The city sought a ruling in February from the state Board of Equalization and Assessment about whether the property was taxable. The Methodist Homes Agency, the organization planning the complex, voted Saturday, Feb. 4, to forbid any construction in the Oneonta area until a tax exemption was granted.
The state advised the city Friday, March 10, that the proposed complex was not tax exempt.
A paid advertisement with a headline “News Release” appeared in The Daily Star of March 15, stating, “The Homes Agency would like to assure the 75 older people who have made reservations for the proposed campus that a similar service oriented housing program will be developed and construction initiated…either at another location within the Oneonta District or on one of their other campus properties in New York State in the Spring of this year.”
The Homes Agency had planned an April groundbreaking on Academy Street, and had been so confident their project would be non-taxable that they had completed the deal on the property with the city, paying more than $325,000.
The city stood its ground on taxation, and later purchased the Academy Street property back from the Homes Agency at a lower price.
On Friday, April 14, Barnes said the Homes Agency got a green light from the town of Norwich to build its multimillion dollar campus, after the town said it would grant the agency tax-exempt status. It was later reported that both the Sidney village and town boards had also voted against tax exemption after being approached by the Homes Agency.
Within days in Norwich, a committee was formed to locate a site for the retirement complex. The process took a few years and the site was finally confirmed in the Valley Heights area in the City of Norwich.
At first it was named the Doris L. Patrick Campus, on Calvary Drive. It consisted of the Graceview Manor and the Pearl and Everett Gilmour Health Care Facility. The campus was named after Mrs. Patrick, whose donation in the 1960s made the land purchase possible.