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Critics blast ECC North expansion

Chris Caya/wbfo news

The Buffalo Common Council is using its bully pulpit to try and derail Erie Community College's plan to expand in Amherst. 

About three dozen people turned out for a public  hearing hosted by Buffalo's Common Council. Everyone who spoke opposed ECC's plan to build a $30 million health sciences building on the college's North Campus.

Hallwalls Director Ed Cardoni says for students without a car "the North Campus may as well be on the moon."    "What's within walking distance of the site in Amherst? Basically nothing. Nothing," Cardoni said.

"The list that I gave of what's within walking distance- that's new development - that's exciting development happening [downtown] - and I didn't even mention the Medical Campus because obviously - that's the sort of the major thing. Why would you move medical training facilities for ECC away from UB's new medical school and the Medical Campus downtown? It just doesn't make any sense."  

The group "Young Citizens for ECC" points out 47 percent of the college's students live in the City of Buffalo. They point out that it takes more than an hour by Metro Bus to get from the City Campus to the North Campus.

Joel Giambra, the former County Executive who pushed to consolidate the three campuses downtown, called the expansion plan quote "insanity."

"There will be a lawsuit.  A group of attorneys has been assembled. They're looking at the state statute on sprawl. Because it's in total violation of the state statute on sprawl."

Councilmember Joseph Golombek says a resolution opposing ECC's plan was recently approved unanimously.  

"Because we don't want to see another stadium in the suburbs. We don't want to see another college campus going into the suburbs. We believe they should be in downtown Buffalo and that's what we're going to keep advocating for."   

Councilmember Darius Pridgen says instead of serving the community,  ECC is acting like an Ivy League institution.