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Be creative with Midtown site

The July 20 Urban Journal said, "We don't need a park on the Midtown site." That's correct, if you're thinking of a generic "park." Downtown has three major parks and a few minor ones already.

But what downtown does need is a civic square, a commons, a gathering place for all of Rochester; the focal point of a newly greened and re-planned Main Street.

There will be over 2,000 new residents who will expect downtown streets to be busy after the office workers leave for the day; where they can walk to a green space surrounded by retail and food options, and commune with both nature and other citizens. Another corporate office building won't do that.

While more apartments or condos would be nice, we shouldn't risk forfeiting the best site downtown to create a true hub.

We would be emulating similar-sized cities such as Portland (Pioneer Square); Pittsburgh (Market Square); New Orleans (Jackson Square); Knoxville (Market Square); Detroit (Campus Martius); and Savannah (Forsythe Park). There are many more.

The design concept might be similar to Bryant Park at 42nd Street in Manhattan: kiosks for mini-shops and food, treed walks, moveable tables and chairs, and a large green for events, open air or tented.

If a performing arts center is viable, there should be a prominent spot downtown for it. The recently published feasibility study identified a variety of sites that were examined by a "civic engagement team," but for unknown reasons failed to explain why other sites close to the core of downtown weren't explored further.

For example, on Franklin Street at the Liberty Pole, just 300 feet north of Main Street, is a vast area of parking lots. And on Andrews Street is the former Greyhound station where environmental cleanup is nearing completion. Why weren't these sites examined?

Downtown Rochester can have its cake and eat it, too. A hub like Bryant Park, a site for a performing arts center, three existing parks (which need good maintenance and some upgrades), and our fantastically successful East End. This can produce a continuing surge in population that will sustain retail and places to eat. Future residents will be assured a variety of activities and civic pride, and a balanced tax base.

It would be a significant loss to exclude the option of keeping the 1.1-acre Parcel 5 at Midtown in the public realm. Development proposals due September 9 should be tabled until the public use option can be tried out, perhaps for a couple of years. If activities resonate with the public, it can be made permanent.

There appears to be no other possible site for creative use as open space located at the heart of downtown, where the East End and Main Street intersect.


Rosen is an architect and planner who is active in downtown development

Yes, Clinton is dangerous

Hey, thanks for calling me a Nazi just because I happen not to share your political views. Some might find that turning one of history's greatest atrocities into a cheap insult is as bad as anything Donald Trump says. But after years of smearing everyone who disagrees with you as a racist, it was inevitable that you'd have to ratchet up.

You say that Hillary Clinton isn't dangerous (Urban Journal, July 27). Really? She'd double down on the disastrous policies that have left our nation both less free and less secure, less prosperous and less productive, more divided and more violent.

She'd further concentrate power in the hands of crooked politicians, bureaucrats, and judges — and above all in her own family's corrupt political machine. That's the real danger at stake in November.


We must all help Clinton win

Nothing should be taken for granted. Those who support Hillary Clinton (and other Democrats) must not only volunteer in the campaign, but they have to risk alienating their friends, family, and co-workers, while pushing others to volunteer, and now.

These are not the typical times when one has the option to sit back while saying complacently, "Sure, I'll vote. Now don't bother me." Rather, the option is out there, and so is the possibility, for a horrible tomorrow.

Bother people. Today, it is more necessary than ever, and this is the furthest thing from hyperbole, for people to live as citizens; to demand that others stay informed, to register, to vote early or absentee as available and required, to help people get to the polls, to become volunteers themselves. Today. Not to wait until October, not to skip it.

Let's not just laugh in the midst of all the smart political humor and think we're accomplishing anything. Notice how the demagogue never laughs at all?


On tenants' worries about negativity toward College Town (News, August 3):

It's better than what it was before, period. Come on, people, have some vision and shut up about taxpayer money. This is the kind of stuff everyone should want around them and want their dollars going toward. Would I love to see a Trader Joe's, a gym, and maybe more retail? For sure, but who's to say that won't come? Some places failed because, look around, every place is food, practically. Could it really support four coffee places?

Could it take years for [the businesses to come]? Maybe, but that's not so bad when you consider that this place was built to be here for a century or more and complement the current shining star that is UR-URMC.


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