I support the downtown commons proposal (Visionary Square) from Ken Sato, Ben Woelk and others (see Ben's comment above).
I'd like to point out that, while there are a few older parks downtown, most suffer from Rochester's past infatuation with Brutalism. They feature lots of concrete and not so much greenspace that really attracts people. Genesee Crossroads is a good example. It's usually deserted because it's not such a pleasant place to be.
Pressuring large companies with suburban world-views to move downtown isn't going to save Rochester. They don't like it here; that's why they left. As someone already pointed out, if they move back downtown, they will likely bring their suburban ideas and paranoia with them, which will be no gift to downtown.
People come downtown when they find enjoyable spaces filled with other people. That means public greenspace. The fact is we already have Frontier, ESL, the former B&L, Excellus and more, all within a few blocks of midtown. That area is as dead as Main Street. Those buildings are silos, with no cafes, shops or other amenities that attract people and are deserted as soon as their workers can escape. Save Parcel 5 as a true public space, as Midtown nearly was, to spur growth downtown. If people want to be there, the area will thrive. That's the challenge. Other development will follow.
OK, call me naive. But this sure smells like something that has happened before. I think this must be viewed from a broader perspective—that of the community and not just the RPO. When Maestro Remmereit first came here, I thought the adulation he received was over the top. But that changed when I attended his performance of Mahler's Second Symphony. I was awed by the performance, the finest Mahler interpretation I had ever heard (including the New York Philharmonic). Everything I have seen and heard about this conductor suggests that he is EXACTLY what the RPO needs to elevate it to a new era of significance. That he, of all people, be asked to leave seems beyond absurd. Rochester has a rich history of shooting itself in the foot. Is this yet another example of petty infighting among a few power players being allowed to destroy something of value to our entire community? This has happened so many times in the past that it's difficult to assume otherwise.
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