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Re: “A modest little proposal for revitalizing downtown

I share Mary Anna's hope that our downtown would be a place that the region's largest companies would want to locate. But I do not think this is the highest priority or a good use of taxpayer-funded incentives.

For tens of millions of dollars, the city might attract a Wegmans or a Paychex for a new downtown building. But what will we get in return? A bland new building, connected by skybridge to a new private parking garage? The problem is that when the goal is to attract companies who are frankly indifferent to being downtown, downtown doesn't become anything more than a suburban office park. This is really the same thing that we've tried for the last 40 years, and it's made downtown a less interesting place, not a better one.

The money right now seems to be flowing to residential developers. You can argue whether taxpayers are getting a good deal for all that money (I personally think the developers are doing great things!), but the end result is that downtown is attracting new people who actually like living and working in the city. It's a long process. Let it continue, and those residents and workers will themselves help make downtown the kind of place that others -- including large employers -- want to be again.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by cooperroc on 08/23/2016 at 11:20 AM

Re: “We don’t need a park on the Midtown site

From a design perpsective, "green space" is not an ideal long-term plan for this spot. Small parks or open spaces like this don't really succeed unless there is enough going on in the buildings and streets around them. Some smaller narrower buildings (3 or 4 of them) along Main could look very good, and if the Renaissance Square buildings are also rehabbed (as the Landmark Society has prioritized), Main Street might begin to feel like a more coherent and pleasant retail street. A bigger building can always be put in the back of the parcel near Tower 280, or that can be left empty for now.

Worse than green space, though, would be bland architecture (see Collegetown) or a big square building. Unless it's very creatively designed, a performing arts center is likely to give us three huge blank walls fronting the side streets, completely killing any foot traffic there. I'd much rather see the performing arts center put on Block F or on one of the many empty lots north of Main Street.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by cooperroc on 07/20/2016 at 5:47 PM

Re: “Art, ads, and the image we show to the world

When the airport was built, there was a conscious effort to commission and include the art. What has changed in the last 25 years to necessitate its removal for the sake of revenue? Have we really lost that much wealth, or have we just lost our good taste? Regardless of the answer, why showcase that to outsiders as their first impression? I don't particularly like most of the art, particularly the Wendell Castle piece which looks dated to me, but we should find the money to put it all back. And please get rid of the Clock of Nations. It doesn't generate any revenue, has nothing to do with travel or local culture, and doesn't even include a plaque explaining what it is. Guests have been puzzled by it, and some have found it rather quaint (to avoid using a more charged word). There has to be a better place in "Greater Rochester" for it to reside.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by cooperroc on 07/12/2016 at 1:40 PM

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