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Maine-Endwell Holds Public Hearing on Potential Land Purchase

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The Maine-Endwell Central School District held a public hearing on Thursday night to answer questions about a potential land purchase. The District wants to use $165,000 from Capital Reserve funds to buy 1.1 acres of land adjacent to Maine-Endwell High School located at 814 Farm to Market Road.

"Rarely are you able to create additional space of the footprint of your school property," said Jason Van Fossen, M-E Superintendent.

The District says they were approached by the current owner of the land, who says they have a desire to sell.

"It's a great opportunity for them and I think  there's a lot of benefit to not just current students, but future students as well," said Tammy Patake, Current Property Owner.

In May 2016, Maine-Endwell voters established a Capital Reserve Fund, which collects unexpended dollars at the end of the school year. The Fund is not paid through additional taxes, rather by what was not spent the previous years. It was created to be used for improvements and upgrades to the District.

The Fund has around $1.5 million available for use but requires voter approval before any further action can be taken.

The School District says they don't have an immediate plan for how the land will be used but they do plan to hold community discussions on how to best utilize the property if the referendum passes.

According to the School District, this property was available in 2009. The District asked residents to approve a referendum for $475,000 to acquire the land for construction of a parking lot. That proposed purchase would've required the funds to be raised by tax dollars and it didn't pass.

Those who oppose purchasing the land believe the District plans on turning the property into a parking lot once this referendum passes and say they aren't being honest about the additional costs - including demolition of the current structures and future construction.

The referendum vote will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on August 22. Polls will be open at the District Office Staff Development Room, 712 Farm to Market Road. for residents in the Town of Union and at Maine Memorial Elementary School, 2693 Main Street, for everyone else.