Today(24 Jan.)after listening to an interview with Joseph Minicozzi on WXXI Radio, a recent speaker in Rochester at the RRCDC event,it seems pretty obvious that we are trapped in a pretty pathetic situation with little clue of "best practices" in urban planning and development,citizen participation or leadership . It was embarrasing to listen to our local RDDC representative on the radio program. Rochester is still attempting to learn how to move forward with zoning and development guidelines that support private investment, create walkable neighborhoods, avoid mistakes like parking garage dead zones and plan for the cconvenience of urban living. Will it take another 50 years to achieve these goals?
Congratulations to George Traikos and his team for finally bringing new life to this important downtown property, the Rochester Free Academy Building( 1872), Rochester's only public high school for 30 years. Now if only City of Rochester officials would designate the Historic Canal District planning area with appropriate zoning and development guidelines to protect and enhance investment already made, including the Nothnagle headquarters ( a former Erie Canal Wharehouse), 44 Exchange Blvd. and Josh Lofton Bldg.. Then perhaps, upgrading or repurposing of other historic structurts such as the Brevier Memorial Bldg.,the Brewster Burke house, the Terminal Bldg.,Old City Hall, the Jonathan Child house and the former BPR Railroad Station/Nick Tahou might be encouraged. And the now underutilized surface parking lots would become mixed-use development with residential and retail space. The estimated $221 Million in development would generate approximately $4 million in new tax revenue and accomodate 1,000 new downtown residents. W. Broad Street, the former Erie Canal, would become an exciting new public environment celebrating Rochester's rich canal history and attract visitors to the neighborhood. And by converting the now empty space under the street into 250 parking spaces, a critical amenity would be achieved. Finally, the creative and exciting plans to transform the 1842 Aqueduct into a spectacular attraction for locals and visitors alike is long overdue.In fact, the city has actually lost about $6 million in federal funds that were earmarked for the Aqueduct renovation over 10 years ago because of inaction. Let's finally move forward to turn this overlooked part of Rochester's downtown into a thriving, attractive and appealing new neighborhood that we will all be proud of for decades to come!
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