Agency, is holding up tax breaks needed for the Sibley building restoration project. Brooks claims it's a lot more complicated and that the mayor is just frustrated with the process.
The mayor says COMIDA has had more than enough time to look over the plans Winn Development has for the Sibley building and they should be moving forward. But Maggie Brooks says there hasn’t been enough time and they need to make sure this is the best plan for taxpayers.
Rochester Mayor Tom Richards said, “I haven't been able to get a hold of the county executive. I’ve called her over the last week twice, I didn't get a response.”
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “He knows that I am always going to make myself available to him I have an open door policy, I’m always accessible. Our staffs talk constantly.
The mayor says he was told politics may be getting in the way. He said he was told this will put pressure on a couple democratic legislators to vote yes on the plan to move MCC to the Kodak site.
Maggie Brooks said the MCC plan is completely separate from the Sibley building redevelopment and she has always been in favor of the redevelopment. Brooks says COMIDA just needs more time to look through the plan Winn Development has put forth.
Richards said, “We've been told they need to study, but I don't buy that I got to tell you. I don't buy it for two reasons. One, we've been told there's another agenda here and second of all, I don't buy it because there's been plenty of time to study this.”
Brooks said, “We just want to get it right. We’re spending a lot of taxpayer money. A lot of money has been spent at that site already and has been lost at that site and we want to make sure we get a good result.”
Winn Development plans to create a space with educational, commercial, retail and residential properties, all things that Mayor Richards and the county executive say are essential to downtown. But if the mayor doesn't hear from COMIDA soon, he says he may have to seek approval elsewhere. Something he really doesn't want to have to do.