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Anticipation builds around final Willard redevelopment meeting set for Nov. 13

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Community members will have their final chance to hear the redevelopment plans for the historic Willard Psychiatric Center campus during a meeting scheduled for November 13 at the South Seneca Middle/High School auditorium.

The session, set for 5 p.m., will reveal the consulting team’s recommendations for the “highest and best use” of the sprawling 650-acre site. Previous meetings have shaped a vision that includes a mix of recreational, residential, educational, and hospitality purposes for the state-owned property.

Seneca County’s concerted efforts to repurpose the Willard campus have been driven by the collaborative Willard Task Force, consisting of the County Board of Supervisors, Chamber of Commerce, and Industrial Development Agency. Consulting firms MRB Group, EDR, Bero Architecture, and HRP Associates have led the study, evaluating the site’s current condition and the potential impacts of its redevelopment. The public has been actively engaged through input sessions, providing community members an opportunity to learn about the campus’s storied past and offer input on its future.

Officials underscore the community’s enthusiasm and support for transforming the former psychiatric center into a dynamic hub for economic and social activity. Sarah Davis, the IDA Executive Director, highlighted the project’s capacity for innovation and community development, sentiments echoed by County Manager Kyle Lovell and Jeff Shipley, president of the Chamber of Commerce. They see the redevelopment as a catalyst for long-term economic growth in the region. While definitive plans will unfold over time in collaboration with developers, the feedback from October’s session has shown strong community backing for the proposed concepts. For additional details on the Willard campus project, stakeholders and interested parties are directed to the Seneca County IDA’s website.