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Visitor's group buys Branchport building

PENN YAN—A buyer has been found for the shuttered Branchport school property. At the March 31 meeting of the Penn Yan Central School District board of education, members voted unanimously to accept a purchase offer of $200,000 for the property on Guyanoga Road from the Finger Lakes Visitors Association (FLVA).
Contacted later in the week, FLVA president David Wegman said the purchase is contingent on property in Keuka Lake State Park being selected as the site of the proposed Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum, calling it “an important part of the puzzle.”  If the site in Yates County is purchased by FLVA, it would be used for storage of artifacts and for meetings and, as Wegman termed it, “a place to call home.” He said the museum has already been offered exhibits for use in the new facility, which is expected to open in 2014.
Wegman said there is a team working on securing the museum for the Yates County site. The Branchport school property is roughly a mile from the state park site under consideration for the museum. The Keuka Lake State Park site and another site in Geneva on Seneca Lake are the two finalists remaining from 19 original sites that were considered for the museum’s home.
Decision on location of the museum may be announced in about 30 days according to Wegman. If the sale to FLVA is completed in a few weeks,  money from the sale would go into a reserve against the property tax levy for two years according to district Assistant Superintendent for Business Doug Tomandl.
The school has not been used by the Penn Yan Central School District since renovations and additions at the elementary school in Penn Yan were completed. Marcus Whitman Central School District used the property for their ECO program for two years after Penn Yan students moved to the village.
The property includes the school building and approximately 15 acres. It was appraised in 20009 for $250,000. However, the building needs work on the roof and heating system and asbestos abatement may be required.

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