RE: Christopher--Great reasoned OPPOSITION! Ms. Towler's statement "adding density to an area of the city that doesn't need more" is ambiguous since "area" could refer to NOTA or the whole Park/East Ave area. But. . .
it's really not unfounded for either considering their one-lane roads can't accommodate current traffic that backs up from Portsmouth to Culver when the Gleason Works lets out or such shortage of parking that one of the businesses on University is considering relocating because clients can't find a place to park. The same is true for traffic now backing up from East Ave all the way to the 490 entrance to get out of the Park Ave area and sometimes over 30 cars waiting in line on the 490 exit to get on Culver at rush hour; of course, finding parking spots for tenants or business customers in the Park Ave. area has always been a major problem. I agree with everything Christopher says: perceptive, important, and balanced.
The city really does need to reassess its values, goals, and planning (as Ken discusses). During the last year the City approved demolition of the Cataract Building (now a parking lot built by NYC developers who never actually came here) after it spent millions to create the faltering High Falls area across the bridge. The 19th century stores there, across from the original Kodak building which could become MCC, have just been restored. Why the demolition? the complete lack of vision?
The City also approved the demolition of the last remaining historic buildings from "Old Brighton" on East Ave. so Wegmans could build its unnecessarily HUGE store which tries unsuccessfully to imitate old buildings now lost forever. So how much more of our city history will be demolished? Will 933 University be next? It certainly is change, but is it worth this ongoing destruction of Rochester's historical "fabric" (borrowing Ms. Towler's word). She's dead-on right in observing this 933 University Ave. proposal of demolition and over-development is a potentially dangerous precedent and potentially (more) bad City planning.
Mary Anna Fowler writes a well-researched, thorough, balanced presention of this issue. Then she has the courage to draw a conclusion and state her OPPOSITION to this proposal. I live here, I've been to the meetings and full discussions about this development, and I agree with her. The majority of resisdents here are opposed
to thsis proposal becasue a Preservation District has buildings and an atmsophere that are supposed to be
preserved--the Morgan building isn't right for thjis location. It would be fine in the new College Town, or th enew Midtown, etc. That doesn't mean residents don't want appropraite change. This was orinally all single and double houses, so six new town houses or condos would presrebve the characterr of the mebeighborhood--and
Park and East Ave., NOTA, ABC Streets, Upper Monroe, etc. are NEIGHBORHOODS, not districts or urban centers. They all have been brough back to life proimariily by normal working people, not developers, who
bought neglected old houses and fixed themn up with hard wirk and their oown money. It's the historic houses and atmsohere that draws people--not 102 unit commercial apartment buildings. The Voiture building was built as a small mansion by the same architect who designed Oak Hill Country Club. The wife was a descendent of Nathaniel Rochester. The additions added to the front of the huse by the veterans who bought it in 1941 are ugly, but the house isn't, it's not inn riuins, or gutted by fire--it can easily be restored like most every building here has been. The Voiture group, however, doesn't have the money to pay fror a new roodf, kitchen, bar room and other repairs. Demolishing the house and ruining the beauty of GEH and the historic charcater of this
area is not necessaruy or acceptable in a real Preservation District. The Morgans can build theitr apartments somewhere else; GEH and the Greek Orthodox Church are willing to pay for restoration, maintenasce, and at least 20 years or more of their full use: other developers are also interseted in working with the property.
Excellent, well-reasoned, accurately supported OPPOSITION shared by a majority of us who actually live in this area, who have participated in public meetings and discussions regarding all aspects of this proposal, and who have spent years of work and our own money to help make this area what it is today. It is troubling that some are apparently insensitive to the importance of GEH as a National Landmark, internationally significant museum, and arguably Rochester's most important cultural asset. It's also disturbing that the value and needed full protection of our Preservation District, on the National Register of Historic Places, has to be defended.
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