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Geneva City Council balks at Parrott Hall legal papers

With $400,000 in state grant money available, a coalition hoping to save a city landmark from demolition is ready to make necessary stabilization repairs.

However, fixing Parrott Hall — the first building on the campus of Cornell AgriTech at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station — is temporarily on hold until some legal paperwork is finalized.

City Council has been asked by Parrott Hall supporters to enter into a licensing agreement with the building’s owner, the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The agreement would allow Friends of Parrott Hall, the Preservation League of New York and the Landmark Society of Western New York to coordinate repairs. The city would provide any administrative and legal support needed, including applying for grants. In fact, it was the city that secured the $400,000 grant included in the latest round of state Regional Economic Development Council awards.

To get rolling on the stabilization work, which includes repairing Parrott Hall’s leaking roof that has led to extensive water damage to the interior, City Manager Sage Gerling asked Council to allow her to execute the licensing agreement with state Parks, as well as a memorandum of understanding with the Parrott Hall group that spells out each entity’s responsibilities in the effort to rehabilitate and re-purpose the building.

However, the five-year licensing agreement and accompanying memorandum of understanding are still draft documents at this point.

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